Vino & Montañas

Mendoza Travel Blog

 › entry 79 of 79 › view all entries

so this entry has a familiar start..... overnight bus ride, tired eyes, wandering a strange city looking for a place to put my things.

Well, it all worked out. I found a locker for my bag, and bed to catch up on some zzz`s.

The first few days were spent going through the familiarisation phase, getting bearings and finding good restaurants and grocery stores (geez, maybe I have been doing this too long!!). The trademark activity in Mendoza is a wine tour, and of course we took the cycling option over the air conditioned van. The vinyards are set below the andes, just outside mendoza. I`m not sure what it is with vinyards, but they always seem to be in stunning environments.

Andy, an Isreali girl and I spent the day riding from vinyard to vinyard taking tours and samples. When the wine was enough, we went to an olive grove (farm?), the whole time loving every minute of cruising the country roads. After we were suitably dehydrated from the dry air and substituting water with wine, we retired to the rental shop, only to be offered more wine. Needless to say, it was all good wine.

After a few more days deliberating back in Mendoza about the next activity, we headed off into the mountains. Opting for the cheapo transport option, we took a bus as far as we could, and walked the final 12km`s, which also turned out to be up 1500m. Optimistic on the weather (or more being cheap and unorganised) we didnt bring a tent. It turned out to be entertaining and the topic of conversation for our fellow campers, which were all intrigued as to just how cold we were overnight.

The answer: cold.

We were in Vallecitos, a stunning high mountain valley near Potrerillos, outside Mendoza. We were camped at 3200m, and surrounded by mountains and glaciers up to 6000m high. It was dry, with streams of snow melt and mountains of scree in every direction. So amazingly beautiful.

We hiked 3 mountains, (none requiring any mountaineering equipment, but if I had it, it would have had a work out), concluding with an epic hike 1800m up to cerro Franke (4900m), which rewarded us intensely with stunning views of both the mountains adjacent us, and farmlands 4000m below us. It was one  of the best.

While we were in Vallecitos, we med a Brazilian/Spanish/Argentinean guy who told us of a mountain circa Aconcagua which was equally as stunning.

Keen to get a good glimpse of Aconcagua, we followed is hand drawn maps across rivers, up valleys, up another few thousand meters to Cerro Penitentes. Another mind blowing view from the top - this time a little different. We were surrounded by mountains in every direction, including the sentinel  Aconcagua which towered over anything nearby.

I`ve resisted foolishly trying to climb Aconcagua with my limited experience, but seeing it that close almost made me do it. Luckily, the mountain is closed to climbers for the season. I think I will get a little fitter and stronger, and return in a year or two to scale it.

So that concludes my trip to Mendoza, and quite possibly, my entire trip. Im now making the meandering trip back towards home, picking up all my belongings on the way. Today i fly to Lima, then a few days after to Los Angeles, then back to Australia. Its been an epic adventure through fun & tough times. And to whoever reads this... life is what you make it. There is so much to see, and so much to do.

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photo by: montecarlostar