Another early morning hotel departure to reach Puerto Montt bus station and it was still raining. Even the most beautiful cities in the world look dowdy in wet weather and this town is certainly no showstopper, so the day started with low expectations of us finding its sweet spot.
No surprises at the bus station as we’d already seen enough in Chile to feel well prepared. We knew we could buy our tickets at the depot just prior to traveling and as we had no arrival time constraints we were happy to take our chances that morning.
Once boarded, we were well set up in our front row seats with enough water, snacks and reading material to see us through the 3+ hour journey south, through the Chilean countryside, and across the water by barge to the island of Chiloe.
Before setting off, our little transit group was treated to a serenade by a travelling busker. Performers get on and off the trains and buses enroute, and we and other passengers were very happy to hand over some pesos for our entertainment and amusement.
With our driver at the wheel and his co-pilot alongside, we motored out of the bus station through the blanket of bucketing rain.
Any minute now, we were thinking, he’ll turn on the windscreen wipers . . . . . any minute now. Hang on, why is he not turning on the wipers?
One time when the driver stopped to collect passengers he wiped a soapy broom over the windscreen and another time he threw what appeared to be rock salt at the screen. Neither of which made any difference at all and in fact restricted vision even further.
Funny how we joked about the glamour of travel as we were hurtling along the dual carriage highway at speeds sometimes exceeding 100kph.
Happy to report we arrived at the vehicle barge intact and by the time we made the brief channel crossing the rain was diminishing. Which was just as well because the roads were markedly more rustic than had been on the mainland.
Around an hour and a few stops later we finally pulled in to Castro bus terminal.
Grabbing our luggage we three stuck close together, carefully maneuvering through the crowds out to the street and to a line of grotty black cars with dodgy looking drivers touting for our fare.
We took a deep breath and jumped in the first cab in the rank, and with Sarah sitting up front applying her Spanish magic, the driver delivered us safely to our Airbnb home, where we were so very warmly welcomed by our lovely host Violeta.
This cozy little cottage on stilts over the water was the perfect starting point to our 3 weeks traveling together in South America.
Good times awaited us, yet at the time we had no idea quite how adventurous our journey would become.