Bariloche was the scene, and Hostel 1004 was the place to be. We arrived on the 24th in the late morning, and wandered the town getting a few items for the big party later on. It was a relaxing day, but the town was alive with families out and about - the streets and cafes were packed. We got back to the hostel around 5 and decided on a little nap to catch up on sleep (sorely lacking these days!). Our experience with dinners past were always "go late" so when we awoke at 8pm to the clink of plates and glasses it was a little shocking. 25 minutes to dinner! Luckily, our contribution to the 40-person pot-luck was a nice homemade, whole wheat pasta and some sautéd vegetables and textured soy (we hit a natural foods store in El Bolson) so it was ready in minutes. Dinner was grand, our dish was the source of intrigue as many folk had never had soy before. We shared and drank wine and when the food was finished, the tables went onto the balcony and a large dancefloor was created.
The disco ball lit up and the party really started. There was wine, dancing, more wine, conversation with people from around the world, and a lot more wine. It´s pretty easy to keep uncorking when some of the finest wines we´ve ever had are only 8-10 pesos a bottle. The party went ´til 4am and though the music was a little dated at times (as is the case everywhere so far down here) we still had a great time.
On Christmas morning, as we were eating breakfast at noon, the staff were busy taking down all the decorations and suddenly it was like it wasn´t even Xmas at all. The town itself was dead quiet, everything closed up, so we went for a nice hike to Lago Gúitterez and up to an amazing viewpoint next to Cerro Catedral, looking over the entire valley and surrounded by magnificent mountains. It was perfect.
That night, we got together with some friends we met in El Bolson - Carey and Colleen from Fort Mac, Esbjorn from Belgium and Isabelle from France. We dined at an incredible quasi-Italian restaurant called La Trattoria and ate like royalty. Gnocchi, pastas, massive steaks, lamb kebabs, and some amazing Malbec from San Telmo vineyard in Mendoza. It was a very different Christmas, but one to remember.