Reach the Aconcagua, is the...
Reach the Aconcagua, is the highest mountain in the Western hemisphere, located in western Argentina, near the Chile border. Aconcagua is a gigantic mass of rock, not picturesque in the traditional Alpine sense, but magnificent by its size.
Three of the mountainous giants of southern America stands out in this central zone of the mountain range, located in the Argentine cities of San Juan and Mendoza. They are: the Mercedario (6.670 mtrs.), the Aconcagua (6.960 mtrs.) and the Volcan Tupungato (6.650 mtrs.)
Though the mountain's summit crest and radiating ridges are largely windswept free of snow, large glaciers fill the valleys on all but the southern and western flanks. Some climbing routes are relatively straightforward hikes to the top, but this is the very reason that Aconcagua has one of the highest mountain death tolls in the world: It is a popular mountain, and many of its climbers tend to move too swiftly up the mountain, with little respect for the elevation or the weather, which on Aconcagua can quickly become severe.
Skiing and Snowboarding in Penitentes
Penitentes is an important ski center that offers 15 ski slopes at 2500 meters high , available for advanced, beginners and of half level skiers. The snow is abundant and dry 17 weeks per year and the weather is warm and sunny even during the winter
I liked the icecreams in Argentina since the first day I tried them in Buenos Aires. So, when I arrived in Mendoza I asked what is the best place for ice creams in town! They told me Feruiccio Soppecsa so I went there and I choosed one special big one.
It was expensive for argentinian standards, almost 15 pesos (3euros) but it was tasty… Of course, the surprise of the first argentinian ice cream wasn’t there anymore. They have many others cheaper one that must be good also...
I saw many local come inside and take some kilos of icecream for their homes…
It wasn't just the fact that the lovely hotel we were staying at (Club Tapiz) was owned by the Tapiz winery that makes me say this was our favourite winery. Nor was it that as guests we were given a private tour - though that was very nice too. We'd already sampled several of the wines at the hotel's nightly pre-dinner wine tastings - where "tasting" meant a generous glass or two of a different red and a white each night rather than the usual few centilitres in the bottom of a glass - so we knew the quality was there. The best thing was the relaxed way the tour was conducted by the young assistant winemaker who not only knew all the technical ins and outs of the winery's production but was an integral part of the process and loved what she did.
We tasted wines at all stages of their development, tapping straight from the barrels as we went, before finishing with some very fine vintages and reserves., including a wonderful old vine Malbec and a deliciously fruity Torrontes - a white varietal that is an Argentinian favourite.
Tours at Tapiz usually include a horse and buggy ride through the vineyard, which we didn't get as our visit was on a day when the winery was actually closed for tours.
We didn't actually spend a lot of time in Mendoza itself, our hotel was some distance out of the city and our days were full, but we spent a few hours in the city one evening - enough time to get a little flavour of the place.
The first thing that strikes you is the wide - very wide - tree-lined streets (photo 1) laid out in a regular grid-pattern. This is a deliberate piece of late 19th century city planning following rebuilding after an earthquake in 1861 which totally destroyed the city and killed 4000 Mendocinos. Low-rise buildings and clear evacuation routes were the brief for the new city, still adhered to today.
Mendoza is centred around a group of five attractive plazas - the largest, Plaza Independencia, right in the heart of the city, with four others, Plazas Italia, Espana, Chile and San Martin (photo 2), set out at a block's distance from each corner of this main square. With charming buildings - some wonderfully elaborate, others colourfully colonial (photos 3 and 4) - along the streets connecting the squares, pavement cafes, kiosks, balloon sellers, and evening shoppers, it's lively and pleasant scene.
We parked the car, had a coffee, wandered a bit, shopped a bit, browsed the stalls of a street craft market (photo 5) and the racks of a couple of bodegas, drank some wine - the ideal way to spend a fine Spring evening - the sights of Mendoza will have to wait for another day.