For those of you who are not familiar with Coeur d´Alene, Idaho it´s simple. This town once resided quietly with its seven logging mills on the bank of one of Idaho´s most beautiful natural mountain lakes. This all changed in the 80´s, when a wealthy visionary built the Coeur d´Alene Resort, right on the lake and transformed the downtown into vacation-shopping and eating central.
Like CdA, Bariloche was once a natural extraction town set alongside a beautiful lake. In the past couple decades, it has transformed into a tourist center.
The streets are lined with tour excursion offices, hostels, hotels, restaurants and bars. The food is expensive, but the happy hour is surprisingly affordable.
What got me the most was the Swiss Alps theme that seemed to stick to every building and restaurant in Bariloche. It made me a bit sad that this town couldn´t form it´s own identity. Bariloche does have some German immigrant history, but the Swiss reputation is definitely a recent one.
When people vacation in the mountains, on any continent, do they expect beer, chocolate and St. Bernards?
It made me thankful for CdA´s distinctive ´Idaho´ feel mixed in with the expensive boutiques.
Bariloche is the hopping off point for Argentina´s most famous national park: Nahuel Huapi (yeah, I can´t pronnounce it either). Most of the tours available have to do with visiting the park in some form or another. There´s also a big ski resort here for the winter.
Ben and I opted to go on a trek in the park that our Lonely Planet trekking guide recommended. The scenery on the trek was spectacular, but the trail was the most demanding I´ve ever hiked.
More on this trek later when I can upload pictures.