A TRAVEL DAY
So you must all think that I have the best life traipsing around the world for months at a time...well its not all lazing on beaches and drinking beer (unfortunately). Travel days can be long and tiring and what follows is just one the many bus journeys that I have taken over these past 8 months.
The journey started in Ushuaia in Argentina, the most southern major city in the world. From here I spent 20 hours reaching my destination of El Calafate, still in Argentina and 550km away as the crow flies but I had to journey through Chile to get there!
So my day started at 4.15am when my alarm rang in my ear from under my pillow and by 4.30am I was dressed and out the door arriving at the bus station on foot by 4.40am and by 4.48am we were moving as we had all our passengers. The first part of our journey was for 3 hours to the town of Rio Grande, the first 1.5 hours of this journey being in darkness (and the most picturesque and it also happened to me on the way there too!). Once in Rio Grande we had to change buses. Arrived around 8am here and didn't leave until around 9am in which time a bird had the audacity to do his business on my recently cleaned coat - typical. Once on the bus we drive for about 1.5 hours and arrive at the Argentinean immigration stop. Passports are stamped and we get back on the bus only to get straight back off to get our luggage and have it x-rayed. Back on the bus and we travel for about 15 minutes where we have now arrived at Chile immigration. Passports stamped and then hand luggage x-rayed and back on bus. It's now 11.30am and we drive until 2pm!! A film was shown during this time 'Legends' with Nicholas Cage and a big score as it is shown in English! Slept through a bit of it but as the temperature on the bus is about 30 - 35 degrees, while outside it sits around 5!!! I have stripped off as many clothes as possible without it being indecent!!
We board the vehicle ferry to get back to the mainland. My visit to Ushauia, on the island Tierra del Fuego, is like traveling on mainland Australia and ducking over to Tassie for a few days except in this case the vehicle ferry only takes about 20mins (give or take) crossing over the Strait of Magellan.
I am listening to my iPod when lunch is served, a ham n cheese sandwich and a cup of fizzy. Have already eaten my cream cheese, rice cakes and ham, a banana and a muesli bar (but that's for the whole day!). As on most days here it is windy and the barge is rocking, I don't like it one bit but it will soon be over!
Still have a few more hours until we reach Rio Gallegos and we still have to stop and get stamped back into Argentina!! Once in Rio Gallegos I have to hope there is a connecting bus to my final destination for the day. I'm pretty sure there will be but being winter you just never know how a bus timetable is going to run.
3.10pm and getting stamped out of Chile...now to head back into Argentina!
3.50pm and all border formalities done!!! Now to get to Rio Gallegos!!! No hurry as I think there is a bus at 8.30pm but I don't yet have a ticket!!!
5pm and I have arrived in Rio Gallegos. Ticket bought for El Calafate, the bus does leave at 8.30pm (nothing earlier) getting in around 4 hours later.
So that's my day so far, 12 hours of travel down and it's only just 2/3 of the way there!!!!
Got through the 3.5 hour wait by finishing my book and browsing through FB...got a second wind actually as I had been feeling absolutely shattered having only slept 3-4 hours the night before. Back on the bus at 8.30pm and then about 10-15 minutes into our journey we are stopped at a police check point where they board and check our identifications against the manifest. A movie in English is shown....yay. Then I listen to my iPod. I must of feel asleep as one moment it was 10.30pm and then I looked up and we had stopped and we were in El Calafate and its 1am!! Police get on and check our identifications against the manifest again....not sure why, maybe they think the bus drivers are going to throw people off on the way!!!
All the taxis at the bus station are full so I get my bearings and walk to hostel as it is less than 5 minutes away. Arrive here and the central heating is so bloody hot....I just want to sleep in a cold room!!!! I shower and fall into bed totally exhausted but the next day I am rewarded for my efforts as I wake up to a beautiful blue day, lakes and snow capped mountains!!! (only for it to snow like no tomorrow the following day!!!!)
So that's a travel day for me!!! Hope it didn't bore you all too much with the details……………………..