The international asado

26 03 2010

After our sightseeing tour we had a perfect easy day at the very nice International Hostel Uspallata where the usual-unusual crowd of backpackers  were hanging around. Besides the interesting places and landscapes you encounter while travelling you also dive into a mixture of people of countries from all over  the world with totally different backgrounds (students, ex-formula 1 engineers, ex-hedgefund brokers from London, artists, dive instructors from Israel ….).  What they have in common is their motivation to see parts of this planet, do strange stuff in remote places and to carry a netbook with them which they intensively use in all likely and unlikely spots like hostel lounges, toilets, bus stations, supermarkets, coffee shops and airports – thanks to WiFi.

How could you plan from day to day and book flights, buses and overnight stays the day before you decide to do it before the age of IT and bits and bytes? I don’t know. I guess you had to make a plan, book everything in advance and stick to the schedule. Now you are as free as a bird and can decide in a flick of your eyelid where to travel, where to stay and what to check out. And stay connected to your facebook crowd and tell the world what you are doing. I love the time we are living in….

Sorry for the detour. So in short another perfect day in the middle of nowhere – almost nowhere.

The International hostel is situated some miles outside Uspallata (which isn’t a big city either) and the manager Christian and his crew are the most polite, relaxed and helpful guys we met so far.

We had  a nice mountainbike trip of 40k to the seven coloured rocks about which Charles Darwin said:

We crossed the Uspallata range, and at night slept at the custom−house−−the only inhabited spot on the plain. Shortly before leaving the mountains, there was a very extraordinary view; red, purple, green, and quite white sedimentary rocks, alternating with black lavas, were broken up and thrown into all kinds of disorder by masses of porphyry of every shade of colour, from dark brown to the brightest lilac. It was the first view I ever saw, which really resembled those pretty sections which geologists make of the inside of the earth

We biked on to  the stone engravings of Cerro Tunduqueral (by the way  there are not so many more attractions around). We skipped rappelling, horse riding and river rafting.

Highlight and wonderful ending of the day was a big asado at the hostel with a combined wine tasting a la Christian: Everybody buys some wine (or let Christian do the job for you in a given price range), then you drink one bottle after the other with more or less expert comments on the quality, taste, colour etc etc on the wine. Much more fun (and much more alcohol intake) than a “real” wine tasting. In between you eat tons of great meat which is carried in from the asado (barbecue) every 15 minutes and after this smorgasboard you get a desert Uspallata style: Pückler icecream with Malbec red wine. Yummy.

We slept perfectly this night dreaming already from our trip to Santiago the next day. We would drive with the bus over the same pass Charles Darwin did (coming from Santiago) on “The Voyage of the Beagle” 1835.





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