We pull into Bariloche beautifully situated at the other end of Lake Nahuel Huapi at the foot of Cerro Otti. Another tourist town geared for winter skiing with numerous hotels, bed and breakfast lodgings, expensive restaurants and chocolate shops amongst its chalet-style stone and wooden buildings.
At this point the car gave up, completely refusing to start. So we abandoned it and went for lunch in a (rare) vegan restaurant where we forgot our sorrowful transport in a pile of green stuff. Returning to the miscreant transport and knowing it was in for a beating with a particularly whippy length of birch I had selected for punishment, the car sprang into life with a vigour previously absent. I had to remind my travelling companions that it was, after all, French.
In the morning, the party split up. Debbie and Lauren boarded a boat to explore the lake and I went fishing. I was taken by a qualified Gillie to the River Limay to try my hand at fly fishing, something that I have done on less than a handful of times and not for more than 15 years. I told him that I was a beginner but, at least, knew which end of the rod to hold. We began with a dry (floating) fly as trout fed on flies all around us. Hopeless. Despite my enthusiastic flailings, on the odd occasion that I managed to land the fly in the approximate area of a feeding fish the stupid animal ate every fly around without giving mine a second glance. A lesson ensued with Aldo (my guide) attempting to drum some technique into my unreceptive body. It seems bit like golf, having to remember 8 different things during, what is supposed to be, one movement. Anyway I improved gradually and Aldo opined that I was really an excellent fisherman, much better than the Americans. What a perceptive chap!
During a most enjoyable day I managed to catch: myself twice, four trees, three bushes, five rocks and eight lovely fish including one that was, apparently, ‘the biggest trout caught over the past three months’. There is photographic evidence to prove that I managed to catch both rainbow and brown trout (all returned to the river) but, unfortunately, not the largest, a five metre long, two hundred pound giant! Ernest Hemingway, eat your heart out.
Meanwhile, the girls disappeared off to have a day trip on the lake. I got the impression that while they had some quality time together, and were able to chat to their hearts content about everything and nothing, the boat trip itself was mixed. They were able to enjoy the spectacular scenery once off the boat and, going on a short hike through the forest to another glacial lake, were delighted to be away from the ‘tourists’! Their lunch was a complete disaster, not like mine, but the coffee and biscuits on-board were much appreciated given it was about all they had for the day. Serves then right: they should have come fishing.