Refugio Fray, Cerro Cathederal, Playing Tourist & another great meal

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The view at the top of Refugio Fray- Cerro cathederal in Bariloche- well worth the effort

The view at the top of Refugio Fray- Cerro cathederal in Bariloche- well worth the effort

Refugio Fray – Cerro Cathederal – So we did another very big hike the other day.  We hiked to Refugio Fray which sits atop Cerro Catehderal and is a highlight of our trip – from trekking anyway.  It’ a longer hike 24KM, with about 600 vertical feet that you do mostly in the last two kilometers.  Once you get to the top you find other people who are generally climbing and camping at the refugio.  In this section of the park there are many refugio’s that you can hang out at – have some supplies and generally there are other people there.  It also had a very nice lake, ice cold water and some places to hang out and relax after the long hike in.  We met some people from Kansas/California, England, Germany, etc.   For the most part our boys are generally the only kids doing these longer hikes – which is great for them – and they get interesting reaction from others when they are coming down and others are coming up.  Usually a “he’s coming down from the top?” sort of question – implying I think if the kids could do it then well so could they…  We are sort of building up our endurance for when we are in Torres Del Paine in the southern part of the country in two weeks so we can really push ourselves while in the park.  It took us about 8 hours to do the trek – and we were definately tired when we got down about 7:30 at night. You start this hike at the base area of the ski resort – it actually looks like a nice place.  We also found out that high season here is in the winter not summer, so that’s good news for us.



The climbers are on the right side below the main crown

The climbers are on the right side below the main crown

The view behind the refugio- a lake is there for swimming and fresh water

The view behind the refugio- a lake is there for swimming and fresh water

The map of our hike.  Look for red flag that says fray nex to it

The map of our hike. Look for red flag that says fray nex to it

Relaxing at the top

Relaxing at the top

Mom don't make us stand by the Flores for a picture on our hike...

Mom don’t make us stand by the Flores for a picture on our hike…

Up and up we go

Up and up we go

Tourist for a Day – we typically do try to stay away from the active tourist spots that scream tourist back to the world, however after our big hike we needed a relax day – so we got to take chair lifts up and back down from this nice viewpoint at the top of the hill.  Yes it was nice, but compared to what you see on one of these hikes it’s pretty plain.  Lots of lakes, and mountains.  One thing that we could see is the refugio Lopez that we hiked up to the other day – and it gave us good perspective as how high we really got during that climb.


You mean we take a chair lift up and don't have to hike? Cool!

You mean we take a chair lift up and don’t have to hike? Cool!

Pretty nice view and we aren't hotbed sweaty.

Pretty nice view and we aren’t hotbed sweaty.

Some cool birds hanging out.  There are so many Falcons here they act like pidgeons

Some cool birds hanging out. There are so many Falcons here they act like pidgeons

Another Great Meal? – One of the things we are learning is that there are definately good food places to go in Bariloche and others that you can tell are more touristy and the food is not as good.  One thing Cindy and I have both noticed is that the service here is really when you want it.  So if you order food, it shows up, but if your drink glass is empty no one will come by to  ask if you want more.  You have to call waiters/waitresses for nearly everything.   We were thinking – boy they sure would sell more wine/beer if they came back and asked “would you like another?” – but that’s not the culture here.


We walked by this very busy place the other night and it definately caught my eye – so decided to put the family back in the car, go back into downtown last night for dinner.  Of course we showed up around 7:30 – the place is completely empty – but that was ok.  First one in, you get lots of time/attention and help from the wait staff.  The one thing I will say is that we have had more waiters/waitresses here that speak english and that our ability to communicate with people in Spanish has been much better than in Pucon Chile.  It seemed like in Pucon hardly anyone spoke english.  I wouldn’t say that it’s everyone, but I have definately noticed it.  It’s also better for us as we are able to communicate in Spanish and I can tell it’s much easier to get around/along understanding the language.  You fit in easier.

Meat anyone?  Parilla style with extra twists!

Meat anyone? Parilla style with extra twists!

Anyway, we found ourselves at the restaurant “El restaurante del los fuegos” – restaurant of the fires.  Boy was it good.  They even had a play area for kids – so they boys got to play WII for a couple of minutes which was good for them.  We had an excellent meal – Cindy had Kebob’s that were chicken/pancetta, and I had Bife de Chorizo – which was a steak, butterflied with cheeze and chorizo in the midle then grilled.  They were served with three different oils, infused with different flavors – all very good.  The boys had very nice plates of pasta.  We talked with the owner at the end and found out that the place has only been open for about two months – but when we left there was a line to get in, so I think he’s doing ok.

We leave Saturday, back for Chile (Frutillar) where we will be until next Friday when we board our ship for the tip of south america.  It should be an extroidinary experience for the boys.  Cindy and I did a part of this trip when we were here 14 years ago – so it will be good to see what’s changed – my guess is not much as there are no roads and not much as far as infrastructure to speak of.

Post office in the colonia suiza- we don't think mail is a regular thing here

Post office in the colonia suiza- we don’t think mail is a regular thing here

The boys found this old car - rat rod potential for sure

The boys found this old car – rat rod potential for sure

Hand carved door in the colonial suiza

Hand carved door in the colonial suiza

Insurance – on a positive note, our insurance came through in a huge way for us and we have a good settlement for the things we lost in Pucon.   For anyone else travelling you should take note about how much currency your insurance will reimburse you for – in our case it was $200 – total.  In a country where you need us dollars (argentina) and cashiers checks don’t work – well you have to be very prudent about hiding and managing your cash.  I told Cindy this a.m. that last night Ii figured that the perfect hiding spot would be a tampon box – no robbery is going to open a box of tampons.  So we might buy some at the store and turn it into our portable safe.  We lost a lot more than that, but the insurance adjuster waived our deductable which happened to be the same amount of the cash — so we are whole.  There are a couple of things we are trying to work out – one is how to refresh our US Dollars here during our trip – having lost some from the robbery.  Things that you think of “travellers checks” are now sort of old school and banks charge crazy amounts to process them.  YOu cannot withdrawl US dollars in Argentina – so you have to figure out a different way – which we are working on.   One thing I can say is that it’s not easy and that I’m surprised a bit in 2015 that things are so difficult to simply wire money to withdrawl.  Oh well all part of the life lessons we are learning.



  1. Granddad says

    The hiking experiences are certainly going to stay in your memory banks for a long time. You are seeing some beautiful country and experiencing some wonderful taste bud experiences. I love the “rat rod”.
    The boys look that they have grown a foot. I like the fact that Hayden is wearing his hat most of the time.
    Stay safe and continue to use good judgment regarding personal belongings.
    Hugs to all! We spoke to Cindy’s mom on Tuesday evening. She seems to be doing well. Weather has changed and area is back in the throws of winter.
    Love, Dad


  2. Aunt Erin says

    Beautiful!!! The food sounds so amazing. That’s great about the “safe”…. That could be a new business.


  3. The tampon box is genius!! I’m going to try it. How you came up with that, I’m not sure I want to know. You guys are doing a great job rolling with each new adventure. Can’t wait to see pictures from the boat trip to the tip of south America. Tell Cindy my walks are boring without her!


  4. Granddad says

    Stay safe and enjoy your trip back to Chile. Sounds as if the boat trip will be wonderful again. Great hearing from you so often. I just can’t believe the hikes you are taking. Are there any snakes around on the rocks? The boys look happy and seem to be enjoying all the new food experiences. We love you. Love, Mom


  5. Michael Oswalt says

    Mike and Jeanie here! Really, really enjoying the stories of a lifetime from you all! When I was there in 1972 training Chile’s Special Forces it reminded me of the Wild West! I like what you are experiencing much more! We really like that you include photos of the dinner table (very appetizing), all members of the family, the sights and a great travel log! Eat your heart out, February was the snowiest month in recorded Colorado history with 5 feet of snow falling. Until last week, it would all melt, however no warm-up and snow showers every day and for the next few days, then the much awaited temps. slightly above freezing and by this weekend will hit the 50’s and melt this stuff quick! We’ve got about 8 inches of compacted snow/ice on the grass and 12 inches of the stuff on our streets. You chose well by traveling to the Southern Hemisphere this time of the year! No significant news in the neighborhood, all are well and wishing for spring. The NASDQ closed well above 5000 yesterday and today and the other indexes are at all time highs as well. Your home and pets seem fine. I am planning a 125 foot long zip line in our backyard onto a “slip and slide” for our Swiss grandkids and Gavin/Hayden for the summer. Again, what a great blog and know that we are current….Enjoy this trip of a lifetime…Jeanie and Mike O.


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