Feb 11, Ensenada, Chile to San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina

Hit the road at 10. Lots of cows (and calves!) grazing on the way out of town. We skipped breakfast at the place we were staying and got empanadas in Osorno, and booked it to the border crossing.

Pretty much all the older growth in the forest up to the crossing from Chile was killed in one of the ash eruptions in the last five years.

The crossing itself was mostly three tedious hours of standing in line on the Argentinian side…

From there the route to SC de Bariloche is Ruta 40 around the other side of Lago Nahuel Huapi, another pretty drive. We’re staying at the cabañas from before, and Horacio roasted a lamb “on the cross” (a rack over a large fire) for dinner! Magnificent.

More random observations… The graffiti is either super-simple one-line lettering, or ornate colorful murals. Meat empanadas usually have a boiled egg and a whole olive in them. Chile has a lot of infrastructure improvements* in progress, and they’re notes by big billboards showing the projected finish date and cost and a catchy slogan like “Chileans all working together”. We’ve seen some beautiful old train steam engines just hanging out in the front yard of farmhouses. There are public buses on pretty much every road we’ve driven down. Lots of motorcycle tourism, and a lot more cyclists with full touring gear than I expected too. Seen some buskers at stop lights, all have been jugglers save for two guys dressed like gauchos dancing in Osorno. The Spanish equivalent of “when in Rome, do as the Romans” is “donde fuera, haga lo que vieras”.

* “improve” is a judgement call for the locals: there’s a fair amount of resistance to the project to build a bridge to Chiloé, for example.

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