LUGARES MAGAZINE Nro. 58
Pags. 46 - 49
By: Soledad Gil
Photos: Carolina Aldao
Villa La Angostura is looking more like it did at the beginning. A small village on the banks of the Nahuel Huapi. A lot of building is going on even in this cold weather. Whatever the reason, the town looks nothing like it does during the summer season.
In the meantime, there are many great new places. Waldhaus, the restaurant belonging to Gastón and Betina Mulás, is thriving with its Germanic-Patagonian inspired cuisine and cosy decor, so appropriate for the cold weather.
The young Sol and Guadalupe Montes moved their delicious food from Las Tres Caracolas in Bariloche to Las Lomas del Correntoso. The decor is warm and welcoming and they fully realise the expectations generated by the wonderful menu, which includes crepes, fondue, trout and their exquisite sirloin steak with raspberry sauce.
This time we stayed at the foot of the lake in Puerto Manzano, in one of the cabins of the Punta Manzano complex. They are in excellent condition, built on two storeys and taking full advantage of the natural slope of the terrain. Although the word "complex" could sound like an exaggeration, it is actually fairly accurate.
There are only three cabins, but each one of them is a world of its own, and proved to us that "La Villa" is expanding and oriented to those who wish to live in Patagonia with every available comfort.
Naranjo en Flor, the brand new inn with eight rooms, opened by Federico and Florencia Luque at the end of January, is following the same trend. In a sober and elegant style, the architecture gives priority to open spaces and views to the lake. Florencia studied cooking in France, and has realised her dream of running an inn with its own restaurant.
This year, the detour of Route 231 signed to "Cerro Bayo 6 Km", makes more sense than ever. The road leading to the foot of the cerro holds a fragment of history in every curve, and those who know Jean Pierre Raemdonck are familiar with it. El Bayo is the obsession of this persistent belgian, who arrived on his motorcycle in 1960 and moved to La Angostura the following year. He was president of the Club Andino from 1974 to 1984, and during those years nurtured the idea of creating a skiing centre in La Angostura.
The main chair lift, up to 1500 metres, finally arrived in 1990. Every year since then they have opened a new ski-lift service. This season, it is a chair lift that ascends 1200 metres and allows access to the areas with the most snow, especially meant for seasons with less snow then the current one. For next year they plan to set up the fifth chair lift to replace the current T - bar lift to the top. Then the access to the provincial slopes-an enormous and magnificent area which presently can only be reached after a fifteen minute walk -will increase the skiing surface for experts, and will expand the amazing views on to the Nahuel Huapi take.
In every other aspect, the secret charm of Bayo is that it doesn't change ...and proof of this is how children can still take their skiing lessons at Los Copitos, without the parents worrying that they may get run over by some rookie snowboarder. Or you can ask Lalo Bengoa why he, an authentic "Correntino" has accompanied Jean Pierre in the adventure of watching Bayo develop over the last ten years.