When buying long distance bus tickets in Argentina foreigners have to show their passport. Leaving San Rafael with tickets already purchased we had to show our passports before they would even let us on the bus! The places we are hopping from and to, are very scenic but in between there are vast distances of dull scrub land with so few habitations - cycling here would be very challenging. It makes me wonder where on earth we would have stayed each night and eaten along the way if we were travelling on Titty! It's carnival time in Bariloche with street artists, singers, jugglers and parades. One group of dancers were some very mature and very large ladies - so large that Bridget Jones's big knickers wouldn't be nearly big enough. That didn't stop them from flaunting what they had got as they were wearing shiny G-strings and proudly wobbling it all about. I refrained from taking any photos my lens wasn't wide angle enough, but hey they seemed very happy and were receiving lots of applause. The carnival wears a bit thin when your hotel room is on the main street and the party goes on until the early hours night after night. No air con so we have to keep the windows open! Lots of amazing chocolate shops here, all very expensive though. One shop gives out sample tasters from time to time, I have been in 6 times with 4 successful missions (2 of them successful on the way in and out). Withdrawing money is a right palaver, most ATM's won't accept our cards and the ones that do only let us take out 3000 Pesos (£111.00) at a time. Bariloche Day 1 - only half a day by the time we had checked in, after researching buses, trekking, water sports, etc we washed and hit the town - finally we got a steak dinner. Not enormous but thick and tasty. It's high season here and accommodation and food are surprisingly expensive. Talking to local's prices for most things in Argentina have increased dramatically in the last few years, especially in tourist places. Day 2 - we caught the bus to Lago (Lake) Gutierrez, walked up to Cascade de Los Duendes and then up to Mirador Gutierrez for great views of the lake and mountains, then we had our first go at stand-up paddle boarding - on a calm lake it's very easy, neither of us fell in. The trails here are so dry and dusty, Donna insists on walking in front otherwise she is constantly in a dust cloud created by my footsteps - so I have to choke instead! Whilst waiting for a bus its no better as all the verges are just gravel and dirt. Every car that pulls up or drives away creates a dust bowl. The buses stop so many times and the dust just gets sucked in through the doors and windows. Donna washed our clothes out in the evening and the water was like Bovril! Day 3 - a surprise for Donna as I had a Valentines card for her stashed away in my rucksack (from the card factory in Wednesbury). Another bus journey, then we hired bikes to cycle the Circuito Chico. Only 17 miles but with great mountain and lake scenery. The bike hire company said it would take 4 hours - for 17 miles!! They were right, you stop so much for the views and it's extremely hot and far from flat. Donna enjoyed it but prefers pedalling the tandem as she doesn't have to think about gear changes, braking or holding the handlebars! Empanadas and beer back at the hotel to keep us going until the restaurants open (late) and a Valentines chocolate for me from Donna - smuggled into the shopping basket at the supermarket without my knowledge. Day 4 - was planned to walk up Cerro Otto and days 5 & 6 trekking / camping around Cathedral peak. The problem is finding digs here after the trek (full, full, full, bloody awful, too expensive, ……), also Donna is struggling uphill with the heat and her cold so we decided we will trek cathedral peak in March as we plan to pass through Bariloche again. Revised Day 4 started with a visit to the bus terminal to get our ticket out of here, then a wrong bus to the back of beyond! We thought we wanted to go to Nahuel Malal but it turned out that this is a residential area set back from the lake. The bus turned off the main road, left the tarmac behind and we went down one dirt road after another. At least we had our Garmin sat nav so we could actually see where we were going and where we wanted to go. The bus reached the end of the line in some gravel back road and we were told to get off. We showed the driver on the satnav map where we actually wanted to go which turned out to be Bahia Serena - but it's not marked on our map! After his 10-minute break he took us back several stops for free then showed us which road to walk down. We hadn't walked far when my magic thumb got us a lift right to our destination. We hired kayaks for an hour and had a great paddle on Lago Nahuel Huapi. Another short bus journey, then the cable car up Cerro Otto. It was too hot to walk up now but we could walk down. Great views from the summit and a welcome cooling breeze. We walked 3 miles down and it just got hotter and hotter, 4x4's came past regularly and just left us caked in dust. With 2.5 miles to go we hitched a lift back to Bariloche - oh the joys of an air-conditioned vehicle. Great place but just a tad too hot and too many people, we look forward to returning when it's cooler and quieter. We have our bus card ready for when we return - bus drivers don't accept cash, you buy at a kiosk a SUBE card then load it with credit, and swipe it on the bus to pay. If locals get on and find they haven't enough credit they shout down the bus, someone lends them their card to swipe and they give them cash for the amount they swiped - I couldn't see that happening in England.