Thursday, November 10, 2011

Camped at a bus station in the desert and back to Mendoza

shower at the bus terminal what a site after going 3 days without
modern museum work
children museum work
young people filled the green space on Sunday for mate
sunset on the river
After our expensive 4 day detour of Chile, were back in Argentina and trying to spend less to make up what we spent in Chile. Neuquen, was our first stop on our return. Neuquen city is not a place on the gringo trail but that doesn't mean it not worth seeing. We found it a nice city with a small town fell, very well laid out. Everything can be found on the main road the runs east to west. North is the down town centre with loads of green area, shops, bars and restaurants. South end has a clean cool river that has a municipal camping but they where closed so drove further down the river and found a police association camp site. They weren't fully open yet (showers not working yet) but they let us stay and charged us $8 for a safe nights sleep. Next day we really needed a shower so we searched all the gas stations in town without luck, but than we saw a modern bus station, and thought they might have showers so we asked and Yes! indeed they did. When we entered the station we had to find the security guard to unlock the showers, he charged us $1.50 each. The bus station also charged for parking $3 for 24hr stay so we decided to just park there, and slept for 2 nights in the parking lot. During the days we checked out the city on our bikes which had 4 museums in the centre all free to visit. (modern art, childrens art, ethnography and a town history) For the evenings we would head over to the river side and cooked BBQ and when it got late, return to the bus terminal to sleep, plus they had free WIFI in the station and clean baths what else could you ask for.

starting a fire to have a warm water for a shower
yes I know, I need a hair cut
$6 hair cut, thats what it cost in Canada 25 years ago
free to visit and I think some of the birds here were on a protected list somewhere

condor, largest flying bird in the world
After 3 days we decided to head north to wait out the cold that awaited us in the south. We drove 8 hours through La Pampa province. Its pretty much nothing, flat and straight road. Lucky we filled in Neuquen, because no gas stations for about 500km's but the good news it was paved all the way. We stayed in the city of San Rafael, about 250km's south of Mendoza city. Camped just outside of the city at El Parador. It cost us $10 a night but it was still low season so the pool wasn't ready and we had to heat up the water tank ourselves when we wanted a shower. (wood burning) We spent 3 days in and around city, tried our luck at the casino and visited Embalse Los Reyunos a private lake town that charged us $16 to just enter. It was nice to have a picnic in beautiful place because the camp site in San Rafael was kinda of basic and not much to look at. 

Los Reyunos private lake get away

Next we went to Valle Grande about 45 mins south of San Rafael. We found a amazing place on the river called Rio Azul (blue river) to camp. Cost us about $13 a night they had good facilities, wifi but thats not the reasons why we stayed 5 nights. It was the peaceful setting along the river with steep rock valley backdrops that kept us here. Rafters would pass by through out the day, while rock climbers tested their nerves. We didn't do any of that just spent the days biking around, soaking our feet in freezing river, cooking and working on our blog.  

soaking up the rays
slaving over a wood stove
Jieun, made Korean noddle soup
dinning table with a view

looks fun? but she's screaming (freakin cold)