Friday, March 21, 2008

Mendoza and Puente del Inca

After Salta Mara and I headed south to Mendoza. The main industry in Mendoza is wine and tourism so it was a bit different from Salta that was not so heavily reliant on tourism. 20 hour bus ride and multiple horrible hollywood flops dubbed over in spanish later I was in Mendoza. Mendoza is a decent sized city with wide streets and many public open spaces. There was an earthquake about 20 years ago that destroyed much of the city so a lot of the architecture is new. Even so on the first day I went to thermal springs about an hour outside of Mendoza. The scene was quite breath taking because the springs were built on the side of a mountain that was part of the Andes. The water and thermal springs were not quite as amazing but still the view made the massive trip out there worth it.

On the second night we switched hostels to one closer to town, it was great. We immediately found a great group of people and knew almost everyone there. A few people from our hostel in Salta were also staying at our place in Mendoza which was fun.

On the third day we decided to do some wine tasting...when in rome right? We took a bus out to the wine reigon beautifully named Maipu {pronounced my poo}, rented some bikes, grabbed a map and we were on our way. The gig is that you ride your bikes to whichever winery tickles your fancy. Mara and I made it to two bodegas, an olive oil factory and also a chocolate liquor place. We both decided that Vistandes would be the locationof our destination weddings check it out! At any rate we had a great day biking around and taking it all in nice sunny day, beautiful wine country with the Andes as the back drop and of course the bodegas. That evening we went out with a few people from our hostel to the main bar area in town as well as to a reggae bar with some great live music.

We spent the next day exploring the towns squares and markets. Another beautiful day hanging out in Mendoza. I am not sure I would rush back but it was pretty cool all the same.

Early on Sunday morning Mara, myself and our new friend Andy headed up into the Andes into a small town called Puente del Inca. The town itself was literally ten buildings in a valley between the massive Andes mountain range. I am pretty sure the town exists for two reasons: there is an ancient land bridge that the Inca's used to go to thermal springs and it is about 4 kilometers from the hike out point of the world's tallest mountain outside the Himalayas. The town was great though one small general store,a hostel, a hotel and some toursity stores. We walked around on our first evening there and found the bus from "Into the Wild" as well as saw one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen.

The next day we had decided to try and stay at the basecamp but that ended up not working otu after a lot of effort and time. We ended up doing the lame loop at the bottom near the ranger station [woot to us hiking!!!!] and then heading back to the hostel. We were bummed that we couldn't stay at base camp but when we heard winds would hit 100 mph we quickly changed our minds. We spent the night instead back at our hostel with new friends, some wine and pasta. It was a great night totally enjoyed by all. We also were able to go to some of the thermal springs on the other side of the Inca bridge which were so lovely. We sat watching the clouds roll into our valley slowly covering up the bright stars that we had been admiring and headed to bed.

Here is a link about Aconagua....


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