Tiny Town, Magnificent Views

Trip Start Apr 27, 2009
Trip End Apr 27, 2010

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Flag of Argentina  , Cuyo,
Sunday, January 3, 2010

A couple of hours travel by bus up into the Andes from Mendoza is a tiny town called Uspallata. The bus journey is pretty enjoyable with fantastic views of the Rio Mendoza and the foothills of the Andes. Part of the route is the same as the way I went on New Years Day for the rafting and I saw some other people making their way down the river as I did a few days ago. The rapids definitely look much smaller from a nice, dry seat on the bus!

The bus station in Uspallata is pretty unremarkable - a few places for buses to pull into, a ticket office and a couple of shops. I must have looked more sure about where I was than I thought because a woman and her daughter checked with me that they were in the right place! Mind you I think the driver would probably have scooted them off the bus anyway if they didn't move!!

After a quick stop at the tourist information for a map (essential in a town with about 4 streets!) and at the supermarket for some nice cold juice I started walking along the road out of town to a viewpoint that would give me a view of the town with the magnificent Andes in the background. The walk was pretty easy until I reached the bottom of the hill and even the ascent wasn't too much hard work. The route up to the top was marked with crosses - a traditional way to mark a route here rather than as markers for people who died.

The final little bit of the climb was quite steep but the view from the top was fantastic. The small town of Uspallata and it's surrounding greenery were totally dwarfed by the mountains behind. Some of the peaks were covered in a light dusting of snow but I wasn't sure which one was Aconcagua (the highest peak in the Americas). It would have been nice to be able to pick it out but the fact that I didn't know the mountain's names wasn't really going to spoil my enjoyment of the view. After trying (and failing for the most part) to get a nice picture of myself with the mountain range in the background I headed back down out of the sunshine that was causing me so many photographic problems. After the walk back to town and a wander down the other streets of the town the sun was causing me a different problem as I'd forgotten my sunscreen and had a slight red tinge! I opted against heading into the casino (a little strange but I suppose they need some kind of entertainment in such a small town!) and had a seat in the shade to do a little people watching.

There were surprisingly plently of people to watch - yesterday (the 2nd) there was actually a huge gathering of people in an area just outside the town. It was the end of a 3 month march across the world from New Zealand to promote peace and non-violence - the Marcha Mundial Por La Paz. The town was really busy with people from all over the world which explained the reason that I hadn't been able to follow my original plan and stay overnight!

Before catching the bus back to Mendoza I spotted a local family making much more economical transport arrangements - a mother was cycling with her son and daugher perched on the bike too! I was quite happy to get a bus seat, I can't imagine that the bike journey was particularly comfortable!!

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