Published: May 10th 2012May 10th 2012
After a whole lot of prior issues with my flight, I was able to board my flight to Santiago with no dramas. Descending into Santiago was stunning to say the least. As we descended, all you could see out the window were the tops of the Andes poking out of the clouds. Memories of the movie 'Alive' starring Ethan Hawke came into mind. Alot of travellers I have spoken to mentioned the exact same movie when speaking about this flight. Fortunately our plane didn´t crash and we didn´t have to turn to cannabalism to stay alive.
Once we landed and collected our riduculously heavy backpacks we headed straight to the Terminal Autobus in Santiago to catch our bus to Mendoza which was to depart in a couple of hours. The bus station was in the suburbs of Santiago and obviously a very poor area. We stood out like a sore thumb as foreigners. I didn´t see a single white face there, just a whole bunch of very sad looking Chilean people carrying their whole life possessions (mostly blankets and some kiddie tricycles) ready to uproot their life to a new town.
The bus route to Mendoza was absolutely breath taking. The country has produced a very well engineered road right through the valley of the andes and even climbs some of the snow capped mountains. It was pretty scary to look out of the window at times as the roads were narrow and would wind back and forth with a very steep fall to the side. On the side of the road there were numerous shrines of people who had lost their lives. One shrine I saw was covered in Australian flags which was very sad. Not only were the narrow roads a danger, but also the obvious evidence of landslides and avalanches that have destroyed older roads and tunnels. Despite the danger, the drive was well worth the trip. I have never felt so small in the world in comparison to the numerous mountains surrounding us from every angle.
We made it to Mendoza in only 6 hours. As always when travelling, we got lost at first and were heading in the total opposite direction to the centre of town. After asking a policeman we were redirected in the right direction. My backpack on my front and my back were ridiculously heavy and were digging into my shoulders something chronic. After an excruciating 15 block walk, we made it to the hostel by 7.30 at night dripping in sweat and being greeted by hostel staff who were laughing at our relieved entrance. After our BIG day of travelling, sleeping in a bed that night never felt so good.
Stay tuned for Mendoza blog...