December 28, 2005 GMT
11th Dec 2006 - St Martin de los Andes to Bariloche

Mileage - 170 kms est

Well think I might finally be getting sensory overload, been a while coming, but think I may reaching a limit.

Not that the views aren't stunning, they certainly are, just bit tired of the views coninciding with some grim sections of repio. That means two things, you can't see the view without stopping (unless you fancy stopping in a pile at side of road of course) or you're half knackered and the view comes secondary to your physical condition.


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Mountains lakes and Lupins leaving Bariloche


This area is famous for the 'Five lakes drive' and therefore the drive is quite popular, understandably. meaning even the odd three tourist buses who WILL take the best path through the potholes, whether you're their or not Nice.


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Bev and Nik admire the views


Also there is a correpondingly larger amount of dust in the air which is frankly getting a right pain too. Ah well, the troubles of those out enjoying themselves while you work eh, I wouldn't blame you for limited sypathy too !

Still, some of the views where stunning again. Lakes to match the best that Switzerland can offer and lots of infrastructure suggesting wealth a plenty. Hence the prices are correspondingly more, and now the holiday season is kicking in too.

Some of the forests had some of the best coloured cleanest looking water I think I have ever seen, outstandingly beautiful. the fishing is famous apparently, and it would come as no surpise at all.

We stopped for lunch at very nice spot up a track on the hillside where the owner had a fundura to. Was - I guess from what he was saying and his accent - a pilot in US for a number of years, hence able to set up in a lush spot.

We never intended having more than a snack. But ended up with a full, and not too cheap, but very good meal. Keeping it shoorter than usual we then crested the lake to see the town ahead, not nestled in the mountains as expected but spralwed alonge the lakeside.

Eventually found a cheap place with Nik camped on lawn for 10 a night and us in a simple room for 20 p/p. The lady who runs the place is 83 and very helpful and knowledgable, as well as Spanish, perfect English and German. She bustles around and makes light work of the satiars up to our room that are more akin to ladders than stairs.


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Bariloche nestling on lakeside near the mountains



Monday 12th December

Bariloche

Mileage - 0 kms

A further day of frustrations regarding our planned train journey. We were unable to pay the money into the guys bank account as even though we had the cash it was not possiblew ithout us having an Argentinian bank account, which obviously we don't have.
Basically spent most of day bumming round tyrying to sort it. In end we got a mail saying th tickets woiuld come on an incoming train and we could pay there. Keeping it all short here as writing while awaiting going to train


Tuesday 13th December

Bariloche, short circuit

Mileage - 100 kms

Took the so called 'short circuit' which gets high marks in the right ups in the books, but in effect was half just a road through a developing tourist area, and half beautiful but extremely touristy, coach loads of people at the panoramas etc etc. Like the Lake District on a bust day at home, not our cup of tea. Really Bariloche has turned out to be another Mendoza, not somewhere we want to be, and realy not even a necessary evil.

The only fun to be had was annoying dogs - they bark all bleeding night and wake you then doze during day. So finding a nearly guilty party I allways like to start the bike up and esure muttley gets proper wound up before we go anywhere.

Not content with barking all night they do like to get out of their daytime slumber by chasing apssing motorcycles. This is a very dangerous passtime for us not them. They leap out from behind hedges of walls straight into the road. as far as I'm concerned I'd have no problem with having the lot put down, in fact I'd volunteer to do it. Obviously dog ownership here equates to having a dog in the loosest sence rather than the general approach we have (generally !) in the UK of pet care and responsible care.

So we half enjoyed the run around and even though it´s a beautiful place it´s very very touristy. Will get worse now season has started, but we have the transport to get away from it all at least.


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Argentina's best hotel, Llao Llao, in beautiful setting


Got tickets, but Nik decided the costs were getting too high for him so decided to leave in morning to ride to Veidma. As compulsory insurabce based oin bike value as was 20 quid for one way trip and his nearer 100 so understandable. Shame to split so quick without aproper chance for a good old knees up, but we´ll all be a Veidma in two days anyway. (insurance – like I believe it is 1% of value of bike, per trip, ridiculas)

Tickets were about 24 quid p/p for a bed on train, and 50 quid for the bike. Costly but we decided to go for the experience anyway.


Wednesday 14th December

Bariloche - Cerro Tronador

Mileage - 180 kms

Nik left early, we didn´t see him as making most of a lie-in. More on that later.

We went out of town to another beauty spot, unfortunately involving a one way road - 2hrs solid off road ride each way, 10.30 til 2pm one way 17.00-19.30 return direction. Was surprised we only met one vehicle ignoring it. Very very hard road, but extremely beautiful at end, lakes with crystal clear water, and at end a hanging glacier and tons of waterfalls, and the famed black glacier. It´s truly black, full of volcanic dust I guess. Well worth seeing even with the ride.


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Crystal clear water on way to Cerro Tonador



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The Ventisquero Negra, truely a black glacier



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Ice in front of glacier



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Stunning falls at end of road


Thursday 15th December

Bariloche - train

Mileage - 0 kms

What an experience ! 5 men manually loading the bike into a carriage. Will have to speak more on this another time. Scarey, but they did it, and our pride and joy is strapped down tight I hope (well there´s always the insurance to fall back on…….


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Wheelie Time


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