Back in Argentina after a night in Osorno.
The glimpse we had of elegant Villa La Angostura as the bus whized by made me regret not stopping to see more of it. It looked extremely prosperous and the whole region appeared booming with luxury construction everywhere. Argentina might be undergoing a financial crisis but some people obviously had a lot of money to spend on secondary residences
Rio Limay flows east from the lake district to Neuquén where it joins Rio Neuqén to form Rio Negro on its way to the Atlantic.
Bariloche was fairly busy but it had not changed much in 10 years compared to the more fashionable Villa Angostura and San Martin de los Andes north of here. The once prestigious Bariloche has become a middle class destination (for what is left of it in Argentina).
Founded at the turn of last century, Bariloche was developped by German and Austrian imigrants whose influence is still visible in the local architecture like in this Restaurant Familia Weiss.
Most cathedrals in Argentina are quite old but Bariloche's was built only in 1946.
Distances are large but bus services are really excellent in Argentina. Here is a semi-cama double decker leaving for Neuquén, six hours away. The very comfortable full cama busses have only three seats per row.
Rio Limay flowing through semi-arid northern Patagonia forms a narrow green oasis with spectacular scenery most of the way from Bariloche to Neuquén.
Rio Limay is not only beautiful, it is a select destination for sport fishing.
The scenery kept me glued to the window most of the way.
Rio Limay feeds the 820 sq km Embalse Ezequiel Ramos Mejia built in the '80s to produce hydro power for the region.
Neuquén, a city of 250 000 in the middle of nowhere, is a transport hub giving access to the Lake district in the west and to the endless Patagonia in the south.
This comfortable room with shared bathroom at the Residencial Continental near the bus terminal, cost only 5 $US a night.
The friendly Bon Pain Panaderia next door was a good place for snacks and beer.
Neuquén's municipal museum was small but it had interesting exhibits of dinosaurs found in the nearby Chocon region.
The railway that opened up the region all the way to Bariloche in the 1920s passed through Neuquén on the tracks in the foreground until it stopped running in 1994. The museum seen above used to be a locomotive repair shop and this art gallery was a railway warehouse. A large park and the bus terminal now occupy the old railway yards in the centre of Neuquén.
It was a pleasure to meet Guillermo Buyanovsky who had written me six months earlier about Lithuania after seeing my site. Guillermo took time off his work running a photocopy service to show me around town.
This beach on Rio Limay is highly appreciated in the hot season.
You can barely guess Rio Limay on the southern edge of the city from the low hill where Guillermo brought me to take this panorama. Beyond the river there is nothing but the endless emptiness of Patagonia.