04.01.2007 - 09.01.2007 30 °C
We wanted to get into the more rural side of Argentina so headed to San Juan, north of Argentina. We were not sure if this was a good decision but it was only 3 hours away so why not?
We arrived in San Juan and immediately spoke to the tourist office to see what the area had to offer. Wow it all sounded fantastic and all only a few more hours on a bus ride away! Great!
We took the advice of the tourist office lady and booked onto a bus to a town called ´Barreal´. Unfortunaltey we had to wait 2 days to get a seat. Yes once again our lack of planning didnt help. San Juan itself was not brilliant but a normal typical large town. During the day the typical siesta starts at about 1. Shops close down and the town becomes like a ghost town. At about 6 pm the town becomes alive again. We can only describe this area like Elephant and Castle!
We were up early the morning of the bus determined not to miss our journey out of San Juan. It was absolutely pouring down, thunder was fantasic and the sky was lit by lighting bolts. The taxi arrived and we slowed ploughed through the rivers formed on the roads to the bus station.
The journey to Barreal took about 6 hours! We had the oldest bus of the lot and a group of young kids going camping without their parents so you can imagine the atmosphere on the bus. I´m sure I was never like that. To top of the journey we had a flat tyre. Off we all got and watched the extremely quick tyre change.
Back on the road again and we thought the journey was never going to end. For 6 hours it was desolate dry land, winding dirt tracks and a speed of about 40mph.
We arrived in Barreal and dropped off by the toursit office. We headed for a hotel that was recommended by the tourist office. Barreal was definatley a typical small Argentinan town. Everything was so spread out, everyone knows everyone, people sitting outside their houses having lunch, horse carts on the roads, many push bikes carrying the supermercado shopping and kids playing in the streets. South America has the most beautifull scenery, I know we keep going on about it, but its true. From Barreal you can see the Andes mountain range.
We arrived at the hotel. It looked lovey, a bit quiet, but this is what we wanted.
No one spoke english, not even a little. We now realised this is why travellers tend not to come off the typical travel path, its very difficult to get around and communicate! The rather weird lady took us to the 60s style room, smelling of funny herbs may i add, and we were set for the night. Where had we come too?? No other travellers were here at the hotel or the town, the hotel appeared to be run by young kids, weird ladies, and to be truthfull ´mingers!´. We tried to book some horse riding (I was still dying to do this in Argentina as in Mendoza the bad tummy and need for the toilet would´nt allow me to go). After a good hour walk to the stabbles they were shut. Great! No horse riding once again. That night a lot of beer was drunk to make the most of our stay!
The next day we were off back to Mendoza to plan our journey to Chile for Rob to do some surfing (at last!)