Villa la angostura

In Argentina, Sud America, travelling on April 29, 2010 at 3:27 am

So I’m staying in a lovely little hosteria owned by mono a friend of a friend of a friend in villa la angostura, which is where the circuit of the seven lakes starts, it sits on the edge of the nahuel huapi which has many fingers and is only thirty odd kilometres from the Chilean border. It is a beautiful setting, the Andes sparsely populated with snow on the high peaks to one side and an unknown, to me at least, run of cerro’s to the other, a cerro isn’t really a mountain more of a mini mountain, mono says they are about 1,500- 1,800m high and the Andes are like 2,500 – 2,700m, but the cerro’s are impressive nevertheless.
I’m sitting writing this on the edge of a lake, my cheeks numbing on the large rock beneath me. The clear lake water slowly lapping at the pebbled beach, I’m on my way to puerto manzano to sit on and look out and over another beach, bike propped up behind me.
This is excellent since I’ve been rather lazy in my week in bariloche, not venturing out very often. To be fair to me the first couple of days were really shitty weather, rainy and overcast an windy as fuck. But it turned as it does in autumn, reall strange to be saying that in April, it’s also strange to see the trees turning brown, flexing their autumnal colour muscles so early in the year, well for me anyways.
So bariloche was, apart from a jaunt up a cable car to the top of cerro otto pretty much an indoor experience, I managed to catch up on the blog, deleted a shit load of photos from my hard drive, if I lose the external I’m fucked, met up with some people, drank some, ate some, and generally had a little intermission in the travelling life.

But back to villa la angostura, it is amazingly peaceful here, I’ve come out of season I know, but sitting by the lakeside and there are so many different little beaches along the lakeside it reminds me of Sardinia, where as long as you know where to look you can find a secluded piece of beach anywhere along it’s coastline.
The sun is bright and high up in the sky, and as long as you stay under it’s warm gaze you don’t feel the cold, but hit a piece of shade and step into a breeze and you know it’s not summer. But a couple of layers of merino and getting out of the saddle to get myself up the inclines which the main road follows soon warms me up.
I feel heavier than I did when I started this journey. It’s a real struggle to get any consistent exercise in, I can feel the spread across my gut, and the constant drinking isn’t doing it much good either, especially as I’m drinking the local brew, either quilmes cristal or imperial and I’m making the decision now to knock back the wine or head straight to the shorts, specifically the rum I bought duty free on the day trip to Uruguay.

Quick fragments of villa la angostura.
Horse running beside me as I pedal, constrained by the fence between us, barking of dogs, deep and booming, azure waters disturbed every so often, ripples rolling towards shore, sing song Spanish, quick and slurred, laughter of children as they run up and down, up and down, higher reaches of hearing twitters of birds, hawk gliding nonchalantly overhead as I approach and incline, breeze cutting into me as I walk back through the darkness from the supermercado, violet sky with the stars starting to appear, the Andes massive and static, but their visage everchanging as I ride round the curling roads beneath them. The wind making me blink as I descend the curving coastal roads, and with every blink I get faceted shards of orange and red lingering in my vision. Hearing from faraway the engine note of car or truck, knowing it’s coming but unable to see it for the curve of the road. Kids riding down the main street on their mountain bikes, singly, in twos and threes or in a big mass, jumping kerbs, spinning hard before sitting down, treating them like big bmx’s, the sun setting through the trees as the leaves go through all the shades of orange to brown.

I’m now sitting on a large silvered log at the public beach at puerto manzano, an excited dog digs up the sand to the left of me, his two female owners sitting on blankets, shoes off, toes digging into the sand. I’ve made the cardinal sin of not taking any food with me on this ride, no bananas, no biscuits, no flapjacks, no chocolate bars. Just a bottle of water, a spare jumper in case it gets cold, some cold hard cash and the camera. Puerto manzano is only 7kms away from angostura and I thought I’d be there and back in no time, ready for the meaty goodness that would be my lunch. But I missed the turn and rode an extra ten k’s into the bargain, along the winding, undulating, lakeside road, spying two other cyclists, one a younger fella on a road bike giving it some as he hauled his bike up an incline, the other older on a mountain bike, also giving it loads as he came to an uphill. I waved and said hola to both as they came past, we cyclists got to keep together.
So by the time I’d realised my mistake and made he turn back, my stomach was reeling, clamouring for some sort of sustenance, when all I had to give it was water. But as I write this on the beach amused by the dogs intense dedication to digging a large hole in the sand, I’m ready to let the hunger pangs continue for a little while as this beach is too tranquil to dash away from. The heavier, sloppier splash of wave on beach as the tide comes in, the warmth of the sun on my flesh, heating me up literally. I’m going to stay here for a little while and enjoy it, I’m only 7kms away from lunch, which is what four miles, maybe five, which is sub thirty mins riding in anyone’s book.

As the sun sets and the shadows grow ever longer I sit on the beach of another lake by the side of of the worlds second shortest river, which connects lake nahuel huapi with it’s sister. It’s getting chilly and I’ll return to the hosteria soon but the view across the water with cerro’s to the right of me is irreplaceable. The sky here is so clear and blue, so vast and overarching that it’s impossible to imagine living where buildings get in the way, and at night the stars are all around, just out of reach up their in the heavens.

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