After spending the night at the Diplomatic Hotel we were unsure about if we wanted to leave. Ever.
Thinking back to our planning attempts before the trip did remind of us a rather packed schedule after leaving Argentina:
We are going to make our way up from Mendoza through Chile, have time to visit Valparaiso, La Serena and Antofagasta. From there continue to see the salt flats of Uyuni in Bolivia. After the salt flats we have to make our way to Cuzco and Machu Picchu in Peru. After these two adventures we are supposed to make our way back through Bolivia where we want to stay for a while in each city we pass. The final stop in Bolivia is the train of death before we see the Pantanal in Brazil. After this we have to put full speed ahead back to Rio if we are going to be able to spend at least a few days on Ipanema with Caipirinhas in our hands before returning to our cold home.
Alas, we have to separate ourselves from the bed and get going!
When we arrived to the bus station we had the impression that there would not be a bus for many hours and we would pass into Chile during the night. But to our great pleasure we found a bus that left no more than one hour later!
This was very luckily as this was probably one of the most magnificent and enjoyable bus rides so far in the trip. Four hours of beautiful views of the Andes mountains, in the middle a stop to enter into Chile, and then three more hours of beautiful views. A post on the border formalities passing from Argentina to Chile can be found here.
To all of you back home, we do have some snow here as well, not just as closely upon us.
This bus ride was definitely worth the €50 it cost us in first class, it was both a necessary part of our trip and a joy for our eyes along the way! The view above is from when we waited our turn to clear customs.
As a person scared of heights I was very thankful both for the quality of the roads and for the fact that our bus driver drove slowly and carefully in the hairpin corners of this amazing road! Can you see the remains of the rail track on the other side of the ravine in the picture above?
There used to be a working rail service along the same route as the road, but the tensions between Argentina and Chile during the 70s caused service to stop, and was only resumed briefly before finally ending in 1984.