El Bolson: Hippies, Apple Orchards and Art in the Forest

March 2014

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A refreshing hit of hippie-ness after the machismo ruggedness of southern Argentina. We spent about a week here in El Bolson, getting our fill of autumn weather and the changing leaves. We camped at a lovely place called La Chacra (Av. Belgrano 1128.  700 mts. from the ACA store), as in the body’s energy sources. Certainly there was some good energy flowing at this campsite as it was a fertile wonderland of apple, walnut, pear, plum, apricot, pear, cherry, peach etc trees. The campsite is clearly built to hold a ton of people, but we were nearly the only people there. The woman running the place was happy to give us a few extra blankets to ward off the cold nights. There are signs up asking guests not to pick the fruit, but since they were only harvesting the walnuts and letting the apples fall to the ground to rot, we helped ourselves to a few apples a day.

our little tent, god rest it's soul

our little tent, god rest it’s soul

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as usual we cooked our own dinner over the grill (every campsite in Argentina offers grill, it's part of the country's bylaws)

as usual we cooked our own dinner over the grill (every campsite in Argentina offers grill, it’s part of the country’s bylaws)

El Bolson is known for its artisan crafts market in the center of town. We saw tons of beautiful wood crafts, culinary concoctions and other curiosities there, alongside some weirder creations like troll sculptures, pipes and unique, handmade ‘jewelry’.

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As tradition would have it in southern South America, we ended up temporarily adopting a dog while in El Bolson. This beautiful black lab agreed to our terms of getting the bones from our steaks at night in exchange for following us around all day into town or on hikes and growling at any other dogs who dared to come near our tent. Leaving him at the bus station when we left town was a sad moment for sure.

we had to say goodbye in the wee hours of the morning. We'll never forget the sad moment when the bus doors closed and he just stared up at us wondering why he couldn't come too :(

we had to say goodbye in the wee hours of the morning. We’ll never forget the sad moment when the bus doors closed and he just stared up at us wondering why he couldn’t come too 😦

We went on a few great local hikes as adviser from the tourist office and also visited the innovative Bosque Tallado. After a fire and landslide wiped out many of the trees on one of the local mountainsides, the city decided to take advantage of the exposed wood to create an outdoor museum. They invited artists from all over the world to carve sculptures into the damaged trees to turn a disaster area into a beautiful art gallery, al fresco. It snowed while we were in the Bosque Tallado and we were happy to celebrate the experience with a few women from Uruguay who had never seen snow before.

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Unfortunately I got some sort of bad cold while in El Bolson, so we moved from the tent into one of La Chakra’s little cabins and sort of did nothing for a couple of days. The fall weather and apple orchard gave me a nice taste of home in New England.

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