Saturday 19 August 2023

Parque Nacional el Leoncito

The first two days in Parque Nacional El Leoncito were spent hiking three trails through the  parched undergrowth to a waterfall, along the river course and the summit of El Leoncito, the hill that gives the national park its name. All the routes’ times were incredibly overestimated – the river walk was estimated as an hour and a half and we did it in 20 minutes! 

El Leonicito at its summit was 2649 meters high and gave you an excellent view of the national park surrounding and an even more brilliant view of the Andes but unluckily on that day the mountains were partly covered by clouds. 

Half way through the walk, my sister had to take off her shorts because they were rubbing her :) Of course, if you know Ismene you would know that wearing no shorts didn’t stop her marching along to be first to the rocky summit! As we were climbing up, Dan spotted a black dog which was guarding its territory in the summit of El Leoncito. We had to pick up a couple of stones to warn it off. Luckily, it stayed away.

After this long hike, we went to Barreal (the nearby town) and by chance we stumbled across an amazing restaurant just across the river called Finca Nocce. The restaurant was in the owner’s front garden which wasn’t really a garden but a field for his goats which he kept for making cheese and meat. He also had four dogs, two of which we were introduced to – Chiquita and Chiquito. Chiquita was a energetic, playful dog who would chase horses, goats and geese for hours on end. She reminded me incredibly of my sister who ran with her in the fields.

The owner sat us at the table and brought us plate after plate of delicious salads, meats and cheeses, most of which came out of his own products and was full of stories to share. The food was made of salami, goat cheese, ham and rice salad for one dish, and orange, grated carrot and olives as another. The best dish was made up of goat baked in the oven with pumpkin, carrot and potato baked with it. All in all, it was a brilliant meal.  

As we were eating, we realised that we had been searching for a name for our car and here was the perfect name just lying in front of us (yes, lying). Chiquita! I know you're thinking, how does that fit? I am just about to explain: Chiquita runs for hours on end and so does our car. We also wanted a Spanish name as the main language of South America is Spanish. So that is how our car found its name.

Bye for now.


  1. great account, thank you Orestis. How are you getting on understanding Spanish? Does it sound very different from Duolingo? love, Sal

  2. The account of your meal has me salivating! Must be supper time. Super to hear the latest, we're catching up! x Angus and Luke.