South America Part X - Heading Home

Photo #1 shows Sander and Jane aboard the aft end of the ferry boat with Volcan Osorno in the background. Photo #2 is of Ron and Donna.

After each of us had made our separate bus arrangements for Sunday, we had all of Saturday to play around Bariloche. We decided to take the nearby cable car to the top of Cerro Otto to have a look around the area…as if we had not already had enough cold and snow? The top afforded a great look albeit cloud-covered. Photo #3 shows Jane and Donna atop Cerro Otto.

The rest of the afternoon we spent shopping for chocolates and T shirts. I know some chocoholics who would go crazy in this town. You could always get a sample of any of the specialty chocolates that you were curious about. That was tempting but none of us wanted to ruin our appetites for the big steak dinner we had planned. Each time we had a steak dinner, we always felt that it was better than the last.

Donna and Ron headed on back to Chile on Sunday morning and we pointed our noses to the north and to Satori. If any of you have been following a map to see some of the places we traveled, you will know that by this time we were very far south in Argentina. Because the return trip was over already covered territory, we decided to take several overnight buses to get to Salta as quickly as possible. From there we wanted to go west and end up at Arequipa, Peru and eventually Nazca, Peru.

The Lonely Planet guide for Argentina told us that there were a couple of buses making the run east from Salta across the salas to San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. This was a trip that we had hoped to make from Bolivia but changed our minds with the altitude problems. The Atacama Desert covers a vast territory with parts in Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. It is a wild and beautiful area but one that you would definitely not want to be stranded in.

Upon our arrival in Salta we checked out the bus schedules and were dismayed to find out that our plans were foiled again. The several buses that used to go San Pedro had narrowed down to just one and that one left only on Tuesdays. We discovered this on a Wednesday. The bus agent was very sympathetic to our plight and suggested that we might hire a private car. We could check out the possibility in town. It sounded terribly expensive but we would need to investigate, for sure.

It turned out that there were a couple of fellows in town who do a regular run from Salta across the desert to the border and then a couple of other fellows from San Pedro who take care of the Chilean part of the trip. They told us later that the cars they use get beat up and then they sell them to the Bolivians. We could believe it after that trip!

The cost of the trip was about $65/each which did not seem too bad for a private vehicle and a full day’s trip. OK, now we were all set for a trip on Friday and could relax for the next day.

That night we went to a restaurant that we had missed on our first stay in town. The service was so perfect, the steaks were so tender, the wine was so exquisite that we decided to go back on Thursday night as well. In fact we sat at the same table, had the same waiter and ordered the same meal. The waiter laughed when we told him that it was our last night in Argentina and we figured that we could never improve on perfection. He was so good that he remembered everything we had ordered from the night before and just how we liked to have it cooked.