It has been a great journey so far. It was nice to catch up with my dear friends Peter and Bob in Sydney on my stop-over in Sydney. Rydges Hotel at Sydney International Airport was a good move. Beautifully quiet and so convenient for a stop-over. Nice breakfast too before I set out for the long haul to Montevideo.
The first bit of good news was getting exit seats on the LAN Dreamliner from Sydney to Santiago, Chile. The seats are a little narrow but as I haven't got a wide arse that didn't matter so much. It's the leg room that makes all the difference.
The next thing was, we pulled away at precisely 11:30 am as scheduled. Talk about Swiss timing.
The staff on the ground for LAN were great. Very friendly and accommodating. Same in the air with the cabin crew. They get a lot of bad reviews on various websites but considering I was only in economy I thought they stood up to the best of them. The Dreamliner provided an ultra smooth ride. There was barely any turbulence too. The only downside to flying LAN from Sydney all the way to Montevideo is the fact you must land in Auckland. It adds hours onto your travelling time. Anyway who would want to land in New Zealand??? It full of frickin' kiwis. And never one to resist a cliche I turned out the lights before we left.
Everything went smoothly in Santiago. They have a dedicated transit section so you don't have to enter Chile and pay their $US100 reciprocity fee. They were equally efficient to us when it came to security and so forth. I should mention my landing coming in to Santiago. At one stage I looked out the window and there were the Andes covered in snow. A truly remarkable sight.
The last leg, two hours ten minutes from Santiago to Montevideo was a big change from the Dreamliner. Just a rattling 320 Airbus. Everything goes quiet for the ascent over the Andes but we managed to get across okay.
Montevideo was a smooth entry. It's a small airport not unlike Santiago and we went through formalities without a hitch. And blow me down, my luggage arrived direct from Sydney! The man and car I had pre-booked were waiting for me and it was a very pleasant ride into the old city, some thirty five minutes. There is only a small section close to the airport where it is industrial. The rest of the ride was through quite expensive looking housing.
Montevideo itself is beautiful. Nice parks, gardens, colonial buildings and the Old City is magnificent. I plan to see a lot of it today. They even have a sandy beach. Only downside so far is a little too much graffiti for my liking. But then I have a thing about graffiti.
More to follow.