What visitor to Bariloche has failed to have a picture taken at its Civic Center with huge Lake Nahuel Huapi in the background? With the Saint Bernard dogs? Or amidst laughter and amusing poses with their group of fellow students during a school trip?
It was shocking to get to the Civic Center following the steep stairs that joins it to the Lake Nahuel Huapi waterfront. Even though we had repeated that ritual a thousand times, it did not cease to be unique and as magnificent as when we first discovered it.
We had some time to tour around the area and understand where its magnetism comes from. The Civic Center is 70 years old and it continues to have a unique charm both in the winter and in the summer.
The imposing buildings made of greenish stones and the large wooden doors surrounding a relatively small square correspond to the facilities of the Town Hall, the Provincial Police, Customs, Sarmiento Library and National Parks Administration.
At the center of the square paved with olden slates, we found a pedestal with a statue of General Julio Roca on horseback. He bears an attitude of tiredness, as if advancing in the middle of the Conquest of the Desert. Those were hard days when the natives were displaced in order to give way to the colonization of the territory by white men.
Recommendations: The Tourist Office, where tourist information is provided almost all day long, may be visited at the Town Hall. The Culture Office offers cultural topics and exhibition rooms free of charge. A reasonable price is charged to access Dr. Francisco P. Moreno Museum of Patagonia.
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After the Volcanic Ash
Nothing remains of the ashy grey powder and the pumice stone that invaded the sky and soil of Bariloche and created uncertainty and fear both in local denizens and visitors.