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January 10, 2013 / JustinKays Porter

Tourism through Car Windows

San Martin de los Andes is a town that we could love. And trust me, I really wanted to love this town. Situated at the end of the Ruta de los Siete Lagos, right on the supposedly protected shores of Lago Lacar, the quaint ski / fly fishing town called to me. I wanted to sit at one of the cafe bars on the lake front and soak up the sun, watch the kayakers and sailers in the lake. I wanted to wander through the boutique shops and buy souvenirs. I wanted to play with the dogs on the wide, cobble stone sidewalks under the trees. Instead, we fought the rain and the wind for a little while, then retied to our very subpar hotel.

After our siesta, during which the weather had gotten worse, not better, we decided to brave the storm. Mostly, we decided to brave the storm because we were hungry. I also wanted to prove that the town was as charming as I wanted it to be! While you could see the charm through the puddles and howling wind, it just wasn't the same. After a mediocre dinner and wonderful ice cream, we returned to our hotel to watch a movie and listen to the storm. However, we couldn't hear the storm over the loud conversations and footsteps easily heard through the paper thin walls and we couldn't see the movie through the glare of the floodlight shining through our curtain-less window. Yeah…

Anyway, you win some you lose some. Our night in San Martin was somewhat of a loss, but I can honestly say I would like to give this cute town another shot. Just from a different hotel, with different weather conditions! Our hotel's single redeeming quality were the large picture windows overlooking the lake, located about 50 meters from the hotel. It could be a nice spot!

In the morning, the rain had cleared up but the wind howled even more violently. We thought it couldn't be that bad, so after breakfast at the hotel we ventured out to the lake front to snap a few pictures and enjoy the scenery. You would think we would have learned our lesson, but no. The wind was as violent as it looked, and it was freezing. So we snapped a few pictures and ran for the cover of Corbin.

Lago Lacar from San Martin

Most of what we saw in San Martin, we saw this morning through the car windows. And it is a very lovely town. After driving around the blocks a few times, we decided to hit the road back to Bariloche.

My fearless chauffeur!

There are multiple ways to drive from Bariloche to San Martin. Yesterday, we took the most direct, most scenic way. This is consequently the longest way, due to the questionable road conditions. Today, we took the shortest in time but longest in distance way back to Bariloche, on a paved road skirting the backside of the Andes. The scenery on the drive was very pretty, but very different from the day before. The wide, meandering rivers and dry, desert-like scenery were beautiful; slightly reminiscent although less impressive than the eastern Sierras in California and Nevada.

We made it back to Bariloche without incident, settled into our last meal before the 18-hour bus ride from Bariloche to Mendoza. Yes, 18 hours. Luckily for us, this was no ordinary bus. The seats reclined to an almost horizontal position, making sleeping and relaxing very easy. We caught up on some blogging, some ready, and some much needed sleep.

 

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