Villa Angostura

I spent 5 days in Bariloche, trying to escape the tourist infested town on a daily basis.  It´s a bit like Disneyland, and while it has some very pretty log cabin buildings, it is not my cup of tea.  Llao llao is much more quaint, and I took the bus there a few times and explored a nice trail, a pretty cathedral, and Colonia Suisse, a very cute German town.  As one Porteño put it, after WW II the Nazis who escaped tried to get as far from Buenos Aires as possible, and stopped when they reached a dirt road with no exit up against the Andes. On another day I fled to Villa Angostura, where I finally had a chance to rest.  Two hostel mates decided to drive to Chile for a shopping spree, which I joined, though it was less than ideal.  I got a taste of being completely dependent on people I don´t know and more than once thought I´d have to get back to Argentina under my own power.  I didn´t have their phone number, nor vice versa, so most of the time I waited for them at the car, as I didn´t want to lose them.  The next day I had a nice hike up a trail to a waterfall, in a forest inhabited by some local Mapuche.  I spoke with one man in Spanish, and he told me how to find the trail.  He was very kind and gentle mannered.  I have made good friends with Pamela and Claudia, a very lovely pair of sisters that own a wonderful chocolate company, Nuke, in memory of their mother, who died of a broken heart.  I don´t have friends here, so it meant a lot to me to make their acquaintance.  I also met a really nice Argentinian woman, Ferdinanda, who is currently playing for the Penn State tennis team.  She has been kind and helpful, giving me suggestions about where to travel and other helpful tips.  It is snowing at the moment, and there are several ski enthusiasts, both ski touring and downhill staying at the hostel: a man from southern Germany and a couple from France (the woman is from Russia and has skied fairly extensively in Siberia).  I feel a lost having gone separate ways from Claudio a few days ago, and am trying to decide whether to continue to Buenos Aires or go back.  It is nice to have a break and only have to worry about myself, for the moment.  Today I enjoyed watching the Olympics and reveled in the tennis match between Federer and Fallas.  It was nice to watch a match again.  It´s been quite a while.  (I wrote this to my mom: I send my love and hope that the summer isn´t too hot, and that you are well.)

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