Junin to Osorno

I was away early. At the terminal there was nonsense over the need of a local bus card, which a friendly local woman helped me to get around. A bus was leaving for Pucon but I wasn’t tempted: doing the dollar run to Osorno instead would be at least two hundred kilometres shorter.



The ride to San Martin impressed but the town was dead. I sat by the lakeside to think about it over a bag of yesterday’s cakes from the panadaria and decided to leave for Villa La Angostura on the next bus at 10.30. From there the Chilean border was close. Now I had seven hundred Argentine pesos left, about £35. After that, any money taken from the machines in Argentina at the official rate would cost forty per cent more than its real value. With six more weeks planned for here that couldn’t be an option.


On reaching Angostura by a beautiful route through the Siete Lagos area, I discovered that the afternoon bus to Osorno was fully booked and there would be another in the morning for five hundred pesos. In other words, a complete rip off. I made the decision to try and hitch.
Passing cars were all full of Argentine tourists and there were very few trucks, but after an hour or so one pulled up, a Brazilian from Uruguaiana. He was going right through to Osorno en route to Santiago. I had lucked out.


The wagon struggled up the hill through to the watershed but more so going down the other side, as the brakes burned up and he worked down through the box to keep us at a safe speed with a heavy load on. It took over an hour to get him through Chilean immigration, then I had to go back a second time for the last two stamps.
The Chilean side was more fertile coming off the mountains and eventually flat. There were huge green fields with the odd big tree, which reminded me of the south of England. Darkness was falling and I checked the Get South book to find a hostel in Osorno as we rolled into town, but the driver said that he had cooking gear and asked if I wanted to eat. He parked at a gas stop and we went looking for a few extra ingredients. It was a bit of a neighbourhood and we were getting looks as well as quizzical reactions to our strange accents, but the  overall position was good: I’d made it to Chile.


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