Ok. To sum it up: we where in Chile – our luggage in Argentina …. But let’s start from the beginning:

Wednesday, 31.10.2012 – we get up at 4am to catch our 5am BUS (there were no real flight options – other than via Buenos Aires or Santiago de Chile). This should be a “nice” bus ride for about 12 hours to Punta Arenas / Chile.
Everything started fine. The appartment I booked was like 300m from the bus station – and everything went well in the beginning.
Then, we had to change buses in “Rio Grande” (didn’t know that upfront. We exited the bus – and carried our luggage to the other bus that was standing there (If I remember correctly only two). My spanish is still not where I want it to be – but I’m quite sure I can’t make many mistakes in asking “a Punta Arenas?” – and the guy handeling the luggage told me “Si! Punta Arenas” … We then had to go into the building/office for some forms and showing the passports – and when we came out there were two buses there (again) – and we took the one who had “Punta arenas” in the windshield……

We had a nice time —- until we arrived at the border – and everyone was getting their luggage to go through customs… Big surprise: ours wasn’t there 🙂
Apparently we put it into the other bus to Rio Gallegos (Argentina) – and while we were in the office – our bus from Ushuaia left – and another one (now the one for Punta arenas) arrived… Anyways – we were a bit mad at the guy who told me “this is the bus to punta arenas” – but in the end it is more our fault than anyone’s else 🙂

In the end it’s just clothes which can be bought anywhere – As long as I have my laptop/credit cards/passport with me all the time I’m fine 🙂 (yes, that order!)

We were trying to call the company, but the reception was really bad (no signal all the time in the middle of nowhere – what a surprise). Also Ana tried to help us from Buenos Aires (were able to send an SMS any other time).
At the ferry to cross the Strait of Magellan, Jens saw that the other bus is just in front of us! We talked to the driver and he said he would put it in the office at Rio Gallegos. We couldn’t “get” our luggage, as the other bus was going from argentina, via chile, to argentina, and the baggage compartment was seald by customs…

They offered us to deliver the luggage to Punta arenas the following day (with a different company) – but we decided to rather get the luggage ourselfs in Rio Gallegos as the other option would have meant we loose one day (the luggage would only arrive in the afternoon in Punta Arenas – and at that time we wanted to be in “Torres del Paine”. So we thought no problem – we have a car – couple of hours extra drive…

after the ferry, we saw the other bus turn right – and we waived at our luggage 🙂

at like 5pm we arrived in Punta Arenas – and after checking in to the hotel we went to ALAMO where we (well, I) booked the car. It was a bit of a surprise that when we arrived they told us that the reservation was for THIS morning, and not the morning next day… Then I realized I forgot to change the booking … ups… Well, the bus from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas is only available on Mondays and Wednesdays. I didn’t know that and booked everything before having the bus ticket… I changed all the hotel bookings after I got the bus ticket – but apparently forgot about the car… And they told us they have no more cars available…..

After some discussions the lady called another “agency” and they had a 4WD pick-up available (and a 4WD / 4×4) was REALLY necessary!). It was a shop that sells auto and motorcycle accessories but also rents a couple of cars.
We were sooooo happy when we arrived there, the car was there, the lady (Monica) was really helpful… but the next problem was just around the corner 🙂

We need a special permit to cross the border to Argentina with a rental car (as later we wanted to go to El Calafate we needed that anyways). That we knew upfront. What we didn’t know was that the office to get that was already closed (already close to 7pm) – AND! that Thursday and Friday were bank holidays in Chile (if I got that correctly) – Anyways the earliest day to get that permit was Saturday (it was still Wednesday!). That would have screwed up everything, as my flight was booked for the 8th…
But Monica said there is “another” permit  – which we still might be able to get (like 10 minutes left). Together we went to that office (door was already closed – but still people in there) – she talked to someone and we got in (I assume she knows the right people 🙂 ) – and finally got that permit.


From there on – no further problem … we went the next day to Rio Gallegos – arrived at 11:59 at the office (lunch break at 12:00) – got our luggage and drove to Torres del Paine.

A nice story 🙂

Map with direction:

pictures from the bus (including the bus-driver of the “other” bus 🙂 ) – the ferry (where we still were close to our luggage!)  – The drive to Rio Gallegos and a pic when we finally got our luggage back 🙂