As I last mentioned, we’re currently road-tripping through the state of Chubut in Argentina for a week of small towns and beautiful hiking. We started in Esquel, a former Welsh colony, where we spent one night. There isn’t much to write home about re:Esquel, but we’ll be going back there for a few days — one of which will be spent at the very untouristy Los Alerces National Park — before we begin WWOOFing in Trevelin (30km south of Esquel) January 8, so I’ll offer a more detailed report about it then.
Now the plan was to spend two days in the hippie, organic-loving town of El Bolson before making our way a little further north to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Bariloche, the glitziest city Patagonia has to offer, relatively speaking, thanks to the droves of Argentinians who flock there around this time of the year for vacation.
We arrived in El Bolson on Wednesday without a hostel in mind. One, La Casona de Odile, was listed both on a hostel booking site but also in my book under the pricey ‘A’ listing category, so I figured it was worth a look, especially after we asked a local for directions. He said this particular hostel was more in the country and less in the downtown, a term I use lightly for El Bolson.
The country? That sounded amazing–and a perfect balance for the more “city” experience we’d have soon in Bariloche. And, as we later found out, amazing is putting it lightly.
The property is a sprawling lavender farm-nature retreat-botanical garden heaven. And we were in luck, because this multi-hyphenate wonderland was in fact a hostel just as of last year; it used to be a bed and breakfast, making my Footprints 2011 guidebook a smidge outdated. They could be charging much, much more for this place, so we’re lucky to have caught it so early. But even if it were more expensive, I’d probably pay extra pesos to be here. Sorry I’m gushing, but I’m in love. Take a look:
View from our dorm window:
Hammocks in the backyard:
And this is also in their backyard:
Obviously we went for a swim and skipped some stones:
Love that I’m in a bathing suit at the end of December:
We instantly fell in love with the hostel and once the owners told us all there is to do El Bolson — note: a lot! — and how they’d be throwing a New Year’s Eve dinner party, we immediately extended our stay two more nights to stay through January 1. We can have a city NYE anytime; this country NYE would be much more unique. Even better, since this is hippie land, they’re actually offering a vegetarian option for the dinner party. Has hell frozen over? Because I think South America just gave me an option besides beef or ham.
We’ve had such full days here already — hiking, swimming in canyons, eating the best ice cream of our lives — and this town is still filled with more goodies that we sadly won’t have time for. But as for the fun we’ve had so far, I’ll save the stories for Part 2 of why I love El Bolson.
For now, check out more reasons — beyond the great staff, perfectly chilled-out playlists and well-equipped kitchen (I’ve missed you cumin, thyme and curry powder!) — why we love La Casona de Odile.
The living room:
The book exchange, the biggest I’ve seen in a hostel so far, though most of the books are in Spanish:
The breakfast, which features the most delicious homemade wheat bread and jams:
This one-week-old kitten, who has frozen my ice cold hatred for cats into a melting smushball of love. Don’t tell my future dog(s), but I had her sleeping in my lap after dinner two nights ago:
And how she and her sister (brother?) keep each other warm at
night…on a surge protector no less!
Again, with the backyard:
This row of goats who passed by their backyard river:
And a random horse!
Can never get enough lavender: