We are skipping winter in Patagonia and will continue our travels in January 2017. So long.
Driving through the irrigated vineyards of Mendoza we marveled at the fancy wineries, it felt like we were in California’s Napa Valley.
You can tour the different plush wineries, taste the Malbec and buy a case. After an overnight stop in Manzana Historica and more wineries in the Valle de Uco we had seen enough famous grapes, tasted some good wines, so we headed up to the ski resort Las Leñas. Both of us are skiers and grew up on skis, so names like Las Leñas and Portillo ring a bell. As kids we watched world cup ski races held here on TV.
Las Leñas in summer is like many ski resorts without snow, not very exciting.
We drove on and worked out way up a pass and back down the other side. Valle Hermoso, a pretty valley ringed by mountains and with a small lake was on the other side. At the end of the road there is a steep trail and one can continue over to Chile with mules and horses only. We spent a few nights by a creek, hiked in the valley and enjoyed the solitude in the mountains. Some farmers and some fly fishermen came by, all waved and kept going.
Life along the creek, we went for long walks every day, watching wildlife and finding flowers.
End of January 2016
The eastern slope of the Argentinian Andes is drier than we had expected. However, sophisticated watering systems, some dating back to the indigenous people, allow for irrigating and agriculture.
Slowly we worked our way south. We wanted to visit Aconcagua, the highest mountain in South America at 6,961 metres (22,838 ft), and the highest point in the Western Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere.
In Cafayate we stocked up one more time, coffee had been hard to come by and we love our two cups every morning. Time and again we bought beans or ground coffee that did not make us happy. It tasted weird, we couldn’t figure out why, maybe they were just cheap beans (robusta) usually roasted with sugar. The cup of coffee in the coffee shops tasted great though. Still, mate is what many people drink and coffee is not that important.
“The Jaguar Smile” by Salman Rushdie
“The country under my skin” by Gioconda Belli
“Blood of brothers” by Stephen Kinzer
“Measuring the World” by Daniel Kehlmann (German: “Die Vermessung der Welt”)
“The Queen of Water” Laura Resau
“The Mapmakers Wife” by Robert Whitaker (German: “Die Frau des Kartographen”)
“My Fathers Island” by Johanna Angermeyer
“Floreana” Margret Wittmer (German: “Postlagernd Floreana”)
“The sound of things falling” (Juan Gabriel Vasquez) tags: Cocaine, Peace Corps, Love
“La otra raya del tigre” , Pedro Gómez Valderrama, tags: Geo von Lengerke
and of course the books by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
“Death in the Andes” by Mario Vargas Llosa
“Turn right at Machu Picchu” by Mark Adams
“The Last Days of the Incas” by Kim Macquarrie