After the very enjoyable lunch yesterday at the winery there was some serious sightseeing to do today with recommendations from our new friends from the Mendoza Classic Car Club.
They suggested driving west on the highway linking Mendoza and Santiago Chile to catch views of South America’s tallest peak, Aconcagua. At 6960m it is not only South America’s tallest but also the tallest outside the Himalayas so we weren’t about to attempt a climb to the top! A little further on and right on the border with Chile, there is a steep track off the highway to the statue of Christo Recentor de Los Andes or Christ the Redeemer of the Andes. Not sure why the Andes needed redeeming but there you go. The climb to the top at 3800m was fairly amazing especially when viewed from the bottom and seeing the tiny cars and buses crawling their way up around the dozens of hairpin bends. It was 1st gear all way and fortunately ascending cars had right of way, because the gradient was too steep and the air too thin to attempt a restart without overheating the clutch. Amazingly all the MGs made it to the top! Most of us noticed the effects of low oxygen levels too – good training for Bolivia.
On the highway the pre-war cars were amazing, keeping up with traffic on all but the steepest hills and passing trucks at 110 km/h while bouncing all over the road on the rough bits. The drivers looked totally exhausted after the 400 km round trip in their tiny cars and tomorrow they will do it all again on their drive back to BA.
On the return trip we stopped off at the Aconcagua National Park hoping to get a better view but it was now covered by cloud so the tiny glimpse we had in the morning was the best it was going to be.
What a terrific opportunity to develop such a strong friendship between enthusiasts of both countries! We look forward to them visiting us in Australia and all of us would like to come back to Argentina!