If we could, we would have stayed longer in the seven lakes area. As luck had it, we visited a typical Argentinian Gaucho gathering. Argentinien und Uruguay sind bekannt für ihre Gaucho Kultur. Pferde und Rinder sind hier die Essenz des Lebens. Junin de los Andes was abuzz, streets were lined with shops selling everything a gaucho needs.
We were keen to see Argentina and the beautiful lakes district and we were fortunate to be able to base ourselves with our friend Caro Mantella in San Martin to explore from there. Caro was our guide on a previous Antarctica trip and she runs the travel company Icetracks Expeditions. Das Seengebiet diesseits der Anden ist bekannt für seine unberührte Schönheit und Natur. Wir campten bei unserer Bekannten Caro Mantella und bekamen jede Menge gute Tipps für dieses Gebiet. Camino del Siete Lagos (seven lakes route) until we reached Villa Angustura on Lago Nahuel Huapi (another quaint village but very touristic and expensive). Felipe Masetti Leite, a young Brazilian who had previously travelled from Canada to Brazil on horse (his book “The Long Way Home” will be published in a few weeks) and who is currently heading to Ushuaia by horse, having started in Brazil. At this stage he had been on horseback for 4 ½ years. Isaias Miciu Nicolaevici showed us around the private collection of family artworks started by his grandfather Konstantino, who arrived from Rumania after the world war. His son Georg continued as an artist and so did all the children of the current generation. The gallery is called Museo Coleccion Georg and not only houses the paintings, but also the incredible photos of son Eliseo, a renown photographer of Patagonia. Following this inspiring visit, we departed with Caro to the annual Gaucho festival in Junin de los Andes – another new experience. This post covers the period 2nd to 11th February 2017
For our first trip to South America, we were reaching the final stage in Chile. Our aim was to travel down into the lakes region before crossing the Andes into Argentina. Exploring the southern tip had to wait until we return later in 2017. Die Jahreszeiten fingen an, unsere Route zu bestimmen. Es wurde langsam aber sicher zu spät im Jahr, noch an den südlichen Zipfel Südamerikas zu denken. So wollten wir in dieser Runde noch bis an die Seen Region in Chile vorstossen, um dann die Anden nochmals zu überqueren und durch Argentinien dann in Uruguay zu enden, wo der Wagen für ein paar Monate abgestellt werden könnte. After returning to Molina we travelled down Ruta 5 again, passed Talca and turned off eastwards at Chillán to stay at Camp Extremo 19km away from the town. Caution: Do not jump head first into their pool –it is only 1m deep everywhere. Nevertheless it was pleasant to cool down on this 34°C day. We found a quiet camping spot under large trees and had a pleasant night,albeit windy. Next day we continued further down the Pan Americana, turned to Nacimiento, close to Los Angeles along the Rio Bio Bio, then up to Coronel and past Curanilahue, Tres Pinos, on to Cañete, where we turned off towards P.N. Nahuelbua 47km away. As we came closer, the planted Eukalyptus forests gave way to the old Araucaria forests and other indigenous trees like the Coigües, Robles and Lengas. The park had various hiking trails and we hiked up to the Mirador Piedra del Aguila, a round trip of approx. 9km. On this trail we saw the ancient Araucaria Milenia, a 2000 year old specimen – wow!