There are people who like the transit part of traveling. The bus, the plane, the boat ride. They say getting there is half the fun.
I do not understand these people. For me, hyper (or amped, as I like to say) to a fault, sitting still in an enclosed space for a long time makes me nutty. Could I bike this? I think. How much is it costing me to be trapped in this reclining seat that hits me at all the wrong places?
But sometimes there is a trip that is just so pretty, that it makes it (almost worth it). Behold, the trip from Santiago to Mendoza (and back). I like to call it “the prettiest road.” Word to the wise, anyone that says you can’t take a decent picture out a bus window should be heretofore and forthwith corrected, stat. It doesn’t hurt to get the front upstairs seat, with the giant window. Also, if you get motion sick, take something, by all means, but you will fall asleep and miss the ride, which if you’re going to feel ill, is probably okay. You can look at pictures later.
Mendoza was a great time, will write about that later, but for now, enjoy some pictures. More on flickr, including one of kids sledding down a hillside near the border. All images copyright, no permissions granted.
Stark blue skies on the Chilean side
The road runs through a ski area, here are ski-lifts from Portillo that overhang the road.
The “zona de curvas.” Wonder why they call it that? Also, not for the pukey.
This dude is much tougher than I am!
This one reminds me of the cordillera de la sal with its 3 marías in San Pedro de Atacama.
This view reminds me of many things, but I can’t quite think of what at the moment.
More photos on flickr.
Also, buses leave from terminal Alameda, I took Cata, it cost 15,000 on cama, and 13,000 on semicama, probably slightly cheaper to buy the return side from Argentina. There were sandwiches and cookies (with beef fat!) as snacks both ways. I went on a Sat and came back on a Tues, and spent about an hour at the border each way. Total time 7-8 hours. Winter can be impassable, and weekends in general and long weekends take much longer at the border.
What’s your prettiest road?
Gorgeous photos, I’m impressed they were taked out a window!
the zona de curvas one you can tell, but the rest you can do pretty well with if the light is okay. Thanks for popping in, hadn’t seen your blog, will check it out!
I have to agree with you: I can’t understand why some people say that “getting there is half the fun” Nu-uh, it’s boring. Except when you’re crossing the cordillera 🙂
Which side is the zona de curvas? I remember a similar area in Mendoza called 1000 caracoles (or something along those lines).
Hey Ana, thanks for dropping by. That zona de curvas is on the Chilean side, not too far from the border. I think it’s what made me nauseous the last time I did this trip but this time I kept my eyes on the horizon from the giant window and suffered no ill effects. Awesome! Thanks for the tweet and comment.
This IS a spectacular route. Used to have to do it every 4 months to renew my visa. The prettiest was the fall when many of the trees turned yellow. Scariest was night driving in the snow (the bus is much better on the nerves!) Haven’t been in ages. Time to start thinking about correcting that!
I know, you were one of the people that were horrified when I told Audrey and Dan to take dramamine on the way. In the seven years I’ve been here, I’d only been through Mendoza once, and had never driven (bussed) from here to there. We did see an overturned truck (probably an unbalanced load), and it was a bit nervy at times, but I was able to relax. I wouldn’t want to drive it under any conditions, but would love to see it in the fall!
I’m the pukey type (haha) that has to take the Dramamine, so I appreciate your pictures because I’ve never seen any of it. Dramamine knocks me out so well that the bus driver had to wake me up to go through customs…
yeah, I had that on the 2nd half of the ride to Argentina, I slept through the movie “Training Day” at volume 11 (1-10) right in my ear. I was practically comatose. I braved it on the way back and didn’t get sick, but I was lucky!
Most definitely! That drive is one of the highlights of my time in Chile. Amazing!
And I didn’t even puke! Hope your wee one fares as well on long rides! Chile has so much pretty, wouldn’t you say? Thanks for dropping by, and one of these days, we really should meet up!
Prettiest? Wow that’s a tall order. Montana has some gorgeous roads with snow capped mountains stretching beyond 10,000 feet in height and wheat fields softly dancing in the breeze.
However, the red roads of Cambodia are striking against the clear, cerulean sky, flanked by acres of bright green rice plants extending to a lush backdrop of jungle.
And then there’s… oh too many to choose from. *grin*
Love all the prettiest road nominations. I know this is the prettiest one immediately east of me. I know shockingly little about the United States, but would lvoe to see all of it. And how you talk about Cambodia makes me want to shake out my frequent flier miles and see if I can get there (or close). Thanks for dropping in again!
Can I suggest Dramamine II, marketed in the US as Bonine over the counter, anti-vert prescription. Works REALLY well without the drowse…
Beautiful pix, as always, but that “zone de curves” makes me queasy just looking at it from my sofa!
you know, I took bonine, and that’s what killed me! Maybe I got the extra drowsy Bonine. It’s pink, and chewable for what it’s worth.
its so weird to see that road without any snow on it! 2 months ago that thing was covered in snow. I agree that this is the prettiest road! 🙂
yes, lovely, isn’t it? I know it’s not good for traversing in the winter. I used to teach and would often lose students after long weekends when they’d gone to mendoza and gotten trapped there!
Who knew good photos could be taken on a bus? I’ll have to put my husband up to the challenge on our next trip, as we’re planning on exploring the local rainforests, rivers, and lakes this spring. You’re lucky that you got in and out of customs in an hour, on our one-and-only bus crossing from Mendoza to Santiago our bus got hung up for 4 hours. A lady on our bus was trying to bring a ham shank in her suitcase as well, which didn’t help matters…
I know, I’m here to debunk all photo myths, including that you need a DSLR to take good photos (I did a photo walk with my point and shoot to prove my point a while ago (http://bearshapedsphere.com/2011/06/07/849/)). Also I hope you have some great experiences traveling over hill and dale. You live in such a spectacularly beautiful part of the world. One day I’ll come visit, and we can have some kuchen! And yes, I was very lucky. Though last visit from Barriloche to Osorno there were some pirated CDs or DVDs that took a while to sort out. I’ll take the luck!
And here I thought the bus ride between Puerto Varas and Bariloche was scenic! Gorgeous photos, Eileen, and I second the advice about getting dibs on the front seat upstairs with the giant window. Of course, it helps if said window isn’t covered in bug splats and giant cracks caused by errant rocks.
yes! splats and rocks and whatnot=not good! I will have to dig out some photos from a recentish crossing between Barriloche and Osorno, but I had a side window, and it was just snow, snow, snow (and pirated DVDs) the whole time, gorgeous, just not as varied. And keeping the curtain out of the pic is not always easy!
hey…were there a lot of people that drove that route? would you do it? thanks!
well, I don’t drive, so I wouldn’t do it. Also, driving from Chile to Argentina you have to buy insurance at the border which costs about 17,000 CLP. You spend somewhat less time at customs if there aren’t alot of cars there (2 different lines). The drive is tough, I think it’s best split between two people who really trust each other’s driving. Let me know if you do it!