Visit Bariloche to experience a bit of Switzerland and Germany in South America. The gorgeous mountain scenery was matched by the beautiful lake region, all providing a spectacular setting for the luxurious Llao Llao Resort.
You can tell the European influences in the food, and the picturesque little town is known for its chocolate, particularly its white chocolate. We also visited the Museum of Patagonia with a focus on wildlife and history. We needed some hot chocolate to cope with the cold and very windy weather, plus it was spitting rain. Arranging a guide to get us around worked well, and we drove around the Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi to see beautiful mountain lakes, and even found some sunny spots for good photo ops. We had no reason to venture back out into the cold for dinner, enjoying the resort’s Patagonia restaurant and the delicious smoked trout. I particularly loved their leather placemats and the beautiful, mountain-style décor. I unsuccessfully tried at the time, and for months after, to buy placemats like those. I was traveling with my Mother, and she was in seventh heaven because this resort had her favorite English-language TV news. BTW, the breakfast buffet here was wonderful as was the food served in the bar. For some reason, I love eating in the bars of grand resorts like this one.
This area is a favorite ski resort for many Brazilians and you can see why from the stunning scenery at every turn. In fact, our guide Natalia was Brazilian. There are so many visitors from Brazil that speaking Portuguese is a must if you want to work in the travel industry here.
For lunch, we visited the quaint Village of Angostura (the Princess of Holland was said to have a home in the area) and saw more beautiful vistas. We had planned to take a boat to the Parque Nacional Los Arrayanes on the Quetrihué Peninsula and almost didn’t make it due to the blustery weather. But Natalia prevailed and worked out having us taken on a back, less windy route, eventually getting us over to the island. It was 35 degrees and very chilly, but Natalia with foresight and knowledge thankfully brought along some warm hats we could borrow. A boat arrived from another part of the lake with a few more guests for our very uncrowded chance to experience this unusual forest of slanting, gnarled trees. Arrayán trees are unique to this spot in the world, and the park looks like it is right out of a fairy tale. Wooden walkways protect the fragile natural habitat with trees averaging 300 years old, and some more than 600 years.
Sadly, even though I took dozens of pictures, I could not get my camera to focus properly. Looks like the cold affected the camera and unfortunately, I ended up with only a few in decent focus.
It is said that the magical forest, with its little cabin shelter, was the inspiration for the setting of Walt Disney’s Bambi. It could easily be true. I was grateful we were lucky to find a willing boat captain and able to brave the weather and wind to have this very unforgettable mother-daughter experience.