Chilean and Argentinian Road Trip
Bariloche Travel Blog› entry 34 of 35 › view all entries
Well, since the last entry, we have been to the UK and back to witness Emsies wedding. What a trip back and we were very lucky to have Lindy´s folks arrive the next day for our long planned "road tour" of CHile and Argentina.
As with our last holiday together, the tour had been planned around the necessity to fit in as much wine tasting as possible and I think we should all four of us be pretty near to professional in our ability to appear interested whilst being told about tasting notes of cabernet sauvignon, whilst all we want to do it get on with the business of drinking it!
After a day in Santiago we picked up the car and started driving. We stopped off in beautiful Valparaiso for lunch - the city is fantastic because it is built on a series of hills, with the houses jutting out from all sorts of improbable angles.
Next day we headed off to Santa Cruz, which is one of CHile´s main wine regions. We found a good spot and spent a day driving around the wineries and generally having a look around. They are not as set up for visitors as Stellenbosch however and at one stage we went to 3 in a row that would not let us in without a reservation. Great day though, and the tell-tale clinking sounds from the boot were testimony to some good tasting sessions!
We then headed south to Pucon, which is a beautiful Swiss style town on the Lago Villarica. The setting is fantastic - overlooked by a huge (active) volcano and forest covered mountain side leading into the lake.
We headed further south the next day onto Chiloe island where the rain really caught up with us. This is the gateway to Patagonia and there are also cruise ships that leave from here to the Antarctic in their summer. It was cold and wet, which was probably a little predictable given that we are about as far south as the Shetlands are north! We enjoyed Chiloe but I think a trip to summer would reveal a totally different place - they probably had about 3 inches of rain whilst we were there!
We then made our way towards Argentina, stopping off for a night in a great cabana on the shore of a lake, unfortunately still in the rain! The next day we made it to Bariloche - famous for its beautiful scenery and good skiing in the winter.
Next stop was Mendoza, way up in the centre of Argentina. We took 17 hours to do the drive up there, mainly do to the ridicoulsy bad Argentinan road signage, driving round one town for 2 hours before eventually finding our way! Mendoza was great, it´s another famous wine growing region and we took some bikes and did some MORE wine tasting, this time not having to worry about who was designated! We also got a bus tour up to the Argentinan border, where we realised that the border that we were hoping to cross was totally closed!!! Whoops! so our next mission was to try and get back into Chile, which ended up being a major backtrack of 2300km, over the icy Andes, and made a bit more tricky when part of the min highway was washed away by the torrential rains that followed us the whole way when we were in the south!! We eventually made it back to Santiago a few hours before Lindy´s parents took off and in a car that looked a LOT older than its 5 months!