So the time has come for me to leave El Bolson. I say my farewell in the evening to Victor and Tammy as thy are going to work early and, while committed, I am not planning to leave at the crack of dawn.
In the morning, as it turns out, I wake up with even less urgency than originally anticipated and I only make my way top the village, after breakfast, at around ten.
The road out of El Bolson is easy and I get peddling in earnest after I load up with water at a sprinkling system just outside town. The first part of the trip is ideal for the untrained legs, it rises gently for some thirty km and gives me some time to get back into the riding frame, then it started turning. I get driven past by Victor, Tamara and Martha on their way to Bariloche and eventually I made a stop at a place that was advertising Artisanal beer. It proved to be a minor mistake.
When the route starts getting serious I realise beer is not the best fuel and, by the end of the longest rise, I am ready to camp, only I miss another ten miles or so to the lake and the “unofficial” camp site.
Possibly the cigarets did not help either.
The camping spot is divine, secluded and quiet. No view of the lake but I am tired and it does not matter too much. I munch on my standard travel diet, tuna, olives and bread, and go to sleep.
In the middle of the night, slightly cold one, I have to get up. I really do not want to but I just had to go. My new sleeping bag is just fantastic, light but incredibly warm and I can manage to sleep undressed even in single digit temperatures. I get out of the tent and I am met by a sky that has no parallels, the stars are in the billions and the milky way, the side view of our galaxy is so clearly defined I feel like I’m in space.
The morning comes and I start cycling again. There are no major obstacles between me and Bariloche, just a succession of small hill and lakeside ride. I stop to refill with water and in less time than I expected I get into town.
There I stop in a really cool hostel where I catch up with my now tragically out of date blogging. I sit with a couple of beers and instantly sink in the travellers community making friends at the speed of light.
I am not sure there is enough data to support this but there appears to be a relation between the length of my hair and the capacity to engage with the vagabond community. It used to be easy when I had Gandalf hair and it is easy now I have no hair, bur it was not so when I had the middle length. I wonder if it is to do with the fringe nature of the backpacker and the middle of the road appearance of the neither short or long hairdo. More likely that I’m just talking rubbish.
As I am in Bariloche I txt Mauro to get together for a beer. Mauro is an astrophysicist I met hiking in El Bolson. He works in the Atomic research centre in Bariloche. We met with two other adventurers, a 19 years old boy that had just picked up the bike and was in the process of riding three thousand miles around Argentina (sadly I do not remember the name) and Belen, an Argentinian girl that had just completed a motorbike ride of four years from Ushuaia (bottom of South America) to Prudhoe Bay (top of Alaska). No need to say that I pick up a whole lot of tips for my next expedition.
The following day I go to the Cerro Campanario, a small mountain, just 45 minutes hike to the top, that is advertised as the best view in Bariloche, possibly the world. Not sure about the world bit but it’s certainly impressive.