. From Bariloche we then took a 33hr bus ride (yes thirty three hours!!) via Rio Gallegos to El Calafate - a long bleak journey with little scenery but the only alternative to an expensive flight south. In El Calafate we found a great place to stay - Hostel America del Sur - which has great views of the lake, exceptionally friendly staff and little luxuries such as underfloor heating. From here we took a day tour to see the Perito Moreno Glacier which is an amazing sight. At one end of lake Argentina it is 5km wide and 32km long - it is hard to imagine such a huge block of blue ice. The equivalent of 20storeys high above the lake and 3 times as deep below it towers above everything and every few minutes you hear a loud crack like thunder and big chunks of the ice come crashing down into the lake below, sending waves across towards you. We did a short walk along the lakeside to it and in the afternoon took a boat trip to get even closer still - definitely one of the highlights of South America for us and a fantastic day!!
After crossing the border into Argentina we stayed at a small town called San Martin Los Andes. This small town is in the heart of the Lake District and has lots of really good restaurants and coffee shops. Here we had our first Argentinian steak which is renowned as the best in the world (and really cheap too!). Mandy also got an easter egg from one of the chocolate shops. From there we took a bus through 'the seven lakes' to Bariloche, which is a larger town right on a beautiful lake. Here we spent our days walking around the surrounding lakes through fantastic scenery and also took a chairlift at Cerro Centario up to a great viewpoint. At nights we continued to sample the fantastic steaks and drink lots of the great red wine.. the food and drink here is so good and so cheap its hard not to spoil ourselves! In Bariloche we first stayed at Hosteria Guemes (Hotel) which was on a hill overlooking the lake but for our last night we moved into the cheaper Hostel Balsas where there was a party atmosphgere and they had a great BBQ for everyone staying there in the evening