Thursday, 27 June 2013

A look around town

Fred thinks I'm staying in a ghost town because I haven't posted any photographs of the town and people walking the streets. So, I took my camera with me when I went out running this afternoon.

I really got lucky with the weather. It has been drizzly since yesterday and after class today the sun came out and the sky cleared a lot... My original plan was to run to the top of Cerro Otto today to check out the snow on the surrounding mountains (we're still waiting for the 'real' snow to arrive - the ski slopes are not yet open). 'My' road was quite muddy and sloshy, but good nonetheless. As I got higher it got colder and the clouds were moving in. I definitely made a good decision to come down when I did as the wind was also howling up there and with two light shells I would have gotten chilled quickly.

A drizzle accompanied me back into town, where the weather was much improved. It was a bit 'monkey's wedding' with the rain and sun coming and going. We're expecting clearer and more sunny weather from Friday through to Monday. This is also colder - it really isn't that cold (I guess 7-9C) at the moment, when it is raining lightly. But when it is clear - and windy - the temperature drops substantially.

I seem to have got my 'cold-weather-running-apparel' working pretty well. I wear full tights, a thermal long-sleeve base layer and a running shell (pink one in the photos). For additional warmth and wind protection I wear the yellow shell. The combination works really well. I've had one run where I've peeled off both shells to run in just the baselayer but more often than not I wear both. I usually keep a Buff on my head - like an Alice Band - to keep my ears warm (today it served the dual purpose of holding my cap on too!) and I start out with a Buff around my neck too - great when the wind is up.

I haven't yet had to bring out my fleecy tights. The ones I'm wearing are pretty regular tights - not smooth-shiny lycra... warmer. On these... I bought them not long before coming here. I am totally in love with my Under Armour tights. I'd bought a pair of 3/4 tights and liked them; I then went for the full-length tights. They  are TOTALLY FABULOUS. The second pair are New Balance - and they're driving me INSANE! I like the fabric but the damn tights don't stay up. Sure, I tighten the draw string but they try to slink down with every step, dropping the gusset lower. They could really do with some seams near the knees, which definitely help to keep tights better positioned and in place. And it isn't that these tights are too big or too small for me, they're just right - as long as I don't run...

Here are the pics from today (Fred, see... this isn't a ghost town):

They're not big on pavements... when it snowed on my birthday this was all icy! This is a good section of 'sidewalk'.
There are pavements alongside the main roads about the town centre but you've got to watch every step. There are small steps and uneven 'cobbles'.
'My' road - going up, up, up! It is 9km of up from the base of the road to the top-top. I run the 4-5km section. It's probably another 2km (of up) from my hostel to the base of the road. This part of the road was snow-covered in the previous photo from last week. This blue sky is a bit deceiving... About 20 mins later when I came back down this section there wasn't a stitch of blue sky and it was raining lightly. I tie my second shell around my waist for when the weather turns. 
Part of the town below and to the left and the main 'centro de ciudad' to the right. The water on the lake looks nice... but it wasn't. White horses today.
A street in the nice part of town (no street signs in the not-so-nice part of town - no tarred roads either).
There are some nice houses in this nice part of town but many of them also look quite dishevelled. These peeps have got a lovely view.
One of three (I believe) intersections in the whole town to be traffic-light controlled. I thought that there were no stop streets but I saw two signs today... except the people don't stop. The other intersections have neither stop signs nor yield signs nor traffic circles... It's a pause and go (or just go) situation. 
Looking on to the lake is the town hall / civic centre (opened in 1940). Probably administrative offices here too. And there's a museum. I don't know who this guy is... he has been 'decorated' in graffiti. 
Next to one of a number of wooden sculptures around the town centre. I'm rocking my double-shell system here. I get really cold, really quickly when not running. I'd just run through drizzle and then the sun was out again. (I asked a fellow tourist to take this photo)
And where would we be without a nice, big church over looking the lake, in the middle of town? I haven't been in it yet.
There are three main roads running parallel to the lake. I'd say the 'main' parts of these roads are not even 1km long. This is the main-main one. Yes, there's even a Mackie D here! 
This is very much a tourist town. Hiking in summer and skiing in winter. LOTS of shops selling woolly sweaters and a gazillion beanies and scarves. Wearing something on your head is crucial - too cold without. Massive variety. The hand knitted ones seem to be the most very favoured by the people walking around - not the factory-made beanies. Also, many of outdoor stores selling ski apparel and also gear for hire and second-hand to buy.
The other HUGE thing here is CHOCOLATE. Aside from the obvious Spanish influence, this town was settled by Swiss and Austrian immigrants in the 1800s. Bariloche is the main chocolate manufacturing town in the country - loads of export. I thought Milka was a Swiss brand, but it actually comes from here. There are at least three big chocolate shops on every block of Mitre Street! They're large stores and they often have seats inside so you can have coffee or thick hot chocolate... 
Another very large chocolate store. If you look closely you'll see two cable cars in the window, behind the reflection. They move up and down the wires! The big chocolate manufacturing thing started in Bariloche after WWII. There's a chocolate museum, which I'm going to visit next week with the Spanish school.
As wine is to Franschoek, beer is to Bariloche. This is the Austrian influence. There are dozens of artesanal beer (cerveze) establishments throughout the town.
Bariloche certainly isn't 'quaint' but it is sweet. There are hundreds of hostels and hotels in the main part of town and along the 18-odd kilometre stretch of lake-side road leading to Cirquito Chico (that area of islands and lake in my photo above). And more, I think, on the loop. And then there's the main ski resort of Cerro Catedral, which is about 20 mins outside of town, to the South.

My home away from home. I really got lucky choosing this place. I'm totally at home here and am made to feel part of the family - by the hosts, Pablo and Florencia, and the other friendly travellers. There's a very warm and social atmosphere here with many meals eaten together.


Fred said...

Lovely to see pics of the town. Post more touristy stuff for us armchair travelers please.

Robert Green said...

Agree with Fred, more pics for the armchair travelers please. PS Milka is Swiss like you thought but they have production plants in Argentina (presumably Bariloche) hence the people there claiming it as their own. But like most food companies are owned by multinationals these days. Mondelez is this case bought Milka from Kraft last year.

Anonymous said...

Grant Frewen says
what a nice quiet little place . Nice to run and explore .