March 8, 2008
Lake Nahuel Huapi's beauty goes without saying–it's almost overwhelming. At each turn, you're met with a breathtaking view. Located in the Argentinean Patagonia, the lake is surrounded by mountains and dotted with islands. The town of Bariloche sits on the edge of the lake. It's known for its alpine style buildings and Swiss-style chocolate shops.
Famed ski resort La Catedral (The Cathedral) is there, and so is Llao Llao, one of the world's most luxurious resorts. But the real attraction is that you can't get the same photo twice, not even if you took photos all day long. The lake reflects the light, the lake reflects the mountains, the view goes on forever, sometimes the mountains are more visible than others. And when you get home and make prints, it seems that no photo does the place justice.
The town of Bariloche is charming, too, with its feel of old-world Europe. St. Bernard dogs lol about in the main plaza, shops selling chocolate and hand-knits (made of yarn from local sheep) line the streets. The gnome is the local mascot, and all through town, the Swiss Chalet vibe is everywhere–wood and stone buildings with shutters, steep roofs and flower-filled window boxes are all over town. The look is thanks to the German and Welsh who founded the town.
Outside town, tea houses line the road; another throwback from the Welsh who settled here (and raised sheep). Don't miss the gondola ride up the Cerro Otto. Enjoy the 360-degree view of the area and then stop for a drink at the tacky-chic revolving restaurant. Nahuel-Huapi can also be enjoyed by boat–tours are available from a number of companies.
Patagonia is a place that stays in your heart forever, if only in pictures, of which you frankly, can't take enough.