From Esquel I wanted to go across Chile again through Palena but it wasn’t possible for some reason. As one guy at the ticket office put it, the bus simply didn’t go there. Full stop. Ok, thank you very much. And now what? I asked about 10 people from 10 different transport companies and I finally found an alternative passage via La Balsa stopping one night in Futaleufú, Chile. I had to wait about 5 hours at the bus station but fortunately they had a travel agency there so I was able to book a flight from Ushuaya to Buenos Aires leaving in about a week time. Once reached Futaleufú I ended up in a hostel with Patrick and Claudia, a couple from Zurich with whom I was also sharing part of my itinerary, and Patricia from Lisbon. The day after we took the 6am mini-bus to Villa Santa Lucia and we got there in about two hours. We were left in front of another mini-bus but the driver was going to come back from another service sometimes in the afternoon. Ole’! And now what? We were all facing the same problems along this route: lack of cash machines and random public transports. We tried with some hitchhiking but no one had room available for 3 people plus luggage. So we waited along the road playing with an hyperactive dog, with loving horses, photographing cars and trucks and having coffees at a lady’s house which also functioned as the only café in town at the time. Finally our bus driver came back so we could travel a bit further, up to La Junta. Not much but I was getting closer. I wanted to see the national park of Torres del Paine (Chile) and glacier Perito Moreno (Argentina) before catching or missing my flight from Ushuaya. We got there in a couple of hours. There was supposed to be a cash machine at the petrol station but guess…it didn’t work! I had no pesos left and I thought “and now what?” Fortunately I had some dollars left somewhere in my bag and I bought some swiss chocolate (Patrick and Claudia were happy) with 2 bills of 20 and got change in pesos. So now, in order, my priorities in life are: oxygen, water, food, dollars and love. The day after I said goodbye to Patrick and Claudia and got to Coyhaique from where I had heard you could get better connections to southern Chile. I got a 24-hour bus which crossed over to Argentina, went all the way down to Rio Gallegos then passed the border with Chile again to Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales. I really wished I had more time to spend on the Carretera Austral though. I liked the slow paced atmosphere of the villages and their people, the gravel roads and the stunning sceneries around. It’s probably because of the limits of infrastructures and transport services that makes traveling on this road so much fun.

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