We drove to the city and province of Mendoza, the site of our next concert. Before checking in at the Mendoza Hotel, we traveled to the highest mountain in the Southern hemisphere Aconcagua, a mountain close to twenty-three thousand feet above sea level. Aconcagua is part of the Andes, the largest mountain range in the world stretching throughout the Western part of South America from Colombia all the was to the southern tip of Argentina. We traveled virtually all day to get to the highest point that one could arrive by bus. Due to the arid climate of the province over hundreds of years, much of the water in the Mendoza River is virtually dried up. The views of the Andes Mountain ranges were spectacular. As you can imagine, driving up a mountain that put us miles above sea level was somewhat of a challenge given the high altitude and lack of acclimatization. On the way to Aconcagua, we ate a very fine lunch at the Uspallata Village. Aconcagua is about 15 kilometers from the Chile border. Often when mountains separate countries, the borders are somewhat disputable. Our guide shared with us that both governments would like to claim that the peak of Aconcagua is on their side of the political division but officially it is part of Argentina.
On the way down from the mountain, we visited another popular tourist attraction, Puente Del Inca, a natural arch that forms a bridge over the river on the mountain. It is quite striking to see. Adjacent to this natural structure, water from hot springs ooze from a mountain formation, making this a popular spa site over the years. The government has now closed this spa area because of increasing landslides over the years making it too dangerous. After Puente del Inca, we stopped into a small town that was celebrating Argentina’s national holiday with a parade. May 25th was the anniversary of the creation of Argentina’s first national government.
To give you a timeline, it took us three hours to travel to Mendoza from San Luis, another four hours West of Mendoza to get to the drivable top of the mountain range, and another three hours to return to the Mendoza hotel. After twelve hours in the bus this day, we were ready for the hotel.