Monday, February 4, 2008

Argentina - a short but sweet visit

On our way down to the Futaleufu, we decided to head via Argentina, since it would not involve a long expensive ferry. Instead it involved a long tedious form filled border crossing, and a desparate search for international car insurance at the border, since the hire car company neglected to tell us was needed despite charging us $200 US dollars to allow us to take the car abroad. BUT despite all that, the drive over the Andies was stunning, and worthwhile in itself.
We headed to Bariloche, which turns out to be the chocolate capital of south America. We visited many chocolate shops, and had too many free samples..... They also have lots of St Bernard dogs loitering in the main square, to pose for pictures......
After gaining some information on rivers from a local rafting company, we headed south, aiming to run a couple of sections on the Rio Manso. They had also alerted us to a large waterfall, which they had a picture of someone running.
We chickened out of the 18metre foaming beast and went to look at Glaciers instead for the day.
There were a couple of nice short hikes to do, including a waterfall to play under...

From then on it was onto paddling. First we did the scenic and mostly flat Manso Medio, They had warned us it was going to be low though to give them credit.. The class 4 did eventually turn up.....
The second run was the Manso Frontera, which runs right to the Argentine Border, and a little into the No mans land before the Chilean one. The river had unfortunately turned from azure blue to dirty brown-yellow overnight for some reason, but the river was a great class 3/4 gorgey run. The climb out at the end wasn't too much fun, especially when the empanada shop wasn't open.
The big flies that we had found in Chile had also crossed the border with us, and we spent both days swatting them... Heres one that would pose for a picture. Its about an inch long!!

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