HORSES, JUMPING COMPETITION
Very near to my new house there are a beautiful jumping horses tracks.
Today sunday 4 of september they did a jump contest. Despite I'm not a fan of the horses (but I like it) we went to watch the competition under the cold sun of the last winter days.
Amazing, plastic, dinamic, and beautiful movements of those formidable animals.
There are more or less 4 or 5 contests like this along the year, and we are lucky, because this tracks are at 100 meters of our home. Nice spot. A very young girl riding a horse named "Alem Z", achieved the first prize in its category, spectacular almost perfect animal.
The gateway to the Patagonia
"General information of the province"
Neuquén is a province of Argentina, located in the west of the country, at the northern end of Patagonia. It borders Mendoza Province to the north, Rio Negro Province to the southeast, and Chile to the west. It also meets La Pampa Province at its northeast corner.
The province's limits are set by the Colorado River to the Northeast, separating it from the Mendoza Province, the Limay River to the Southeast facing the Río Negro Province, and the Andes mountain range to the west, separating it from Chile.
There are two main distinctive landscapes; the mountainous fertile valleys with forest on the West, and the arid plateau with fertile land only near the basins of the rivers on the East, mainly the Limay River and Neuquén River.
The lacustrine system includes other less important rivers such as Aluminé River, Malleo, and Picún Leufú River, and a series of lakes including the Nahuel Huapi Lake (550 km²), shared with the Río Negro Province, the Aluminé Lake (58 km²), Lácar Lake (49 km²), Huechulaufquen Lake (110 km²), Lolog (35 km²), Traful, Hermoso, Quillén, Ñorquinco, Tromen and Falkner.
The weather is continental and cold, with temperate summers, and in the arid regions a wide difference in temperature between day and night. There is also a big contrast in humidity, with regular precipitations of up to 4.000 mm in some regions of the Andean part of the province.
The province is home of the magnificent Arrayanes forest at the Los Arrayanes National Park. Other National parks include Lanín National Park and the Lanín extinct volcano, the Nahuel Huapí National Park shared with the Río Negro Province, and the Laguna Blanca National Park.
Neuquen is one of Argentina's most prosperous provinces, its estimated US$7 billion economy in 2006 (the country's eighth largest, despite its small population) generated a per capita income of US$14,700, Argentina's fourth highest and two-thirds above the national average.
No province in Argentina, however, is as dependent on any one sector as is Neuquen's. Roughly half its output is accounted for by its mining and extractive sector, mainly on account of its massive gas and petroleum production, the most important in Argentina.
The province generates a significant part of Patagonia's electric power through the hydroelectric plants of Piedra del Águila, El Chocón, Pichi Picún Leufú, Planicie Banderita (in the Cerros Colorados Complex), and Alicurá. The town of Arroyito hosts the only heavy water plant in the country.
Another important activity is the production of apples, pears, peaches and others, specially in the Alto Valle area, shared with Río Negro.
Destination of many Argentines and foreigners, the province has many and varied options for winter and summer; San Martín de los Andes, Villa La Angostura, Camino de los Siete Lagos, Los Arrayanes National Park, Lanín National Park, Nahuel Huapí National Park, Laguna Blanca National Park, and the Copahue hot baths are just some of them. For the winter season, there are the ski centres of Chapelco, Cerro Bayo and Caviahue.
Many explore the lake district region of Southwestern Neuquén that stretches into Río Negro and Chubut Provinces. Another form of tourism is the fishing excursions of mainly the trout, where spinning, trolling and fly casting in the Limay and Neuquén rivers, but also in different smaller streams.
"The city of Neuquen"
The city of Neuquén , the provincial capital, - the place where i live- is located on the east of Neuquen territory in Confluence department , where the waters converge from two major rivers: Limay and Neuquen, which are its natural limits and bring life into a fertile valley surrounded by highlight typical Patagonian plateaus. The city is located within the tourist area called "la estepa de los dinosaurios"("steppe of the dinosaurs")
"Come and visit us"
Neuquen is one of the most important cities in Patagonia, both as an economic, political and administrative province of Neuquen and for its great social and cultural development, caused largely by the continuing migration came from the alluvium within the province from other provinces and neighboring Republic of Chile in the quest to improve quality of life.
Neuquén is a city in constant growth, modern, integrated with nature, his name in the Mapuche language means bold, powerful and arrogant
Exploring Wines and Dinosaurs
We have planned this journey to the Argentinian Patagonia to visit the new frontier of wineries, since it is one of the most southern wine regions in the world.
But we were also aware that, in the past, the desertic Patagonia was populated by dinosaurs and some of the most preserved fossils can be found there.
So we head down south of Argentina!
By the way, just for curiosity, the word neuquen is a palindrome, that is, reading backwards you have neuquen!
On the first morning of our stay in Neuquen, we left the hotel in a private tour to visit the Centro Paleontologico Lago Barreales (www.proyectodino.com.ar) were the archeological works are being conducted. It's about one hour drive in the middle of nowhere but don't get fouled by the boring trip, the desertic suroundings or the very simple premisses of the archeological camp.
The guided tour is outstanding in all aspects! The quality of the young guide that works for food, lodging and the opportunity to work in the project.
The unique opportunty to see and almost touch dinosaurs bones in the ground and a tour in the modest but very rich museum we some of the most precious dinosaurs fossiles.
The project has been sustained by private companies and voluntary work ,so the admission ticket is absolutely worth to pay.
If you happens to be in Neuquen, don't miss the dinosaurs!
The Patagonia is totaly desert but with some very important and perenial rivers, like the Neuquen River and the Negro River. Summers with hot and sunny days and cold nights, no rain but abundant water for irrigation makes the region very appropriate for vineyards and wine.
We visit three wineries in the Rio Negro Department, where vineyards are very old. The pioneer Humberto Canale is celebrating its 100 aniversary this year and the others, although recently established are based in vineyards dating from the 30's, 40's and 50's, abandoned for a period and being recovered now. We visit Humberto Canale, Noemiaa and Chacra wineries.
But we also visit three other wineries in the Neuquen department, where a brand new development took place based on the construction of a 20 miles water channel to allow irrigation. We visit the Bodegas del Fin del Mundo, Familia Schroeder and NQN wineries.
The quality of the Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Merlot calls our attention. If you are a wine lover it's worth to pay attention to the wines fro the Argentinia Patagonia.
Ciudad de Neuquén
Neuquén is a mapuche word that means something good, i will tell you later...
In the city you will find a very clean and nice place to visit, some kilometers from there you find snow, ski centers and ski resorts, like San Martín de los Andes and Villa La Angostura, those are the top winter places since Bariloche is crowded.
You can also find a magic place called, Copahue Caviahue two twin thermal villages and ski resorts in the center of a natural park of Araucarias.
YOUNG AND BEAUTIFUL
"THE LANGUAGE OF THE TERROIR"
Neuquen is the place where I live now, this patagonic province is located at the northwest of the region named "Patagonia", the southernmost region of Argentina, the american continent and even the whole world.
Nailed in the desert, this city rests on the junction of two rivers which flows from the (not too far) mountains to the ocean, Neuquen and Limay rivers.
At more or less 170 kilometers to the west the majestic Cordillera de Los Andes, and at 400 kilómeters to the east the turbulent South Atlantic Ocean.
"Life still flowing..."
"Neuquen" is an aboriginal word. A Mapuche word. The meaning?
Very appropriated name for this mountain river with transparent waters like crystals and cold as a piece of ice.
This terroir belonged to the Mapuche people, a noble tribe whom ruled the northpatagonia lands along 1000 years.
150 years ago the white men arrived and broken the peace, the history is repeated as in the whole american colonization process, crime, steal, genocide and subjugation.
Now the land belongs to a modern white people republic and the city of Neuquen celebrated his first hundred years in 2004. City of inmigrants with a population of 250.000 , the age average of his inhabitants is the youngest of the country, 29 years old...
"The Colors of the Desert"
The patagonic steppe is composed by an amazing palette of colors, red, ocre, beige, and a hard, short, inhospitable vegetation fighting for survival against the dry land and the wind.
This is a partial view of the city of Neuquén behind the borders of the red patagonic meseta, "La Barda", looking straight to the south.