Covered in ashes

We were on our way to the lake when I saw  the tower of a small rock church. “I want to go there!”, I said to my friend Monica and she promised to stop there on our way back. The first thing I noticed as we pulled into the parking area was the architecture. A perfect blend of wood and rock.

Capilla Virgin de la Asuncion in Villa La Angostura

The church had an eerie feeling. Volcanic ashes were lying everywhere and the trees and grass were almost covered by it. This day in particular was bad and visibility poor. I stood there looking at the devastation around me. The volcano in Chile played havoc in this part of Argentina. For a moment I tried to imagine that this was snow and not ashes. It lifted the sombre mood.

A view of the volcanic ashes and the church

This is not your typical Argentinian building style. The architectural style of this church is very similar to Northern Europe. Villa La Angostura has a strong European influence and it is evident when you drive through the town. The church was designed by architect Alejandro Bustillo and built in 1936. All the stones, red brick, larch tiles and cypress woodwork come from this area. It is a very impressive church.

We couldn`t go inside the church but apparently behind the altar, is a 200 year old painting from Cusco, that had been donated by the Lavallol family in 1940. It would have been nice to see that.

As I walked around the church, I noticed the glass stained windows. I love the detail that you so often see in glass stained windows. They put so much time and effort into creating these master pieces. I stood there for a little while, just looking and admiring the delicate work.

Beautiful glass stained windows.

I made my way to the entrance of the church, hoping it would be open. But sadly it was closed.

Under lock and key!

I decided to walk around the church, maybe I could take a peek through another window. No windows were open but I did manage to see a very interesting spider web. This web was special because the volcanic ashes left it dense and thick. It looked very intriguing. I left before the owner woke up.

At the back of the church was a fascinating little house. I am sure they use it as a storage place but with the ashes lying around and the tall trees it almost reminded me of little Red Riding hood. Luckily I didn`t see a big bad wolf and went back to the entrance.

The little house behind the church

It was time to go. I took a last look at this precious little church, imagining what it must look like in winter, when delicate snow flakes fall around it. I tried to imagine what it must look like in spring, when the snow melts and the green leaves immerse. Unfortunately this summer the green leaves will be buried underneath thick layers of volcanic ash….maybe next summer too.

Date: 27 October 2011
Where: Villa La Angostura, Neuquen Province, Argentina.

I have been fortunate to have done quite a bit of travelling over the last 10 years. By heart I am an adventurer and I love exploring new places, cultures and food. Travelling can become stressful and expensive. Over the years I have learnt to travel as cost effective as possible, simply by travelling more clever. is a Adventure and Budget Travel site where I review Airlines, Accommodation, Transport, Restaurants and give helpful travel information.


  1. I can almost visualize the church. I am sure it is steeped in mystery and legend. Beautiful and mysrterious

  2. Dreamy landscape and church. Eerily deserted too. You've captured the beauty of its desolation, Nelieta. Reminds me of a church in my country that's half-buried in volcanic ash too.

  3. I so enjoyed traveling with you today! What a lovely church even though coated in volcanic ash. You made me curious, too, to know what was inside, but the stained glass window does give me some idea.Thanks for this terrific post!

  4. Wow, this is really awesome. I have some experience with volcanic ash because of Mt.St.Helens, but this is spectacular. I love the church itself, besides the locked door seems very welcoming. (Hehe) Stained glass is fascinating, this one seems more intricate than the ones I have seen. I love the web too, I wouldn't have wanted to meet the owner either. A wonderful post Nelieta. I enjoyed it immensely.

  5. A lovely sight to behold, Nelieta. As I always say, your eye for detail and unusual is quite laudable. The church looks beautiful but it also has that eerie quality that you mentioned. i just hope you get to see the inside someday and also show it to all of us who are as curious as you.And the house at the back, does look like that wee house from red Riding Hood!Joy always,susan

  6. Thanks Susan! I am a creature of detail 🙂 I also hope to see what it looks like inside..but the distance is so far! We drove almost 1500 kms to get there! So glad you could see the resemblance to little Red Riding Hood. I thought it was only me and my over -active imagination 🙂 Have a blessed week Susan!

  7. I agree Claire! I am a sucker for old buildings and churches. I can spend a good hour at each place soaking up all the details. When I start looking for things to photograph it could take much!

  8. Thank you so much Jan! I just loved this little church. I am sure you would have too because there were so many wonderful photo opportunities. Photographing the church with all the ashes was challenging. I couldn`t fix the light in the photos. An amazing experience 🙂

  9. Lovelly church, quite ghostly covered in ash. I loved the spider web! It easy to forget how the animals and insectcts etc are coping when things like that happen.

  10. It does Kris! This town was so badly affected. I felt sorry for the people. In Bariloche and San Martin de los Andes were no ashes. But this touristy town was covered in it. I feel sorry for the animals too, we often forget how they have to adapt!

Thank you for visiting. Have a fabulous day!

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