Christo, Victoria and Fernando

25 03 2010

Gracias Victoria y Fernando for a perfect day!

After having walked down from Camp Confluencia we wanted to do a  tourist day: visit Christo el Retendor, the puente del Incas and somehow get back to our International Hostel Uspallata some 120km away.

So we started hiking on the border of the ruta internacional #7 and noticed that none of the heavy trucks would stop to give us stinky hikers a lift. But only half an hour after sweating in the hot midday sun a small blue Peugeot passed first – to stop after some hundred meters. Victoria and Fernando, an argentinean couple made us a big present: a perfect day with a lift back home. The two had planned the same program we had had in mind and they just invited us to go everywhere with them.

Thanks again for a wonderful day! And for bringing us home to the hostel.

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Camp Confluencia – the gateway to Aconcagua

24 03 2010

It is one of the seven summits and the highest mountain outside  the himalayan range: the Aconcagua. We decided to stop by there and visit the gateway to this famous mountain,  the Camp Confluencia at 3400m altitude.

Aconcagua - the south face seen from Campo Francia.

From Campo Francia (4100m) the spot we visited the next day you have impressive views to the technical difficult south face of Aconcagua. I added some detail shots of the seracs and icefields hanging there. It looks brutal even with clear sight. I don’t want to imagine how it is hanging in there and clouds and stormwinds howling with up to 120 miles per hour….

Okay, there is also the normal hiking path over the north face. You have to go to Campo de Mulas and then on to the Nido del Condores, the nest of the condors. But what we heard sounded more awful than inviting: up to 800 tents in the high season, loud music, crowds and overfilled loos and so on…does not really feel like a real experience of remote wilderness on a mountain.

Luckily there were only 3 more tents at the Camp Confluencia – end of the season when only trekking permits for 3 days are given out. You don’t get a permit for the summit at the end of march anymore. Which is quite a pity because the weather we had was perfect – over 20 degree C in the sun and nights with temperatures around 2 C.

The hikes are not difficult. You just walk along a trotten path in brown and grey gravel, sometimes up, sometimes just levelled. And you try not to walk to fast because you feel the altitude and you have to listen to your body to avoid AMS aka altitude sickness.

After three days in the outdoors and surrounded by stunning mountains we hiked back to the entrance of the park and to the ruta nacional #7 where we started to walk in the direction of Chile hoping that someone would give us a lift.


Mendoza – wine capital of Argentina

22 03 2010

We had half a day at Mendoza to get the permit for the Aconcagua Trekking and to check out the local winefarms. So we went to our preferred sort of vine: bubbly and got an appointment at Chandon – yes, the second half of the famous french “Moet et ….”, being the mother of this entreprise in Argentina which produces a very nice Brut and an even nicer Rosé.

Maria gave us a very nice and complete tour with the tasting at the end proving what we already had known – it is champagne even when it is not allowed to be named like that. All the other ingredients are there, high class grapes, a technial outstanding production line and the long years of ripening and bottle fermentation including the remuage  (german – das Rütteln) of the bottles by hand.

The other wine farm called Alta Vista produces the usual range of Malbec, CabSauv and some drinkable whites and had a nice old production part with tanks made from thick concrete – an old method to keep temperatures stable.

Sorry that we can’t post any of the taste experiences we had. And, nope, the argentinean Chandon is not exported to Europe.

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