As soon as I arrived in San Martin de los Andes, Manuel handed me the day’s itinerary, and I knew right away this trip was going to be special. It included just three events: Lunch, aperitivo, and dinner. It’s the kind of schedule that’s easy to get used to.
The next 14 days went by like a dream, traveling by boat and prop plane deep into Patagonia to explore the incredible cycling and unique cuisine that makes Argentina such a special destination. And finishing the adventure off with a stay on Francis Mallmann’s private island was the icing on the cake. After a week of phenomenal gravel riding, it was great to relax and focus hard on the Mangia and Beve parts of inGamba’s motto.
Now, as I think back to some of the more special moments during the cycling part of this trip, the boat rides we took after a long day in the saddle rank pretty highly. Swimming in those majestic lakes while taking in the beauty of the shoreline is a memory that will stay with me forever.
I’d also add that it was amazing to do a whole trip on our fleet of Pinarello Grevils, exploring some of the deeper forest on single track, completely surrounded by Patagonian beauty. And, finally, I would say we were treated to many special, thoughtful meals as our private chef, Gunther, meticulously prepared meals over the fire as we enjoyed the scene with a healthy glass of Malbec in our hands.
Moving on to the island with Francis, it was absolutely indescribable to arrive by boat at his coveted La Isla pier after a flight crossing the beautiful Patagonia terrain to land at the edge of a lake and be transported by a one hour boat ride to the dock at La Isla. Francis greeted us personally and ushered us straight to a beautiful welcome lunch situated right by the lake under a beautiful tree.
It’s hard to put La Isla into words, but it is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Every morning I woke up giddy with excitement in anticipation of how the day would unfold. We were treated to lush and unforgettable long hikes through the forest to mountain tops, our group even walked to a lake in Chile, we went for several quick dips in the lakes and waterfalls and some of our group also spent their mornings and evenings with a private fly fishing guide that we coordinated for the week.
And, to cap it all off, of course we spent hours around tables taking in the craftsmanship of Francis and his team, enjoying the delicious meals, drinking and hearing many stories from Francis and absorbing the magic of the landscape that we were deep in the heart of.
It was truly a two week trip of Mangia, Beve, Bici at its finest. I’m grateful to have been part of it and I’m so happy we will be returning there in 2023 for more of our inGamba family to be able to share in this truly unforgettable experience. I hope you can join!