After crossing the border from Argentina to Chile, we drove under cloudy skies to the blustery Pacific coast. We happily settled in to our deluxe camping in Pichilemu at Pequeño Bosque – electrical outlets, high-speed wireless internet access, hot showers, and hosts who couldn’t do enough to make us comfortable. While it was rainy the first night through to the next morning, after the sun broke through it was clear and crisp for four straight days. Mix a little website work, wonderful Chilean wine, meat on the parilla (grill) every night, thundering waves, and the great company of Tom and Kelsey, and we had a great time. For our last day we packed a gourmet picnic and basked in the sun on the cliffs looking down on the legendary surf break of Punta de Lobos.
Driving south down the Ruta del Sol (Route of the Sun) in Chile, ironically we headed back in to a grey drizzle. A rainy night camping at the side of the road helped push us back across the Andes into Argentina in search of sun. The fog began to lift but was replaced somewhat surprisingly by a fairly serious snow storm. As we headed up into the black and white landscape the snow became to fall more intensly. We were reassured by the slow but steady stream of cars passing us in the other direction with Argentinian license plates, taking this as a sign that the border was still open. While it was freezing with driving snow at the border, we did manage to cross and noted with satisfaction as we descended from the Andes the snow thinned before disappearing into sunny blue skies. We headed south down Ruta 40 to the Lakes District of Argentina.
We descended through arid high plains that slowly changed to green rolling hills. After a quick night in the hip town of Junin de los Andes we followed the “Seven Lakes Drive”to the alpine city of Bariloche. Three hours on a mix of open highway and hard packed dirt mountain roads took us through gorgeous snow capped peaks, turquoise lakes, and rustic log cabins. While we’ve never visited Banff or Aspen, we imagine Bariloche has a similar feel with its scandinavian inspired wood buildings, gourmet chocolate stores, microbreweries, and idyllic location perched on the blue waters of a wide windy lake. We’ll continue to explore the lakes district for the next week before heading south for the glaciers of southern Patagonia.