Train graveyard on the way to Buenos Aires

Train graveyard on the way to Buenos Aires

San Antonio Oeste, Argentina

The 36 Hour Bus Ride

May 1, 2008

Boredom sets into the boring mind

- Metallica

From El Calafate it is actually 40 hours by bus to Buenos Aires, but after the 4 hour bus ride from El Calafate there is a 3-4 hour layover in Rio Gallegos for the connecting bus to Buenos Aires that almost all leave at 8 or 9pm in order to arrive in the morning two days later. I really wanted to stop somewhere in between, but really the only option was Puerto Madryn. The problem was that at this time of the year, according to other travelers that had just visited, all the abundant wildlife that frequents the Valdez Peninsula had all left town for the winter, save for some penguins. Fleeing the cold weather was actually a rather good idea and one that I was also adopting in my travels north.

With this in mind I bought the ticket through to Buenos Aires. The scenery, at least what I saw during the daylight hours, was very bleak. There were vast expanses of large open plains of either grassland or scrub brush. And that was it, except for two wild ostriches and lots of cows. The only semi-interesting part was the train graveyard that we passed before stopping in San Antonio Oeste. Unluckily, the television on my level of the bus was not working so there were not even any bad movies shown for the duration of the trip. We pretty much stopped every few hours for 10-20 minutes each time at one small dumpy city after another so there weren´t any super long stretches of bus travel. By the time the sun came up on the second morning I was ready to get off the bus and was looking forward to seeing Buenos Aires as I had heard many good things about the city. Finally around 9:30am the bus arrived on Labor Day in Buenos Aires. Almost everything was closed and many of the streets were deserted, not the welcome I was expecting.