Snowy Peaks, Sunny Vineyards and Steamy Pools!
24.06.2009 - 29.06.2009 16 °C
Mendoza has proved to be a beautiful relaxing town. Located close to the Andes, it`s slow pace and constant sunshine made it most welcoming.
We arrived off the night bus to a Hostel shuttle that brought us right to the door. Easy! The hostel was great and helped us organize the many things to do around Mendoza.
The day of arrival was spènt walking around and getting acquainted. We had lunch at a nice little cafe and then made our way to the independent square. A lovely place to relax and lay our heads down in the grass. That was until I was awoken to Sebastian yelling at me to run. The sprinklers had turned on and we were about to get soaked. We weren`t the only ones, so it was pretty funny to see everyone jolting. haha
That evening the hostel had organized and all you can eat pizza party, just what we needed after a long day.
The next morning we decided to rent a car and make our way up in to the Andes, through Cacheuta (where the thermal pools are), Upsallata, and finally to Punta del Inca. The scenery on the way up was absolutely spectacular. That, and a bit strange to us as well. Desert landscape, red rock, with snow capped Andes as a backdrop. What a sight to see, a combination of the Canadian rockies, and the Arizona desert! But it made for great pictures which hopefully we`ll get up soon! So about a 2 hour drive along the cliffs got us to our destination. We made our way to the Aconcagua national park. Anconcagua, located in the Andes, is the tallest peak in all of the Americas at 6959m high.
Unfortunately the higher we drove, the cloudier it got, so we didn`t get to see the peak, but we were crossing our fingers that our bus ride into Chile a few days later would grant us the view. So we drove back down to Punta Del Inca which is a natural red rock bridge used previously as an entrance to the hot thermal water, but apparently erosion has caused them to shut it down. It a was beautiful sight nonetheless, red rock covered in white snow.
We drove back in hopes of stopping at the thermal pools in cacheuta, but I guess our orientation skills still need some work. We somehow completely missed cacheuta and ended back in the city of Mendoza. We didn`t have time to turn around and go back so we decided to get some food at the local grocery store and Sebastian cooked up a storm. ummm we then headed to bed for a good night sleep in order to get up for our early morning start.
Our wine bike tour took us on an exploration of the vineyards and beautiful landscape of Mendoza. A great way to spend a sunny day! We drove around the vineyards, and stopped at 3 wineries along the way. Learning about each wine and how it`s made, the age, the taste, the amount of time it ferments or spends in oak barrels, even the different kinds of grapes used. And of course, we learned the proper way to taste the wine, by smelling, checking it`s clarity and the swishing in your mouth. Sante! Among the wineries, we also stopped at an olive oil factory, which I was surprised to find that i really enjoyed. Our tour ended at a chocolate and liquor factory. My favourite! Delicious all around, so i bought a little souvenir..that will no doubt last more than a few days. hehe That evening was spent at an all you can eat BBQ where we met a nice American couple and some other strange-rs.
The next day, was spent around the town, getting our bus organized for Santiago de Chile, and then touring the large General San Martin Park. Since it was too late to rent bikes, the city bus was our only option. The English agent said it would take us directly to the Cerro lookout, but we soon figured out that the bus we were on was going everywhere but. SO we ended up getting a quick tour of perhaps ¨hidden¨ Mendoza, and then landed back in the plaza independcia. An unplanned yet intersting tour. haha. We headed back to the hostel, got our laundry and then went out for the cheapest and most delicious pasta! A place called 3-90 serves 20 kinds of pasta, with 40 kinds of sauce! Yummy! Along with wine, beer and desert..the whole thing cost a whopping $10 each. What could be better? Cheers to Argentina, as we were off to Chile the following day....or so we thought.
We got up bright and early to catch our 7:30 bus and make our way to the border. After the 2 hour drive and stopping at the gendamaria, they told us the weather was too bad and we would have to go all the way back to Mendoza. Great, not it the plan, but it didn`t end up so bad afterall. We took advantage of the afternoon we had left and spent the day at the thermal pools we had missed previously. Fine by me, a relaxing day, in hot water with beautiful scenery! Then we decided we would go back to our new favourite pasta place and enjoy different dishes.
So we are up bright and early again, they told us our tickets to Chile were good for the next day, but now we have to wait 2 hours to find out if we can cross. It is testing our patients, but hopefully the result will be positive! Wish us luck!