Where would you live if you win the lottery? … For me definitely and without a second of hesitation, the answer is: I would live in a place surrounded by forests, lakes and mountains… Bariloche is my dreamed place.
San Carlos de Bariloche is the most important and most visited tourist city in Patagonia
For decades it has been the dream destination to celebrate for high school students as graduate trip, and perhaps for many people, it is the first mental association they make when they think of this city.
In the years that I was a high school student, I remember that many classmates paid for the trip in installments and lived it with great anxieties and expectations of something very planned and dreamed of. It was a journey of freedom that closed an important cycle of life, according to the point of view of adolescence. In my case, I did not, I had changed courses several times and since I worked during the day, my last year of high school I did it in the night shift of a technical school, in a course with new classmates, a little older than me, already focused on other things in life, let’s say that they were for my vision of that moment, adults, with many more responsibilities, more serious jobs or several class mates with family and children.
In my case, I discovered Bariloche in my thirties, the first image that was recorded in my mind was the lush forest of beautiful pine trees, leaving the airport. I have been told that all the forests in Bariloche were planted by man, I always thought that the world would be much different if people planted more trees, specifically pines. For me the pines are very special, that fresh perfume in the morning or after the rain, is priceless. In fact, throughout my life I have planted so many pine trees in proportion to the space available in each house than I have lived on. There is a variety called Thuja-orientalis or “Thuja” that you get in any nursery garden or construction hypermarket here in Argentina, that is relatively accessible, grows quite fast. You can prune bush type, giving it shape and also the branches does not fall off, which allows grass or plants to grow around it. They are widely used in closed neighborhoods for fences and in that way mark the limits of the lots … but hey, I don’t want to go too far on the subject, I only want to inspire you to plant a pine tree in your house if it is possible, if you don’t even have a small space available, which is ideal, even in a pot, or on a balcony or terrace is enough to achieve the goal.
When someone is asked what would be your dream place to live? or where would you live if you win the lottery? Think of a place where you had fewer responsibilities, or where you don’t need to work at all. Many respond: – I would live near a beach in the Caribbean or I would live near the Cordoba lakes, for example … For me definitely and without doubting it for a second, my answer is: I would live in a place surrounded by forests, lakes and mountains … Bariloche, is my dreamed place.
For those of us who live in a metropolitan area and suffer from the upheavals of a big city, as to mention some examples, traffic congestion, insecurity, etc., travel to Bariloche, even a few days is a breath of fresh air, filling the lungs with that Patagonian wind to oxygenate the mind, contemplating those dreamed landscapes that are so beautiful that they do not seem real, but generated by CGI for a Hollywood movie.
Some years ago, we took a trip to Bariloche with my family, it was only a few days, but it was really worth it. At that time I was living a difficult moments in my life, those moments that arrive without one anticipating them and that therefore are impossible to plan them. It happens suddenly, a point on the road appears where the path forks and you have to choose where to follow, knowing that depending on the choice you make, the destination will be completely different. I remember that I had considered not making that trip a few days before, or suspending it, but fortunately I decided that I could not leave my parents without living that experience, and it has been without a doubt the best decision. My parents are indefatigable workers, who get up early every day to earn their bread, even to this day, already retired. They taught me by that example the sense of responsibility and the value of fulfilling obligations. That is why it is difficult for them to agree to take a few days of vacation and take a trip, in fact, they did not know Bariloche and that was their first trip by plane, it has been a truly unforgettable experience.
We stayed at the Islas Malvinas hotel, which is a few blocks from Bariloche downtown, right in front of a monument with a small obelisk that has a view of Nahuel Huapi lake that other hotels do not have. It is really impressive!! the hotel entrance is on the first floor, so the view from the dining room is an excellent way to start each morning having breakfast.
The special moment when the trip makes sense
I remember that when we arrived, after checking in, it only took me a few minutes to leave the baggage in the room and change with the idea of going out to explore the city. On my way downstairs, I found my mom and dad waiting in the hotel lobby next to reception. They were in another world, peacefully sitting in an armchair staring out at the lake, contemplating that dreamed landscape. I can only guess what they were thinking, as feelings are always difficult to hide and cannot be expressed in words, moments like those, you don’t need to talk much. Seeing them, at that moment, with their calm faces and eyes full of happiness made the trip make sense and become something really very special.
The mate that became an irreplaceable element
My dad tells me, – “we didn’t bring the mate, how could we forget something so important?” — Well, I answer: let’s buy one. ” We got off the hotel and found a few meters away, on that same sidewalk, a small kiosk, which had some typical souvenirs that are sold in any tourist city, there we bought an artisanal carved and plated mate, small, simple but very comfortable, that It has the carved inscription that (of course) says: “Memory of Bariloche.” Although it was a rush purchase and to get out of trouble, my dad continues to use it every day from that moment, remembering at that trip every, how the rush purchase became an everyday and irreplaceable item.
Walking through the center of Bariloche, we discovered an excellent place to eat
We decided to tour the city, we went to the “Centro Civico” and from there we walked along Mitre Street, full of the typical Bariloche chocolate shops. At that time we were already a little tired from the trip and we already had some appetite, so my dad starts talking to a boy of around 20 years old, standing on a corner, who was distributing some kind of brochures to tourists. He delivered, but also started talking to them, now that I think about it must have been selling excursions trips. Of course my dad did not want to buy any excursions at that moment, just to get a recommendation of a good place to have dinner … He says: “Excuse me to bother you, we are looking for a place to eat well but not fancy or too expensive for unsuspecting tourists. The kid looks at him, looking like you’re not going to buy any excursion, but he kindly replies: – ”If you have no problems to walk a little, the best place to eat in Bariloche is” La Fonda del Tio “, is several blocks away in that direction, continue along Mitre until 1100 … “, initially I hesitated to follow that recommendation, for two reasons: first because it took me by surprise that my father asked him, but I must admit that it is a good method to follow, although with the following precaution: You must always consider and have in mind that the rating of the recommended place depends on the criteria of the person who responds, since “a good place” is a totally subjective personal opinion and does not necessarily coincide with our own criteria. That is, we must judge the recommendation and decide whether to accept or reject it, it is not highly recommended to blindly trust the person who we just met and asked. In any case, to make that decision you have to At least see the place, the facade, the cleanliness and dare to enter a few steps or even spy on the menu from the sidewalk. In this case, carrying out this procedure would take us to walk quite a few blocks, to even see the place and taking into account that we were already hungry and tired, I realized that there would be no going back if we decided to go … However, I accepted the decision voted by majority and we started the long walk of several blocks, towards the “cantina”.
At the arrival, my assessment of the place was already clouded at this point, i was starving already feeling stomach noice, so I decided to ignore all the considerations previously listed and get in to eat as quickly as possible.
Fortunately, the wait was short, only a few minutes, we were in a small space between double doors, to be protected from the Patagonian cold. Finally a waiter arrived to receive us, he was friendly and quick, he accompanies us to the table, he looked busy serving many customers at the same time but I remember he was very efficient. We positioned ourselves near the kitchen, but there really weren’t many seats to choose from as the place was almost full, which is always a good sign. As we sat down and a bit calmer, while bringing us our drinks, I took a few seconds to contemplate the place, the atmosphere was warm and pleasant. It was indeed a canteen, a Bariloche chalet style on the outside with stones and on the inside a rustic, Spanish style. Now looking the pictures I don’t know why. I remember it more a colonial style, like the classic Zorro tv series, but no, it’s just my interpretation of the memory of that place at that time and this shows me that sometimes my mind can be very imaginative … I don’t remember what the dish of the day was either, but I think we ordered chicken and “milanesas”. What I can assure you without being wrong is that the menu was simple and effective, it was really tasty and the place is highly recommended.
In any case, we liked it so much that we returned another night and also some other trip to Bariloche some years later. Though thinking more generally, I must admit that the first time is always special and can leave an extremely positive or negative impression, depending on all the factors involved. Specifically, when you are starving the food feels tastier, when it has been a long time since you have eaten a dish it seems great but if you eat it often you get tired, etc etc.
By Diego Pastuch