Author Archive: Erin


We just got back from Antarctica (!!!!) but have a bit of a backlog of posts to do before we get those pictures up, so we’ll try to catch up quickly!

We were in Bariloche for a few days at the end of October.  Although I liked the actual town of San Martín better, Bariloche had more hikes and parks to visit and a great bus system that could get you just about anywhere without a car.  The drive from San Martín to Bariloche was great! The bus drove through an area known as the 7 Lakes (you can guess why) and the views were incredible.

Road to Bariloche Road to Bariloche 2

We hadn’t had any weather problems on our trip so far but our luck ran out in Bariloche. We had both been excited about lots of hiking and going on a bike ride through the Llao Llao National Park, but the rain, snow and high winds had other plans for us. The first full day there we headed out to try to rent some bikes but as soon as we got to the shop, there was a downpour. So we headed up to a nearby lookout that was supposed to have some great views, but the rain and cloud cover just made for a wet hike.

Stormy Views Stormy Views 2

As soon as we got back into town though, the weather turned around. We checked out the views from the lake that Bariloche sits on and then went to the downtown area. Bariloche is famous for chocolate and has at least a dozen chocolate shops downtown – almost all of which give you free samples for going in. When we had arrived in town the night before, we visited pretty much every shop and we picked our favorite to go back to for some cake.

On the lake Bariloche Street Bariloche Cake!

The next day we woke up to snow, so we headed out to a little village about an hour from town called Colonia Suiza. The village was a bust with virtually nothing to keep us busy until the next bus came 4 hours later, but we found a nice lake and Brandon made some dog friends.

Colonia Suiza Lake Dog Friends

We decided that for our last full day, we were going to go for a longer hike, rain or shine. We bundled up and set off and got to the lookout point just as a storm was rolling in (you can see it off to the left in the pictures). We hiked the rest of the day with alternating snow, hail and sun but we were happy that we finally got a good view!



View from Hotel Cerro Llao Llao Bariloche-PANO

We rewarded ourselves for sticking out the weather with a trip to a local brewery for dinner.


Before catching the bus on our final day, the weather finally cooperated, so we stretched our legs with a walk around the lake before boarding a bus across the country to Puerto Madryn on the Atlantic coast.

Last day in Bariloche

San Martín de los Andes

When we started looking for buses to get from Pucon, Chile to Bariloche, Argentina, we quickly came to the conclusion that there was no direct way to do it and we would have a several hour layover any way we went.  Since we don’t really like hanging around bus stations for 4 to 5 hours with all our stuff, we decided to break up the trip and spend a few days in one of the spots we’d have to change buses anyway.  We settled on San Martín.

San Martín de los Andes is an adorable little town.  Even though we’ve now seen several towns modeled like a European alpine village, this one was my favorite.  We only stayed here for two nights but I would go back in a heartbeat.  The scenery was beautiful and there were several hikes that we did right from town – always a plus if you don’t have to drive or bus to be able to hike.  Here are a few pictures from our visit.

Overlooking the town

Lake overlook

Brandon!Erin at LakeBeachMain StreetSan Martin Plaza



A week in Santiago

After Mendoza we headed across the Andes to Santiago, Chile.  All the Andes border crossings are so scenic!

Mendoza-Santiago Border

After more than a month of only spending a few nights in each city we visited, we decided to do a full week in Santiago and rented a room in an apartment.  It was so nice to unpack a bit and get into a little routine.  Our routine for the whole week was: sleep in, work out (there was a gym in the building!), late breakfast, wander around, snack, more wandering, drinks/dinner, bed.  It was awesome!  The only big to do on our visit was to stock up on trekking clothes.  When we left the U.S. we weren’t planning on doing any multi day treks so we needed to do a little shopping before we got to Patagonia (the region, not the store).  Luckily we found a few blocks of second hand stores and got a ton of stuff – including boots and waterproof pants for both of us – for under $100.


Second hand shopping

I visited Santiago in 2007 and for some reason I didn’t have a super favorable impression of the city – but I loved it this time around!  We had a lot of fun exploring different neighborhoods and parks and we really liked the city.  Well, except for the smog.Park in the city center Chilean Flag Santiago street

Ped Street

Tallest Building DSCN3652 santiago PANO

As soon as we arrived in Santiago, everyone we talked to asked us if we had tried a terremoto. So we set out to try one. And by try, I mean order a 1.5 liter pitcher of it.   Although white wine, pineapple sorbet and fernet seemed like a strange combination, it was one of those dangerous drinks that went down waaaay to quickly.


We put some serious mileage on our Fitbits in Santiago – we walked almost everywhere for the first few days. Then we decided to try out the Santiago metro and didn’t look back. It was great to use public transportation again (well public transportation that didn’t involve half sitting on a Bolivan man in the backseat of a taxi truffi). The Santiago metro was so fast and clean and smooth! The El in Chicago jerks every which way, but you didn’t even need to hold onto anything to keep your balance on the metro in Santiago.


We took a bus out to Valparaiso and Viña del Mar one day. We did a walking tour of Valparaiso and saw the highlights – colorful houses on hills and lots of cool graffiti. Then we took a little metro (Chile for the win with another great metro system!) to Viña del Mar to check it out. Viña del Mar seemed like a great resort town – if only it would have been just a little bit warmer, we would have hung out at the beach longer.

Valparaiso Steps B&E Valparaiso Vina del Mar

On our last full day in Santiago, we took the metro to the end of one of the lines and then jumped in a cab for a quick ride out to Concha y Toro Winery. Concha y Toro is the largest wine producer in Latin America and has a beautiful winery just outside the city. However, we decided to skip the hour and a half tour and just do the best part of a winery visit – tastings. We hunkered down at a table in the restaurant patio for lunch and then ordered two wine flights and then a few more glasses.  After all the wine we had in Mendoza and then this trip, I think we are well on our way to becoming South American wine experts 🙂

Concha y Toro Somm



Cordoba and Oktoberfest

Puerto Iguazu to Cordoba was another long haul bus ride – 22 hours.  We were excited when we when finally got in, especially since it was the first “big city” we’d seen in a while.

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We spent the first day walking around, checking out the sights.  The sights included some cool churches and parks, and that was mostly it.  We also might have found a movie theater playing Gone Girl in English.

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I visited Cordoba when I studied abroad and while it is a nice city, it wasn’t originally on our list of places to visit because there isn’t really much to do in the city as a tourist (at least not compared to other places we wanted to visit).  Cordoba quickly got added to our must see list when one of our roommates in Cochabamba reminded me that there is an Oktoberfest celebration nearby!  Luckily the timing was perfect, so after our first night in Cordoba, we jumped on a bus for a two hour ride to Villa General Belgrano.  Villa General Belgrano is a village of about 6,000 people settled by German sailors in the 1930s and was also apparently popular with Nazis escaping to Argentina after WWII.  The town is adorable with tons of Bavarian influences and it seemed like the village belonged in the Alps instead of the middle of Argentina.  And there was lots of German food and beer!

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We went to the festival on a low key Tuesday about an hour after the gates opened and were some of the first people to arrive, but eventually the venue filled to about half way.  There really wasn’t much German beer, but there were around 20 craft breweries from around Argentina.  In most of South America, there isn’t much craft beer (and if there is some, you probably don’t want to drink it!) so we’ve been drinking a lot of Budweiser-type beer.  While not all of the craft beer we had was great (mint? no thanks), it was at least a nice change from the usual tasteless stuff.  And the day was beautiful  – 70’s and sunny – so we had a great time sitting outside drinking beer and listening to polka bands.

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After exploring San Pedro de Atacama for a few days, we left Chile and headed to Salta, Argentina.  Since we had to do a border crossing, we took a day bus (we generally try to do night buses whenever possible – long rides go faster when you’re asleep plus you don’t have to pay for lodging for a night!) and were treated to some beautiful scenery!  We had to cross over the Andes to get into Argentina and when we got closer to Salta, there were some very colorful hills.

Road to Salta

Colorful Hills

When I studied abroad in Argentina in college, I didn’t make it all the way north to Salta, so I didn’t know what to expect of the city.  After so much time in Bolivia, the city seemed very western and the architecture a bit European.  There was a nice plaza in the center of town with a cool pink church on one side and tons of cafes with outdoor seating lining the other sides.

Brandon in Salta Church on the Square Outdoor Dinning Salta Street

We spent our time exploring the different neighborhoods, parks and restaurants.  On my list of restaurants to check out was a little place called Patio de la Empañada.  It was sort of like an empañada food court with tables in the middle and different restaurants lining the walls.  When you walk in, every one of the ladies tries to get your attention to go to her booth – it was a little intimidating!  We ended up just going with the first lady we saw and tried a variety of baked and fried empañadas.

El Patio de la Empanada

There was a hill on the edge of town with a nice park at the top that we went to a few times.  One day we took the teleferico up and down but the day we left, we walked it instead – we figured it would be good for our legs to get a little movement before our 25 hour bus trip to Puerto Iguazu.

Teleferico Ride View from the Top