Even though we´ve been challenged by administrative headaches, an overcrowded hostel of rude international youths, and only 2 bathrooms for at least 40 people, we can´t help but like Bariloche. The tourist crowd is pretty easily left behind and we escaped each day to a new, gorgeous spot. The city is right on a lake, and actually within the confines of Nahuel Huapi National Park. We´ve been told it´s the 2nd National Park in the world, after Yellowstone.

The surrounding mountains still have a little bit of snow, and the lakes are crystal blue. One day we hiked up Cerro Otto, a long, dusty walk but one which offered beautiful views. Our destination was to be the cable car, and the famous revolving cafe. Somewhere near the top, having lost sight of the cable car, we stumbled upon a refugio, a mountainside rest stop building that trekkers use to sleep and rest up on multiday hikes. There was a couple there, who ran the place, and were just sitting down to enjoy a salad. They offered us a seat and a pitcher of water with two frosty mugs. We gladly accepted and sat and chat with them for a while about the world financial crisis, politics, travel, etc. They were interesting folks, and we loved the chat. We did finally reach the top, and take the cable car back down the mountain, but the hospitality of the couple in the refugio was still the highlight of the day.

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About the author

Tamara and Donny have wandered together since 2004, with no cure for their insatiable wanderlust. They write about discovering new destinations including beautiful photography, plus budget travel tips and how to give back through travel.