Today I slept in. It felt really good. I got much needed rest. The reason I even woke up that early was because I wanted to get to the hotel's breakfast before it closed at 10 am. The breakfast was very typical of what I had in Chile: Sliced cheeses and meats, freshly baked bread and pastries, an assortment of jams, and yogurt. It was just what I needed to start the day. Then I set out to discover San Carlos de Bariloche.
Just across the street from my hotel is a wonderful stone church. Built in 1946, Nuestra Sra. del Nahuel Huapi (Cathedral of San Carlos de Bariloche) sits just above Nahuel Huapi Lake. The interior was decorated with strings of paper hearts and balloons. A sign above the alter read "La vida regalo de dios" or, God's gift of life. After walking around the church and admiring the stations of the cross (all beautifully hand sculpted) and stained glass, I attended the mass. Spoken entirely in Spanish, I could at least follow along knowing the mass, but I also could tell the Argentinan's were speaking better articulated Spanish then the Chileans. This gave me hope I could actually understand Spanish one day...
After I left the church, I decided to walk around main street downtown. Many stores were closed because it was Sunday, but many were open. I went into stores that sold popular arts and crafts items like wool clothing, jewelry, wooden spoons and boxes, and calabush guards used to sip mate. Bariloche is the chocolate capital of Argentina, so there are numerous chocolate shops in town. If you are a chocolate lover, this is the place to be. I definitely picked up a couple of boxes to bring home. They had truffles, chocolate bars, chocolate covered nuts, braided white chocolate, and chocolate filled with dolce de leche. Each chocolate store had their own look and feel including one that featured babuschka dolls called Mamuschka Chocolate. They won the contest for cutest chocolate shop. But, in order to truly know the best chocolate shop, I would have to try all the chocolate at each and every one and tell you whose chocolate I liked best... now that's an idea!
After strolling a bit, I decided it was time to go out to lunch. There wasn't a time I went out to dinner in Chile on my own, but I was hungry and wanted a good meal after all the traveling I had just done. So, I picked a restaurant that looked nice and decided to eat a meal. It was called Restaurante Cerveceria. Nice name, don't you think? I ordered a local beer, but they told me they didn't have any in stock so I got a familiar Heineken. I ordered goulash with spätzle, beef stewed in red wine, paprika and served with spätzle. It was all very German to me. This town with it's chocolate and spätzle was all so European, evidence of the many immigrants to this area. The dinner was excellent, just what I wanted. As was the salmon moose they served with the table bread. I left happy. I took one last opportunity to explore before heading back to my room and decided to walk along the waters of Nahuel Huapi Lake. Standing on the shores I didn't feel that far away from home. The mountains rose above the open lake and the water was splashing on the round stones under my feet.
Tonight I meet with several coworkers, two of which I was suppose to meet up with yesterday. We can share our adventurous travel stories. I better go get ready to meet them. Until tomorrow. Chao!
Enjoy more pictures from today.
Above. Babushka stained glass window at the entrance to Mamushka Chocolate Shop.
Above. Yes, there is so much chocolate here they even make chocolate cell phones...
Above. Decorative altar at the Cathedral of San Carlos de Bariloche.
Above. People strolling through the town civic center.
Above. Important words in the Rio Negro province of Bariloche.
Above. Walking the trail along Nahuel Huapi Lake.
Above. Standing on the shore of Nahuel Huapi Lake