In the summer of 2008 I was backpacking through Argentina, and Bariloche is where I met up with my best mate, Angie, to begin adventures together across the Americas. I remember falling in love with the town, with its Swiss, alpine-style houses of stone and wood that were dotted alongside glacial lakes of stunning sapphire hues. It was a hiker’s paradise with fairy-tale charm. It seemed like every vista over every hill and lake had been painted there. Picture perfect stuff.
Immediately, at the ripe age of 25, I imagined myself returning to that place one day, living some groovy, bohemian lifestyle that so appealed to me then. Me and my man. A little family. In between outdoor explorations, we would play house, bake bread and my babies would sprout up around me, extraordinary and earthly; a perfect product of this pristine environment. Ha! A classic, fleeting hippie travel dream.The funny thing is, while I grew older a different way and chose a different type of wonderful life with a very unbohemian man, somehow I did make it back, and without meaning to, a version of that distant day dream did come true!
Here I am, 9 years later, living in a adobe mud house by the lake with my best friend, her man, my husband and kid! On paper, that doesn’t sound so unbohemain after all! In an eco-dream AirBnB, we spend our days swimming in the frighteningly cold glacial lakes, toasting ourselves afterward under the brilliant sun, baking bread in our tiny, mosaic kitchen, and cozying up in the back yard by the fire, grilling great cuts of carne over the coals. To prove we haven’t all but given up our modern ways, I concede that we miss the WiFi a bit (which oddly only works in the parsley patch outside) but it ain’t bad, this life!
We are surrounded by organic veggies and herbs, trees dripping with apples, plums and bushes of blackberries. Angie and Jonno go out for afternoon forages and come home with baggies of freshly plucked treats! Witty and I forage equally as hard down at the corner store for boutique beer and good Malbec. Or thumb a ride to town for more urban exploits. In the arvos back by the casa de Aussies, we sip endless cups of tea or drink said beer and wine.
The kids in the street ride by on horses, Finn hangs out under the trees perfecting his newfound ability to roll, and we whittle away the time playing cards, crocheting beanies and cooing, like smitten kittens, at that ballooning, gordito baby on the grass!
It’s not all hitchiking and back yard barbeques, though. we’ve ventured out of this barrio a few times. With a hire car, we’ve squished in like sardines and driven to other lakes and cutsie log cabin towns in the region. Markets are a must-see around these villages, with plenty of beautiful jewelry, local honey and produce to drool over. And the hippies at them are burning incense that must be unique to this continent, as the scent conjures up memories of ayahuasca nights that I’ve had with Angie in years past. How our curiosities have mellowed! Now we are more interested in the gelaterias and chocolate shops… or the flavor of fermented hops and grapes.
Being in the company of super-adventurists like A and J, we’ve also convinced young Atlas to get in the hiking pack from time to time. He just completed his first summit climb, cerro campanario. At a dizzying height of 1.049 m, this peak offers one of the most beautiful views in the world. Combo that with a cute kids in the foreground…. my sort of picture perfect.
I could get used to this lifestyle, but the little boho dream won’t be forever this time round. our year long honeymooners are about to move on to live on a permaculture farm in the north and get cultured in that regard. As for me and my boys, we will be heading back to BA where a chance reunion with my brother and his gal awaits! Until then, I bask in the joy of being back in Bariloche with my psuedo-bohemian possie. Tonight another asado is roasting on the coals, and some champagne is chilling in the fridge. That’s how we roll!