Crossing the Andes into Argentina
Trip Start Mar 13, 2009
20Trip End Mar 29, 2009
Today, I took a 6-hour bus ride across the Andes from Puerto Varas to Bariloche. The ride was mostly uneventful. The buses in Chile are very comfortable, double-decker buses with reclining seats, and the views as we wound through the mountain roads were spectacular. We crossed through national parks, saw volcanoes and snow-capped peaks and beautiful blue lakes. It's early fall, so a few of the leaves are starting to change colour high up in the mountains but mostly, everything is still pretty green. It's easy to see why this region is such a popular vacation spot.
The border crossing took about an hour, first with a stop on the Chilean side to clear exit customs, and then a perfunctory passport stamp on the Argentinian side. Immediately, the Spanish accents became more difficult to understand. That was the main noticeable difference so far.
Bariloche is a bigger town than Puerto Varas, and a popular base for the nearby national parks. It is famous for its German-influenced architecture, and the whole place has a ski town feel to it, which makes sense considering this is a ski town in the wintertime. It's also famous for chocolate; every second establishment seems to be a chocolaterie. There is one chocolate shop as big as a football field, where you can watch the chocolates being made. I think I'm in trouble here.
The hostel here is pretty cool, up on a hill with a view of the lake. I meandered around town a bit after arriving. There was some big concert in the main square, but I didn't linger long since it seemed like a political rally of some sort. There are people out everywhere just enjoying their holidays - tourists and Argentinians alike. This seems like a really great spot to hang out for a few days.
I hear the Habs are continuing their meltdown. Boo. Come on, guys, get it together!