Mendoza and the Andes

Mendoza Travel Blog

 › entry 9 of 10 › view all entries
Buenos dias,
Back to where I left you hanging: Mendoza. After checking in together with some friends I made in Valle Fertil, I was ready for some peace 'n' quiet. The past few days had been quite tiring, so I just wanted to do nothing for a bit. But then the reception tells me that that night there will be Full Moon Rafting with a party afterwards. Hmm, sounds cool enough, so I decide to go and sleep some other night. Unfortunately, the rafting turned out to be a bit of a dud. There was a full cloud cover and the rafting turned out to be "let's drift in a rubber boot on a shallow river for about 20 minutes and then call it a day". But the worst crime of the organisation was that they didnĀ“t sell beer at the party! What the hell? So, the first shuttle back to Mendoza it was.

The next few days I took it easy. Just checked out the town and did some reading. But on monday it felt like it was time for some action again! So together with a british girl (Davina) I had met at the hostel, I took a bus to Penitentes, a tiny town in the Andes about 15 km from Aconcagua. The 3.5 hour busride was stunning as usual. The hostel was more like a climbers hut, but was very cosy. Unfortunately, the smell of raw sewage at night was bad enough to make you wake up. So it was good that we had to get up early to head out to the park for a hike in the Aconcagua national park. For the people that don't know: Aconcagua is the highest mountain outside the Himalaya and measures about 6960 m. Davina and I hiked to just beyond the first base camp at an altitude of about 3400 m. Even though the path itself was not that exciting, the ever-changing vistas and views of Aconcagua were amazing.
It was also cool to see how the climbers live in these camps and how much stuff they haul up the mountain in support of their ascent. Can you believe that we had a really nice bife de lomo right there in the camp? Apparently, the advanced base camp at 4300 m even has internet and an art gallery. Whatever. We hiked back to the park entrance, hitched a ride back to Penitentes and at night shared stories with amongst others an American guy who had just been to the summit on his own with nothing more than 1 backpack. Pretty hardcore. BTW, dad, he was about your age... ;)

Next morning, another early bus (6 am) and via Mendoza onwards to Malargue. I will show you some pics of it in the next blog and then call it quits. I'd love to hear how everybody in Holland is doing, so drop me an email/comment if you have the time.

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photo by: montecarlostar