Bus to Bariloche

Rio Gallegos Travel Blog

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Strange that the bus from El Calafate to Bariloche (which is about 1300km due north) has to go 350km south east before going north up the coast. Well, anyway, we had quite an early start. The bus departed at 3am and Alejandro, ever the host, informed us that he would not allow us to get a taxi and that he would take us to the bus station at that time. You don’t get service like that just anywhere. Our journey was made up of 3 parts (involving changes): • El Calafate to Rio Gallegos (4 hours) • Rio Gallegos to Comodoro Rivadavia (12 hours and a 3 hour stop) • Comodoro to Bariloche (14 hours) The first part was quick and painless. We were exhausted so we managed to sleep for the entire journey apart from the 15 minute stop in some random town half way between. So Rio Gallegos came up pretty quickly and we were greeted by a pretty sunrise and remarkably similar set of dogs at the bus station. I am still convinced that little black and white dog was running the whole journey behind the bus just to say goodbye to us. Either that or he was towed behind the bus. How sweet. Quick language lesson. The “ll” in Gallegos is pronounced almost as a “j” but closer to the “z” in Polish, which has a buzz to it. Almost like the “sch” in schnitzel but with more of a “g”. Difficult to explain. It is common in Argentina, but nor reflected in the language guide. Strange. On the first leg, we met David, and Irish guy from Dublin who is 6 weeks into his 1 year around the world trip. He was going on to Mendoza (20 hours further than us), which gave us some heart. Nice to have someone in the same situation too, although there did turn out to be about 3 others on the bus who made it through the whole way too. Two of these guys seemed to be surf-dudes as they didn’t have a ticket or a clue. In Rio Gallegos, we were supposed to connect at 8 am. The place for us to arrange our tickets only opened at about 7:50 however and the bus only arrived at 8:30. Different time zone I suspect. Anyway, got on the bus and settled in for a long trip. The buses are actually quite spacious. You get a lot more legroom than you do on a plane. That said, it does not make it comfortable. We went through a lot of one-horse towns on the way from Rio Gallegos to Comodoro. Saw some exciting things I can tell you: A pickup (bakkie for the SA crowd) with horns stuck on the front grill, lots of old yank tank cars which have been really porno’d up, really gross petrol station toilets (one even had a shower….), towns where you would not want to be basically.
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Rio Gallegos
photo by: wiener_bua