Sunday, 7 July 2013

Visiting Villa La Angostura

With the sun shining through my window by 09h00 and the sky looking clear, it was for sure a day for the bus trip to the town of Villa La Angostura. It's on the same lake as my town, Bariloche, just a bit more North and it seems a lot more protected from the wind that so often howls here.

Interestinly, despite only being about 80km North - as-the-crow-flies, from Bariloche, Angostura gets a lot more rain - like 2000mm/year (300 rain days/year) - than Bariloche (around 800mm/yr). All related to the Andes mountains.

Angostura is a pretty little town. Vastly smaller than Bariloche and looks to be purely a tourist town. Sweet little stores much like the main street here with bakeries, chocolate stores, knick-knack stores and restaurants. AND, lots of outdoor apparel stores with gear for purchase and hire.

I arrived in town after noon - it's a 90-min bus trip from Bari (I snoozed all the way - been really tired from this past week of lessons) and immediately headed for the tourism office (to get a map) and then to the forested peninsula, 3km out of town. At the office the guy said the peeps there wouldn't let us (an Australian couple also wanted to head down there) do the walk because it was too late. I decided to try my luck anyway.

Pretty, flat-calm little bay at the junction of the 'mainland' and the forested peninsula.
At the office the lady said I wouldn't be able to do the walk. I asked her why. Not enough time. I told her I couldn't do the whole thing to the 'Bosque Arrayanes' anyway because I had to catch the bus back at five. She said I could to the walk the viewpoints and that this was only about 1.5km and it was free (ARG$65 for the walk - around R130). And that if I wanted to walk a bit further, I could. So, I did ;)


The main trail (there is only one - straight through the peninsula from the top to tip - is wide and immaculate.
View from a viewpoint.
Me encanta lops bosques!
The forest (bosque) here is absolutely stunning. HUGE, tall trees and lush vegetation. Bosque Arraynes at the tip of the peninsula (11km from the park office) is an attraction because it is a forest of a certain type of tree, Arrayan. These cinnamon-coloured trees do grow in the 'main' forest but the tip of the peninsula is a forest of mostly these trees - many up to 600 years old. I didn't get down here but did cover around 4km of the main trail, which was magnificent.

Interesting, smooth and patchy bark of the Arrayan tree.
The first few hundred metres of the trail is steeply up and difficult - not for old people or children. The rest seems to be like this - very wide and open. Biking is allowed - once you've carried your bike uphill, that is! Sun shining and blue sky above - still, cold enough for base layer, two shells, two Buffs, warm leggings and gloves... And to keep moving. If I stopped too long at the viewpoints I got chilled - fast!

Likin' lichen
Some arrayan trees in the forest - just off the trail. I wonder what kind of furry creatures live in this forest? 
I wanted to check out the town too so I gave myself a bit over an hour in town to look around and stop in to say hello to some of Brian Gardner's friends (ARer - Team Red Ants). The team took part in the Terra Viva AR here in Feb last year and Brian returned with his partner in Dec to vacation and travel around. 

After a friendly hello (Brian - I saw the whole family and they send warm greetings back to you) and a look around, it was back on to the bus to head home.

An impression of the town. Neat, tidy, touristy, sweet. Snowy mountains on one side; lake and forested peninsula on the other. Nice place indeed. But glad I'm staying in Bariloche, which is bigger and has more happening and it's easy to pop through to towns like Villa La Angostura for the day.
Walking back from the bus station to my hostel, I discovered another yarn shop... going to go back during the week once I've decided what I'd like to make using their yarn. A feast of colour!