We crossed the border back into Argentina on 22nd November. The winding drive took us from the Chilean Lake District to its Argentinian equivalent via Cardenal Samoré border post, where we were relieved of our fresh food supplies by a customs officer. We had picked up a hitch-hiker on the way through and eventually dropped him off in Villa la Angostura, stopping along the way to take in the amazing views.
Having hit the supermarket and replaced our confiscated food, we headed back north and found a beautiful campsite directly on the lake shore of Lago Espejo Chico. The last 2km track to the site was fairly lively, but the drive was worth the effort and we spotted our first Sheldgeese, with five chicks. I had my first an attempt at fishing in Argentina, but luckily we were not depending on my angling prowess for sustenance.
The following day we drove to Bariloche. The drive took us past numerous spectacular views of the mountains and lakes. After a brief stop in Bariloche, we headed to Colonia Suiza. We found a decent site on Lago Moreno, more Sheldgeese, this time with seven chicks, all trying to find a warm place under mum for the night. Colonia Suiza itself was like a pretend town - a mini theme park, so not somewhere Rachel would last the week on her own. The next morning, up early and Rachel dropped me off at the airport. I was heading to Buenos Aires, then home for a new passport - not enough pages left to get through the multiple switches between Chile and Argentina.
Meantime in Bariloche, Rachel was in bicycle heaven, moving to a perfect lake front camping position, some 13km from town on Lago Nahuel Huapi. Close enough to cycle everywhere. On Sunday she did the arduous but scenic 36km circuit around the Llao Llao Peninsular. The next day, she cheated and took a taxi up to the ski resort, Cerro Catedral. After a trip up in the cable car, she free-wheeled most of the 16km back to lake. Saddle sore and a day of rest was followed by a cycle the following day into town and to the dentist, and before she knew it I was back!
When I arrived back in Bariloche, there was a greeting from my over-excited buddy, Indigo (aged 5). He is Billy Whizz on turbo whose number 1 distraction is a game of Tag. He had made me a homecoming present and helped bake a chocolate cake (Thanks Donna), and of course there was a candle to blow out.
The next day, between games of Tag, we were back on the bus to town and in shoe shopping mode. WARNING - There is an Argentinian bus driver on the route 51 with a liking for Country Music. We were treated to the Best Hits of Kenny Rogers including Ruby Don't Take Your Love to Town, Coward of the Country and the classic Lucille (You picked a fine time to leave me etc..). I wake up each morning with one of those songs playing over and over in my head. Rachel is just stuck with a strangled version of Lucille....
Back at base, it was an evening of Tag and a barbecue with Donna & Okan.
In the morning - a final game of Tag, then we set of on the Ruta de Siete Lagos (route of 7 lakes), although I counted a lot more than seven. The weather was perfect and views on the route were simply - Wow! We camped on the shore of Lago Correntoso where Rachel showed off her campfire skills - grabbing the burning embers of a discarded bbq to light her own!
In the morning we continued the route, stopping at number of viewpoints before stopping for the night at Lago Traful. Possibly our favourite and once again, a camp fire and a great evening relaxing by the lake, with cows for company.
On our final day along the lakes, we visited San Martin de los Andes, a handsome town on Lago Lacár. After a very good ice-cream stop and a WiFi fix, we headed along the north side of Lago Lacár towards the Border with Chile. After a great drive through the forest, we camped at the water's edge of Lago Nonthué close to the Hua Hum border crossings. It was free and is probably one of our favourite campsites. The surroundings were beautiful and we had this large camping area to ourselves.
Morning and off to Chile, more food seizures...