Tuesday, February 10, 2009

9 Feb – Mendoza, Argentina

Today might well be the highlight of the whole ride for many – riding over the 4,000 metre Andes and the spectacular switchback road on the Chilean side. It's a busy road because it is the primary crossing between the two countries with end to end 18 wheelers and tour buses plus streams of cars. For all its height it was not cold at the top. We took a side trip at the top to visit a monument, Christo the Redentor de Los Andes, a Catholic must see. The road up was steep as hell and dirt. My trail bike got up OK but the determined Catholics were taking their cars up.

Crossing into Argentina was no problem save for the language thing. We filled out all the forms the best we could given we could not read the questions. Once out of the mountains the ride was slightly boring, not helped by the down pour that soaked us through. As you approach Mendoza you pass through endless fields of grape vines – this area is famous for its wine.

We sampled some last night along with the local beer at a BBQ put on by the daughter of Graciela, an Argentinian woman with our small group. It was a thoroughly enjoyable night and we arrived back at our hostel at 2 am. We spend 2 nights here as we wait for the group behind us to catch up.

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