El gang-gang ha aterrizado

After 16 hours in a plane and 10 hours change of time zone, we landed in Buenos Aires, jetlagged but excited that our South American adventure was finally underway. Our stay in this noisy but vibrant megalopolis was to be brief, as, having got to know it quite well from work trips to Argentina, our sole purpose was to catch up with Miguel, an old colleague and friend from these trips. It was during one of our long car journeys together across the sweeping plains of the pampa that the seeds for this trip were sown. I had had but a few glimpses of the mighty Andean chain during my work here, but that was enough - the idea was hatched to return one day with the fair Nello and explore it at our leisure. It was also great to catch up with Miguel and his family over dinner to reminisce on things past and wonder at how quickly time takes us all in different directions. Muchas gracias, Miguel, Moni y los ninos, Candelaria, Florencia y Augustine. Our trip had begun well.

The next day we flew off again, back tracking over the flat pampa until in the distance the long arms of glacial lakes and jagged profiles of the mountains of Bariloche appeared. We had arrived in the Andes! We were greeted by a cool, dry westerly wind sweeping across the mountains from Chile and by Nahuel and Rosanna from Vientosur Expediciones, who took us from the airport to a pleasant and comfortable hosteria (Rosanna would be the guide on our first trek in the Andes).

The central plaza of Bariloche with its typical stone and timber architecture


View over Lago Nahuel Huapi from
Cerro Otto


The distant 3480 m peak of Monte Tronador
beckons from Cerro Otto

We had another day to explore this tourist mecca of Bariloche, with its buildings of wood and stone, set on the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi against the backdrop of Cerro Catedral, Argentina's premier ski resort - time to walk around town to stretch the legs and take the teleferico up to Cerro Otto for a panoramic view of the region and to get our bearings. In the far distance, the sun glistened off the glacier capped peak of Tronador - the call of the mountains rose strongly. It was time to take a stroll in the Andes.