Last night was officially the first day of the tour. After meeting M.E. and the tour leaders Javier and Tristan at the bike shop, Dirty Bikes for the bike fitting, I took a shower and headed off to the welcome drinks at the hotel bar. I spent a little time getting to know the other cyclists and enjoying a glass of wine. Javier and Tristan talked about how the tour would run moving forward. Each day we get a “day sheet” that includes highlights, hotel information, phone numbers in case of emergency, where and when we can expect to eat, elevation and directions for the day’s ride and other facts you “might like to know.”
Following the safety talk the group walked to one of the more famous “parrillas” for authentic Argentine barbecue. Huge quantities of beef, lamb and chicken are grilled in the center of the restaurant and served with salad, fries and grilled provoleta (provolone) cheese. Even though I’ve been a vegetarian for over three years, this Iowa girl couldn’t resist a big juicy steak to kick off the first ride. Thank goodness as my first meat in a while it didn’t make me sick – but it was delicious!
Today was a beautiful and rolling 43 mile (70km) ride from just outside of Bariloche to Villa la Angostura. About 15km into the ride, we climbed a small mountain pass before the road dipped down to the south shore of Lake Nahuel Huapi. I had to stop to take in the view. The trees are so green and the water a clear turquoise clean enough to drink directly out of. We had a delicious picnic lunch of fruit, salad, and empanadas at a campground just north of where I stopped. I just arrived at the hotel just a couple of blocks from the main street of Villa la Angostura. The manager showed me to my room and made it a point to show me how to use the jacuzzi in my bathtub. My shower was heaven. Now I’m headed into town to have a post-ride beer and enjoy this pretty little mountain town.
In the meantime, I can’t help but mention we have several other bloggers traveling with us today. Go check them out: