Ruta Nacional 40 - the beauty of emptiness
track 38 - Estancia Santa Thelma to El Calafate, Argentina
Guess every country has it's own famous route, that you 'Must Have' driven.
In Argentina that is Ruta National 40.
It starts in the North, at the Bolivian border, all the way down deep south Tierra del Fuego.
Some people ask; isn't it boring to drive through just flat landscape? Well, to quote my favourite song*:
'Don't you dare close your eyes, there are hundred thousand things to see'.
Day in key statistics
388 km: distance covered, a major part of the road on the famous RN40.
3.30 hours: time in motion
We left leisurely late at 10.10 o’clock
Highlights of the day
Driving - what a joy to just drive - what brilliant car our Panda is! (Nissan Patrol).
The beauty of Emptiness - just drive, and taking in the changing clouds, looking at the horizon and enjoy the tunes on the I-pod.
Don't be deceived - emptiness is not that empty. Prove of that - frequently we spot 'road kill' on our way, and see animals like rabbits, Guanacos and 'Road Runners e.g. ostriches' on the roadsides.
Sushi! At walking distance of our hotel in El Calafate!
Fun Facts - Plazas and Roundabout Art
No village or town in South America seems to complete without a square called 'Plaza de Armas'; translated: The Weapons Square. You don't know to find your way to the centre? Ask for 'Plaza de Armas', and in 98% of the times it's a can't miss. As in Latin America are mostly built in a square grid, you get an explanation like - two blocks down, and three blocks up. What roughly would mean a 500 meters walk, as most 'blocks' equal about a hundred meter each.
Even without Waze or any sense of direction, when you can count till ten, you can find your easily find your way around. If it is more then 10 blocks? Don't bother with counting, finding a bus or taxi might be your next concern.
Anyways, the small town of Gobernador Gregores, to our shock - does Not have a Plaza de Armas. Maybe that was why we managed to get lost finding our way to the petrol station. At early morning, one way only streets can be a pain to navigate.
Fortunately, Gobernador Gregores does have the other 'Must Have' for a town - Roundabout Art!