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November 9th 2009
Published: November 13th 2009
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Having given up on climbing Volcan Villarica we headed to Mendoza for some vineyards, wine and bife de chorizo. This meant another crossing of the Andes which true to form didn't disappoint. The weather was typical of the mountains - as we climbed higher the snow got heavier but the sun also sometimes came out, beautiful. Then once more we'd be in mist and cloud, all four seasons in a day, again. This is the land of the Monkey Puzzle tree, there are thousands of them in the parque nacional the road passes through. They really are strange. On the Argentinian side we had to stop in Junin de Los Andes to change bus which meant an overnight stay. Unless you're a trout fisherman there's not much there but it's a nice enough town for a night, better than ending up in Nuequen bus station in the middle of the night which was the other option.
To get to Mendoza needs two buses, the first one to Cipolletti and from there to Mendoza. After the first bus left Junin the conductor (I'm sure this isn't the right title) came up to tell us the was a paro (strike / blockade) just
Chile / Argentian BorderChile / Argentian BorderChile / Argentian Border

Monkey puzzle trees and somewhere in the mist Volcan Lanin.
outside one of the towns en route and that he had no idea how long we would be delayed - after our experience in Peru we though “ghod fur domme not again”. Fortunately the authorities in Argentina are much better than those in Peru, the police were on hand and the delay was just a matter of fifteen or twenty minutes.
The hostel we chose in Mendoza gets very good reviews, not sure why, it's certainly not for the bathrooms which were amongst the worst we've had anywhere. When we got into our dormitory there was one other girl already there, a bit after us a Korean girl arrived - making 3 girls plus me, then two Belgian girls - putain I was going to have to sleep with five girls :-)
Next morning we went to Maipu, a wine town, to spend the day cycling around the vineyards tasting the local produce which, we decided after some serious sampling, passed the test. After our disappointment in Pucon we wanted to do something active so next day it was off into the foothills to do some white water rafting. What we hadn't fully thought through was the temperature of the
First StopFirst StopFirst Stop

Trapiche, Maipu.
water - which is snow melt so bloody freezing. That said the rafting company provides wet suits so although it was still chilly we had a fantastic time.
Our plan between Mendoza and Santiago was to hike to the Aconcagua base camp, but we're a couple of weeks too early in the season, so it's straight to Santiago now.

Additional photos below
Photos: 6, Displayed: 6



Barrels at Trapiche.
Quite A SettingQuite A Setting
Quite A Setting

Vineyard in Maipu with the Andes as the backdrop.
The Wine RouteThe Wine Route
The Wine Route

Main road along the wine route in Maipu.

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