Van Day!

Thursday morning I woke up feeling nervous. It was the day we were to pick up our van and, theoretically, start the trip that we thought we would have started a month ago.

Since deciding to take this trip we’ve learned a lot about how to ship a vehicle overseas. First we had to decide whether to do a Roll-On Roll-Off (or RORO), which means we hand over our vehicle and our keys at the dock, and then our vehicle takes a glorified ferry ride to our destination and we pick it up and hope that the person we handed our keys to didn’t call his cousins to come down and strip our vehicle of everything down to the copper wiring. Since we had hoped to load the van up with everything from camping equipment, to a spare tire, dishes, tools… we weren’t all that keen on providing the shipping company employees with complimentary access to all our worldly belongings. So, we decided against a RORO shipping option and instead chose to send our precious cargo in a 20 foot shipping container which would allow us to lock up the van and hold onto the keys until it reached Chile, presumably with all our stuff inside. A bit more expensive, but we thought it would be well worth it to arrive somewhat self-sufficient and with a few comforts from home.

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Vina del Mar

After a few days in Valparaiso, we were ready for a change of scenery and made plans to move a few miles up the road to the neighboring city of Vina del Mar. Since our boat was scheduled to arrive in a week, we were happy enough to stay nearby and explore the area a bit more. We also wanted to be close by in case we needed to take care of anything in advance – dealing with customs, meeting our shipping agent, or filing any paperwork. We don’t really know what to expect and staying close by gave us some peace of mind.

Once we checked out, our Airbnb host met us and offered us a ride to the metro station we wanted to reach. Since wandering around with our awkward luggage is anything but fun, we took him up on his kind offer and pretty soon we were on the metro making our way towards Vina del Mar. The violinist on the metro playing Christmas carols made my day :)

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Valparaiso

Landing in Santiago again, we felt like total pros. We knew exactly where to go and what to do and the bus schedule and route… what a difference a couple of weeks make. We caught the bus from the airport, arriving at the bus station where we bought tickets found our platform and boarded a bus to Valparaiso, all in about 10 minutes. Total pros :) The bus trip out to the coast was an interesting glimpse into what the rest of our trip will be like.

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