So, here’s more of a report of our trip to Mendoza. Of course, given the status of the Bariloche airport, we had to drive. On the way up, we chose to drive the legendary Routa 40, the “Quarenta”, which winds its way through the precordillera of the Andes from Bolivia to Tierra de Fuego. Long and lonely but spectacular. For our first night we diverged off the 40 to the town of Villa Pehuenia, a small town in an area of indigenous Mapuche villages. “Pehuenia” is another word for “araucaria”. Araucaria (aka “monkey puzzle tree”; Araucaria araucana in Argentina) are a SPECTACULAR tree, a prehistoric “living fossil” little changed since the Mesozoic. We kept expecting a dinosaur to come around the corner. In fact, National Geographic and Discovery Channel have filmed documentaries about dinosaurs in this area (of course, they needed special effects for the dinosaurs!). We stayed at a lovely “hosteria” on Lake Alumine. It rained that entire night and covered the araucaria in the surrounding mountains with snow and brought a perfect rainbow (“arco iris” en espanol) to the lake.
It was beautiful but such was not how you’d describe the language Monica used about the snow-covered, mud-rutted road we had to cross the next day to get back to the 40 (check the pics at the link). We’ll pick up the story there in the next post. Here is the full set of pics from this stage of the trip. LINK