Destination: Trevelin, Argentina
Times we took the: Boat/Ferry - 2 Bus/Minivan - 2 Train/Subway - 0 taxi/car - 3
Where we stayed: Caro's house (a friend of ours)
Favorite Restaurant: The pizza restaurant in town has the most amazing flan with dulce de leche & cream
Best of: Spending time with friends and enjoying an authentic Argentinian barbecue
Worst of: Argentina still has in place a two tier system where foreigners pay a lot more for certain things. The park for example charges 3 pesos to locals and 40!! pesos to foreigners. We don't mind paying a little more, but that's ridiculous.
After dropping off our rental car we raced to the bus station to catch the bus to Esquel to visit our friend Carolina who lives just outside of Trevelin. Trevelin is on the tourist map for two main things - one of the oldest trees in the world in the Alerces National Park and the town itself being a Welsh settlement laid out in the shape of a flower. The pictures below are from Caro's yard! Nice view to wake up to every morning huh?
We lazed about the first day spending most of it visiting but late in the day we took a drive over to Alerces National Park. We stopped and took a photo of the massive waterfall...well in the wet season we imagine it to be a bit more impressive than the trickle you see below. We also got a look at the hydroelectric plant and dam that was built right in the national park, guess you have to get power from somewhere.
The next day we booked a tour that visited the Alerces tree and a more in depth overview of the national park. Although the tour was in Spanish, we deciphered enough and with a little help from a couple in the group, we were able to catch most of what was going on. The water is a greenish/blue color due to the cold glacial melt off running into the lake. The forest also contains the "Bambi" tree. We are not sure of the actual name, but Walt Disney got the inspiration for Bambi's coloring from this strange looking bark on the tree. The Alerces trees are the main draw to the park. Existing only in this area of Patagonia, the oldest of them all sits on an island and is over 2000 years old, making it one of the oldest in the world. It's big, but not Sequoia or Redwood big. Only growing 2-3mm per year doesn't get you very far.
Our last day we spent having a traditional BBQ at Caro and Dani's house with their beautiful daughters. A BBQ here is never over an open flame. They burn down the wood to get hot ashes and then sprinkle them under the grill for that nice smokey flavor. Very similar to how we cook pork in the south. Along with a nice piece of steak (the huge chunk of meat below) we also had some interesting parts of the cow to go along with it. Tracy liked the blood sausage with blue cheese while Jason liked the intestines, though we both thought the skirt steak was the best! We also tried some local liquor, but the name escapes us; it was a little hard to stomach. After the BBQ, we loaded up and headed out to the park one more time. We sipped on Yerba Mate complete with the mate gourd to drink from...very Argentinean...while watching some kids attempt to get into the freezing cold water.
The last day we woke up to a beautiful sunrise, said goodbye to our friends and boarded a 27 hour bus back to Buenos Aires. A huge thank you goes out to Caro & family for hosting us! We had a great time and hope we can return the favor when we are settled back in the states! THANK YOU!!!!