Thursday, 8 February 2007

San Martin de Los Andes

We climbed back over the pass we'd reached on the Villaricca traverse and crossed into Argentina via the dusty bumpy road. After about two hours of our bus going through border posts we are the proud owners of two new stamps in the passport. Fortunately we had fantastic views of Volcán Lanín to keep us occupied as we waited.
Immediately the effect of the Andean rain shadow becomes apparent and the land on this side is much drier and there are wide fields of dry grass reminiscent of the western plains of New South Wales.
San Martin de Los Andes is a pleasant upmarket ski town that is also popular with summer travellers and sits on the edge of a lake. We were very pleased to have booked our accommodation as even the place we'd finally found was now also saying no vacancies in the window.
There is a touristy craft market in the town square and already I am seeing loads of people relaxing in the parks drinking the famous national drink, or should that be pass-time, Mate.
For dinner we went to Ku a Parrilla restaurant that serves typical Patagonian specialties including the tasty deer we had with wild mushroom sauce. Also tasted the local artisanal beer and managed to prize off the label for my growing beer labels of South America collection.

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