The crossing in to Argentina by bus was long. In the coach class upstairs we played a round of BINGO. It was a good way to kill time and we both got better at our numbers in Spanish. It took some help from our neighbors. We got into Bariloche around 4 pm. There were many more backpackers when we arrived. Young people probably travel down this way for their summer break. The line for the city bus into town was so long that we took a taxi.
Bariloche is a beautiful town (what's new). There is a large blue lake and the city sits on a hill. We checked into our hostel which had a great balcony, then went to book an excursion, buy some groceries, and eat dinner. It has restaurants, pubs, music and "Cervesarias" serving craft beer. Taylor experienced her first wave of homesickness. Between not being able to speak the language and changing places every day or two, she needed a little familiarity. So we had burgers, fries, and beer for dinner, which were amazing after a few days of eating cheap.
We took an overnight bus from Valpo to Puerto Varas. It was a 14 hour ride, but luckily there were no stops through the night. It was much more comfortable than a plane and will be good preparation for an upcoming 24 hour ride further south.
Puerto Varas was quiet when we arrived. It's a smaller German founded town on a lake with quite a few name brand outdoor shops- Patagonia, Columbia, Orvis- and a lot of excursion shops. It reminded us of a ski town. We stopped to plan a rafting trip for the next day, but they had availability that afternoon and the sky was clear so we jumped on the earlier trip.
We departed from Atlanta after a slight rain delay and 9.5 uneventful hours later we landed in Santiago. After passing customs we took a crowded bus into the city. Buses are everywhere in Chile, both in the cities as well as a major form of transportation across the country. We quickly learned that very few people spoke English and Chris was going to have to brush up on his Spanish skills! We finally made it to the Airbnb in the center of Santiago after a short metro ride and very long HOT walk. We dropped off our gear before hitting the streets to explore. Most of the main museums were closed since it was a Monday so we stuck to wandering the streets for a bit. For dinner we ate at a Chilean sandwich shop that was a little touristy, but VERY good. After dinner we walked around the Bellavista neighborhood for a while. It had a very modern area and a ton of nightlife. Just like Spain, they eat very late here, but we decided to call it an early night. We will definetely be stopping by there when we are back in Santiago at the end of the trip.
Chris & Taylor
Read our travel blog as we visit three continents in 2017.