After spending close to three weeks at several beautiful hosterias and hotels from San Martin de los Andes to El Bolson, we were ready to get home. What we found in Esquel at Hosteria Canela was a home away from home. We had a lovely room with an entrance at the side of the house, complete in every regard including an electric tea pot.
The morning we arrived in Esquel we had stopped by the station of the Old Patagonia Express; we hadn’t anticipated wanting to do it and had no reservation, and the only time we had (other than fishing) was that very afternoon. Unfortunately, it was booked up. Veronica, the owner of La Canela, offered to try to find us a spot. She did so, with an agency she knew of. When the tickets arrived we weren’t there, so she paid for them. A few days later she booked us on the all-day lake cruise. She acted as if these services were normal, and I think for her they are.
Then there was Jorge, her husband. He is a photographer, and in our room was this amazing photograph that could have been taken in the 1880s west. The contrast between light and dark were stunning, and I remarked on it, asking if it was available for sale. Before we left I was presented with a copy. Jorge had found the negative and taken it down to a studio to duplicate! He wouldn’t even allow me to pay the charge for making it.
One last thing – many of the hosterias, including Canela, wouldn’t take credit cards, and wanted a deposit to hold the room (it was early January, the highest of the high season). I found out it was very expensive to send money by Western Union, and asked Veronica what to do. She said not to worry, that she would trust us (and have scones waiting for us when we arrived). I used her reply in emails to other hosterias, and none of them required us to send the deposit.
In addition to all, Jorge and Veronica are very interesting people, whom we hope to see again and call friends.