Day 81: Busing Santiago - Mendoza through the Andes!

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South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Santiago
June 26th 2013
Published: June 29th 2013
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We were awake relatively early today as we had to find a place to print our bus tickets and only just realised last night. Also, we didnt actually really know where the bus station was and had spent about an hour last night trying to track down the address. But just incase we figured we prob needed to leave a lil earlier – better safe than sorry! We checked out, again couldnt understand the man at the front desk and so decided upon paying for last night when we are back here in a few days.

We strapped our packs on our backs and headed into the streets of Santiago on a printer search! It was a lovely morning and there were heaps of people out! We looked to our right and heard a heard cheer and saw a large congregation of workers out the fornt of a construction site and then looked ahead and in the middle of the road was a wardrobe going up in flames along with cardboard boxes surrounding it in flames also! People were just really wandering past like this is an everyday thing! It had obviously stopped traffic and we kinda tip toed past it not really wanting to become a part of everything and thinking crap! We walked past a lil corner shop that had computers (random) in it so Ben went in and asked if we could use them. After only just making it through the doorway with his back on he squeezed in and got to work! Thank goodness we found something cos it was only 8am! I decided to continue on to the coffee shop we found a week ago when staying here and get us both coffees! Once again my spanish was fantastic ordering a latte and a vanilla latte. Mine was very weird tasting but Bens was ok. I went and picked Ben up with coffees and we hopped into a cab to head to the bus terminal still not really knowing where we were going. The taxi driver initially was a lil unsure of what was going on but he was lovely and tried really hard with slow spanish trying to get us to understand. We drove past more burnt out things all over the road on the way and so much black ash everywhere and rubbish flying round the place! The city was a mess. He said there was a protest about something but we arent sure what.

We arrived at the station after only one near death experience on my part where I kinda got stuck in the middle of the road and almost sandwiched between a giant truck and a bus, not really knowing what to do. With Ben just staanding on the edge having not taken the leap of faith across, shaking his head at me! As soon as he made it across I quickly changed topics of conversation and managed to avoid being told off! Whew! We didnt really know where to go and everything was really poorly signposted. We found a lady with a small amount of english who indicated we needed to go to a diff terminal thankfully which was just up the road. We then managed to get out of the info desk that we needed to find shop 42 – andesmar. Which we then found but no one was there working in it! Great! We waited a while and thankfully 2 men arrived with coffees, looked at our passports and checked us in. We had 20 mins and hadnt had breakie so went and found a bakery and got a few croissants, yogurt, muffin and water to go! Quick loo stop and then we found our bus. Not too difficult!

We got on the bus and I had booked us total prime seats! Right up the front up on the upper deck so we could see out the front windws like we were driving but not driving! 😊 It was great! The drive was really smooth though the bus was absolutely freezing to start and I thought omg I am not going to cope with this for 8 hours! But thankfully it just took a wee while for the heaters to pump out hot not cold air. So I put all my clothes on and just huddled! They gave us a hot drink and a bikke when we got on which was lovely of them and the seats went back really far and were super comfy! Go Andesmar! Really recommend them!

After about 4 hours we arrived at the border and had spent the last hour or so winding through the Andes with some stunning scenery and a lot of snow! It was beautiful. We all had to get out but once again really had no idea what was going on! Just a usual bus trip in central or south america really! Just go with it! We lined up and relatively painlessly got our passports stamped once again into Argentina! And got back on the bus! At this stage it was about 2pm and we (well mainly me) was super starving and we had no idea if we got given lunch or not, so when they bought around a sandwich looking thing I whopped with glee! A few Chileans laughed hysterically at me for my excitement level and then I realised it was completely unjust as it was a white ham and cheese concoction! Not nice or really edible at all! I managed half which at least sustained me for a lil bit!

We then settled in to about 3.5 hours of Homeland with my laptop lasting a treat! Looking back we prob should have taken pics instead of watching homeland as it was beautiful scenery and looked like the landscape of the grand canyon without a giant canyon in the middle of it!

We arrived to Mendoza about 5pm (half an hour ahead of schedule!) and got hounded by our drivers for a tip following then handing us our bags...pfft nah! And a heap of people trying to get us to stay in their hostel! We ignored them best we could and moved to the taxi rank not having to wait very long to get a taxi. We gave them the address for our B&B and 10-15mins later we had arrived. It was a beautiful house with the 2 loveliest owners we have ever met! Gladis and Jorge! Jorge spoke a weeny bit of English and loved practicing with us and Gladis really didnt speak much but we had google translate out all the time to help as Jorge wasnt there when we first arrived. They showed us to our room which was gorgeous. Big bed, spa bath, slippers – luxury again! Even after La Cascada the last few days.

We settled in and then decided to go and grab an early dinner. I had a quick look on trip advisor and found a pub near by which apparently did good food. Once again we were the first in the pub. Ppl eat so late here! Think its to do with the fact that everything and I mean everythig shuts from 12.30-4.30pm for a siesta! 4 hours!! Anyway they served us just giving us strange looks as to why we wanted to eat so early. I ordered a almond and pumpkin filled pasta dish which was very very odd and I wouldnt recommend it! Ben had an empinada and chicken parma type thing. He was pretty happy with his choice especially after looking at mine! We ate and then headed back to the comfort of our new home. Stopping on the way in to meet Jorge and chat to him about our plans for the next few days. He pulled out a map and told us what wineries to visit and how to get there. He was so lovely! The best hosts ever! This place is worth paying a lil extra to stay here!

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30th June 2013

Love the blogs Rach...I can really visualise being there...reliving the 'near-death' experience and eating all the delicious, and not so delicious food! can't wait to see you in 3 weeks1

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