PAN AMERICAN JOURNEY PART XXV – CHILE & ARGENTINA
It took about 24 months to get to Ushuaia from Canada but upon reaching their ultimate destination after such a long time, Kamil and Zuzka were both feeling a strange concoction of emotions.
It’s come to the final count down….the last leg of our trip! From stunning mountain peaks of Torres del Pine and Fitzroy in Patagonia to the flat plains of Tierra del Fuego filled with herds of wild lamas and civilized sheep. It took us 24 months to get here from Canada and the time blew by, but luckily some memories have stuck!
Chile and Argentina share the area called Patagonia, but a border still divides the two country’s therefore we found ourselves crossing the border over and over numerous times! In Chile the “Carretera Austral” is the most popular tourist route, in Argentina the equivalent is the “Routa 40”. Both are dry and dusty roads with sharp washboards causing every single skrew in the van to wriggle and creak! But the loose bolts and the dust in our coffee cups was really, not so bad! One thing that accompanies the land all the while is the untamable wind. Ohhhhhh yeah, the wind down there is fierce! Gas consumption goes up, but if your biking, the wind just might leave you stranded on the side of the road! And it’s so bad at times that you can barely take a photo because for one, you can’t stand still and two your hair and jacket constantly keep whacking you in the face! But the land is lush, the people passionate and the Araucaria Tree (also known as the Monkey Puzzle Tree) is the most enchanting landscape ornament to gawk at, especially in contrast with solitary snowcapped volcanoes and cool turquoise lakes that are notorious of Patagonia.
Two other beautiful sites we saw in Patagonia were the bluely-white-streaked marble caves and the most popular non-receding glacier Perito Moreno. To get to the caves you had to take a boat, to the glacier a bus and a walk along a boardwalk with hundreds of other photo-hungry tourists!
We did have one thrilling event during this last episode….at one point the U-Joint in the differential of the van gave out and we ended being stranded literally in the middle of nowhere one the edge of the road….200km from the nearest town! We ended up being towed, had a local guy weld a few parts together and within a couple of days we were off again! Guess we can’t complain…..since we just parked the van on the side of the road and camped out for a few hours!
Anyway after Patagonia, came the loooong stretch to get to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world in the Land of Fire also known as “Tierra del Fuego” – our destination. At about this time we started selling our Van…..how sad! But an awesome couple from Belgium bought it so we knew the van was going to a good home! So we did all the paperwork in Ushuaia, took our final photos of the van and had a hellish party and a hellish hangover!
And now were are back to facing reality, but this time with a slightly different outlook. Life’s to short to not do the things we love, and this 2 year trip was an eye opener in many ways. It gave us enough time to think about life, not just about ourselves but life in general. It’s not about running away from priorities, it’s a way to get away from the rat-race cycle of modern society and enjoy the simple things in life without feeling the pressure of a ticking clock and the guilt of taking the less traveled path.
So who knows, maybe it will be you next who’ll be driving down a dusty ol’ road…