Crossing the Andes

We left from Santiago at about 10am for our full day crossing through the Andes over to Argentina to our destination just outside of Mendoza. As soon as we left the city, passing the poorer outskirts,

the scenery began rising upwards

until we entered the Andes!

The Andes are the world’s longest continental mountain range (7,000 km long) and the highest mountain range (average height of about 4,000 m) outside Asia.

Water flowing down from the melting snow starts pure and clean but is eventually turned into a reddy purple by the rich sediment

After 3 hours of driving we stopped just before the border at a ski resort whose restaurant is still open in the summer. Overlooking an incredible blue lake we had a great meal

and surprise surprise i cuddled the local dog before we continued on our way

To the Border! There was an gross long line of cars so we piled out of the mini van and stretched our legs, taking in our incredible surroundings

before resting in the sun under the Argentinean flag

Soon tired of that we wandered some more, bought some water to ease the heat and eventually were summoned into the big shed like building to have our papers checked. Our driver had about 6 different documents that all required a certain number of stamps and other things (he was missing one but a bribe ensured that the officials quickly found a replacement!) And we handed over our passports to the Chilean official who checked our entry details and stamped something and we filled out something and he ofcourse stamped that too and then handed it all to the Argentinean official who felt compelled to do a bit more stamping – inbetween going for a wander with mums passport (the chilean official saw this as a sign to go for a wander to) and about 2 hours after arriving at the border we were offically – and legally – in ARGENTINA!

Argentina increased in prosperity and prominence between 1880 and 1929, while emerging as one of the 10 richest countries in the world, benefiting from an agricultural export-led economy but since that time has struggled with dictatorial leaders, high inflation and terrible corruption. Though many of the Argentinean people are distinct for their olive skin and striking blue eyes, Argentina is considered a country of immigrants. 86.4% of Argentina’s 40 million people self-identify as European descent and most of these, some, 25 million, have some degree of Italian descent (60% of the total population).

Facts aside, all i was thinking about when we crossed over was the landscape. It was amazing how as soon as we crossed, the scenery was far more dramatic, beautiful and diverse – the Argentineans definitely got the better deal!

We drove past many natural wonders

and though i was planning to sleep and rest

i simply couldn’t pull my eyes away

from the ever changing landscape and

amazing multicoloured mountains that towered above us

Finally, after a full day of driving (and waiting) our surroundings flattened out

And we drove towards Mendoza (famous for its wines but ill tell you ALL about that in the next post 🙂) past many vineyards

until we came to the amazing Cavas Wine Lodge

where we were greated by an extremely refreshing white wine and then ducked under the vines that cover the many little paths

to our incredible abodes which are architecturally like nothing i’ve seen before with their flowing lines,

and funny little chimneys

– they would be perfectly at home in the illustrations of a Dr Seuss book!
There are also beauitful views looking over the vineyard from their top deck

I certainly couldn’t be more relaxed or content with my amazing surroundings and even better company!


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