Drink Wild Air

El Bolson

Arriving in El Bolson from Puerto Madryn was a bit of a shock to the system. Not only was it the first overnight bus that actually arrived on time but it’s also a hippie town. I had read that when all the hippies left Buenos Aires in the 70’s they went to El Bolson and it’s still like that today.

I stayed at La Casona de Odelia which is located approximately 5km out of town. To be honest it’s one of the best hostels I’ve ever stayed in. I arrived too early to check in but in time for breakfast which consisted of homemade, organic bread and jams, and organic coffee and milk. One of the best hostel breakfasts going!

As it’s out of town the hostel is situated on a decent size property with a river out the back. The bar was separate from the main living area and there was also a platform out the back where a yoga class was held each afternoon.

After the awesome breakfast on the day I arrived I went into town for a wander around. It really is a cute little town. El Bolson and surrounding areas is well known for not only it’s produce but also it’s artesional beers. One of the breweries had a restaurant in town where I had a late lunch and some exceptional beer.

I picked up some supplies from the supermarket before heading back out to the hostel. Because I had such a big feed for lunch I still wasn’t hungry by dinner time. So instead of another meal I opted for the dinner of champions… A bottle of wine and a block of chocolate!!

The next day when I awoke I didn’t feel well. I’d been fighting a cold since I left Rio de Janerio so decided to spend a day sleeping and relaxing. Having the chance to catch up in some much needed sleep was amazing. By getting the rest I was able to break the hold of the cold which meant that after I felt the best I had in weeks!

The next day I went kayaking on Lago Epuyen. Ever since I first arrived in Patagonia (Punta Arenas) back in late December I have been wanting to go kayaking but have never had the chance due to the notoriously strong Patagonian winds. There was a group of 4 of us from the hostel (including Irish Paul) plus an Argentinian couple. We were picked up at about 10am and driven out to the lake. Our guides were Pedro and his padre (father) Miguel. Miguel really didn’t speak any English which made it a bit fun for us who don’t speak a great deal of Spanish.

I was lucky that I got to be in a single kayak. The others really hadn’t kayaked before so the thought of having to do all the work for 2 people really didn’t appeal to me. The fact that there is also more leg room in the single kayak than the double also helped. Due to the strong winds in the area the kayaks were all fitted with rudders and had foot pedals to steer with. I had not used this before but it was pretty quick to become comfortable with it.

We started off by kayaking around part of the lake for about an hour. Towards the end of the hour the winds picked up which made kayaking pretty interesting. When we stopped it was time for lunch. Pedro and Miguel cooked us an amazing BBQ. I think I had 3 steak rolls with a grilled chopped zucchini and egg mix. After lunch we went for a short walk to a waterfall. It wasn’t a big waterfall but it was a pretty one. The water was freezing so we couldn’t go swimming but it was still flat. Luckily by this time the wind had dropped off so we jumped back in the kayaks and paddled across the lake to the other side where we stopped for afternoon tea which consisted of scones and homemade jam.

Once we finished with afternoon tea it was back into the kayaks to head back to where we started. When we got back and put the kayaks away we headed back to Miguel’s house to drop him off. While there he showed us around his orchid and gave us some samples straight from the variety of trees he had planted. This was when we discovered that all the fruit and vege we had consumed during the day came from his property. His wife had even made the jam from raspberries they had growing. Eventually we got back to the hostel at approx 8pm. It was a long day but good one.

The day after kayaking, Irish Paul and I went for a wander to the organic dairy farm located halfway between the hostel and town. At the farm we got to do cheese tasting. They really don’t do soft cheese here in South America which is something I’ve really missed. Actually most of their cheese is fairly terrible but this stuff was pretty good. I ended up buying a chunk of cheese plus a huge punnet of raspberries for about the equivalent of $5.

Once we left the dairy we headed into town where markets were being held. After wandering around for awhile we got some empanadas and beers and found a grassy spot in the sun to enjoy them.

I really enjoyed my time in El Bolson. It’s a very relaxes place where fresh fruit and vege is readily accessible which is a rare treat for Patagonia.

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Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air!

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