Our wakeup call was at 6:30 because a tour bus was picking us up that morning at our hotel to take us on a tour of the Andes. As part of the hotel package we selected, we got to go on a tour of the Andes and had free spa treatments for the next day. (More to follow on that experience!) We didn't know any details about our trip other than it was marketed as a "mountain excursion" and that they would pick us up. After getting on the bus, we met our tour guide, "Ese." He was a character. Very funny and a good tour guide. Most of our group spoke Spanish, but he translated pretty much everything into English for us. The tour took us right into the heart of the Andes. It ended up being a twelve hour tour! It was a very long day, but we were definitely glad we did it.
The bus followed highway 7 through the mountains, and it is the main road to get to Chile. It follows an old railroad, which used to be the only way to travel across the mountains, but it has since been abandoned. Along the way we made frequent stops to take pictures and enjoy the beautiful scenery. We were able to view Acon Mountain, which is the hightest point in the Americas. Apparantly, the clouds often block the view. We also got to get out a few times to hike a little. One of the coolest places we stopeed at was at the site of a natural bridge next to an old hot springs hotel. the hotel had actually been ruined in an earthquake, but a nearby church and the hot spring bathhouse and been untouched.
The minerals in the water have discolored the nearby rocks and bathhouse, which are now various shades of orange and yellow. It was really cool. Towards the end of the morning we began to take a dirt road with no guard rails to the top of a mountain that borders with Chile. I was pretty nervous when we went around the sharp turns. Luckily, the bus driver was very experienced with the mountain curves. At the top, the view was breathtaking. But, it was cold, and we were at a very high altitude so it was difficult to breathe. After taking photos at the Chile border sign, I returned to the bus. Josh took a few more photos, and then joined me. We returned to the bottom of the mountain for lunch. It was "buffet" style, and I wasn't sure what all the choices were.
Josh and I both got the meatballs and mashed potatoes. They were actually not too bad, but it seemd like an odd meal. On our trip, we met a very nice retired Australian couple. It was fun to talk to them throughout the day. After lunch, we began the long drive back to Mendoza
. We slept through a large part of it. Later that evening we had dinner at "Azafran," which had been recommended by the local girl we had talked to the day before. We both enjoyed our meals. The presentation of the food was beautiful. I had a glass of "Altavista Malbec Premium," which was very good. I enjoyed all of the wine I had on our trip! We learned later that Azafran is pretty well known and considered one of the best places to eat in Mendoza. Again, we were shocked at how affordable it was compared to the U.S.
Mendoza Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
We really enjoyed Azafran. The presentation of the food was unique and fun. The food is served in courses, which we thought was fun! They have one … read entire review