Vintage Cape Horn 2013
An epic 6,000 kilometre adventure drive from Buenos Aires to Cape Horn through Argentina and Chile.
Car Collection Day
Under the warm Argentinian sun with deep blue skies of a typical springtime day, a bus load of enthusiastic rally crews made their way from the Hotel Emperador to the customs collection depot near the bustling docksides of the River Plate. We passed manicured parks, to be greeted by striking jacaranda trees waving their purple flowers in the early-morning breeze.
Several crews had taken advantage of getting here a few days early to explore the city, sample the excellent variety of steak and Tango restaurants, and sample Argentina's way of doing things. So far everyone has been impressed.
Buenos Aires, BA to those in the know, is a huge metropolis of 17 million people. It's a city of contrasts, famed for its culture, cuisine and social life. It mixes old world European order with a certain South American panache since being settled initially by the Spanish adventurer Pedro de Mendoza in 1536. He only stayed for four years before being driven out and dying at sea on the way home but he'd sown the seed. Further expeditions came and went and the town steadily grew in size and influence.
Shipping experts Cars UK had done much of the tedious temporary import documentation prior to our arrival, so from signing in at the security desk to driving out of the customs compound with their cars cost most crews less than 30 minutes. Hugo Upton and Nigel Gambier needed a roll of tape and some scissors to attach a GPS unit more securely to their well travelled Lagonda. Veterans of two Peking to Paris they were looking forward to the challenge of the drive and finding time to do a spot of fishing. Nobody had serious issues and all the cars started up easily. After the briskly completed formalities were out of the way the newly reunited cars and drivers headed for the exit gate with an Alvis followed by a Chevy followed by a Bentley and all the others emerging onto the streets of Buenos Aires.
Driving onto the busy city streets from the depot to the hotel the full force of the city immediately hits you. The crowded freeways, the stainless steel and glass high rise buildings, and the avenues lined with Argentina's distinctive purple jacaranda trees.
Our day ended with a packed Driver's Briefing, collecting our Navigator's bags with route book and map book, we then all dined together in our first group meal, with silver service and plenty of local wine from a squad of waiters.