The Whole Picture is Nothing But a Compilation of Details.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Barely Across the Andes

"BEEP. BEEP. BEEP" it shrieked. We had barely put our heads down on the cool, cushy, comfortable pillows when the nocturnal bird, with the cry of an alarm clock, woke us up. This continued with regular intervals throughout the night and we became worried we would be immune to the sound of the alarm when it rang at 5:15 am to get us on the bus by 6:00 am sharp. Hence, we laid awake for most of the night. Ticktock. Ticktock. BEEP BEEP. BEEP. Ticktock. Ticktock. BEEP BEEP. BEEP. Ticktock. Ticktock. BEEP BEEP. BEEP.

Soon, the night turned to morning and naturally, the chorus grew louder. When the clock struck five we gave up on sleep and rose to meet our Swiss inn-keeper for our arranged ride to the bus station downtown, fifteen minutes away. We were convinced, given his heritage, that he'd already be up and waiting for us with the engine running. He was nowhere to be seen. Watching each passing minute with growing concern, we were certain the bus, in typical Argentine fashion, would not leave even thirty seconds late. Twenty minutes before six, we knocked on all possible doors, waking up everyone at the bed and breakfast including thankfully, the large rottweiler, our wildly barking saviour. Shirttails hanging out and rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, our inn-keeper appeared at last. Without further ado, we departed for the bus station: a cloud of dust attempting to travel back in time down a bumpy dirt road.

The time was 6:03 am when we arrived and for some inexplicable reason the bus had not yet departed. Panting, with our hearts in our throats, we sank into our seats on the bus to Valdivia, Chile, some seven hours away.

Customs and immigration were cleared at Paso Mamuil Malal; a fairly lengthy process for a bus since all luggage has to be taken off the vehicle, checked into Chile and loaded again. With passports stamped and officially in the country with the longest coastline in South America, we traveled on paved roads coiling through a breathtaking landscape of stark contrasts: deep gorges, icy blue rivers, tall mountains, lush forest and as we descended, hectares of rich farmland sitting in the shadow of the majestic Volcano Lanín (12,389').

We arrived in Valdivia with no plans or itinerary other than a rented car and a flight out of Santiago: the backbone of our travel in Chile, the Navimag ferry had been taken out of service a few days earlier, thwarting our plan of observing exotic marine life whilst drifting south on a ferry through the dazzling fjords of Chile.

Instead, our journey was planned en route and included a few close calls but always somehow unfolding without a hitch. It took us to where our guide book ended and very few people ventured: the coast between Hornopirén and Ralún.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Dear Eva Mossberg,
    Nice to be conneted with you. Very happy to read your profile and same time good to know how you love Mother Nature.As you rightly mentioned : mostly governed by simple economics the less money I spend, the longer I can stay, which also agrees with my love for simplicity. It is very much true. As you might be knowing I am from India and run a small travel company. I mostly try to be more open to the people and let them know more about India. I/we try to keep our valuable clients to stay at homes rather then keeping them at big hotels, so that they can know more about deeper India. Same time they can learn what is real life in the villages also they learn how to cook Indian food. This is the way how I started as a tour leader for many company's from UK,Swiss, France as well as Australian company's. I glad to read your profile you been very much helping hand to locals then anyone else.. Thanks and do keep in touch. Have a wonderful week-end. Lambert