Uspallata day 2 - Water and Horses

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Nov 04, 2008

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Where I stayed
Portico del Valle

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Saturday, March 1, 2008

We were really looking forward to trying the white water rafting down the Uspallata valley. (Veronika had already tried it in Chile some years back).

A van picked us up at 10.30 am at Uspallata to take us to the start of the run. During the bus trip we had a surprising meeting with a very friendly couple from Yorkshire (Halifax and Leeds) who we would be doing rafting and horse riding and an extended wine and beer tasting session at night!

There, the guides explained the basics to the 12 people in the group (row forward, back, duck, what to do if you fell in the water, etc) and gave us all our gear. The photographs show all the start of the rafting, but given it was going to be quite wet and active we couldnt take our camera along. We are hoping to get a couple of pictures from Ed and Jenny as their guide was taking pictures going down the river (we will add those on later).

The rafting experience was great fun, and we are looking forward to try it again in a different place. The level was just sufficient for beginners with 2.5 level water, which impresses at moments. A level 3 might be better next time round.

Marcos and Ed were at the front of the boat leading the rowing, but were so involved in chatting about South America that the guide usually needed to shout the instructions a couple of times, much to his frustration.

After the wet experience in a wonderful sun we went back for luncha and to the hotel for a siesta, but decided that we should try another horse run in the afternoon. Given we had temporarily lost our camera the day before we felt that we should do the complete tour with the guide. Also we knew that Jenny and Ed were going along so it would be fun to go in a group.

Our backsides did not agree with our decision initially although we got over their opposition.

The guide was positively suprised to see both of us again  and decided to make the tour a top one...and so it was. As we were going at a good speed (with trotting and gallopping from time to time) the guide decided to take us on his "auxiliary tour" which he says he reserves for faster groups.

The tour had a mix of everything: country lanes, river crossings, going up mountains and impressive views. We even got a discount from Pizarro on this second trip. If it didnt destroy our possibilities of sitting down in the future we would even have tried a third run on Sunday.

So after all the activities and with very sore muscles we met with Ed and Jenny at their hostel (Uspallata Gran Hostel) for a couple of bottles of wine which they had bought at Mendoza, and a bite and some beers at the Tibet bar.

Speaking with the waiter he mentioned that Brad Pitt had never been to the bar, but that the name came from all the decoration which they had from the film "Seven Years in Tibet". It was a relaxing evening sitting on the floor on cushions (in the loft), and sadly for our Sunday plans of getting up early for a trek without heat, we continued until 2.30 am....           

News in Argentina:
- Buenos Aires continues to be flooded and there are large protests in the suburbs due to lack of help
- Schools will not start on Monday as the teachers union has not reached an agreement with the government on salary rise.  (As good students they have left everything for the last day!) School after the summer break starts usually the 1st of March. Parents will not be happy.

Notes for other travellers:

- There is a fantastic hostel called "Gran Hostal Uspallata" on the road towards Chile (200 metres out of the town) with swimming pool, huge kitchen, clean. $35 pesos per person in rooms of 3 max. The entrance says "Gran Hotel Uspallata" but Hostel is at the end on the left. Well worth the short walk.

- At Tibet bar the hamburger and the "Primavera 2" sandwiches are just fantastic! $8 pesos

- Rafting 16kms: $55 pesos per head at Pizarro Expediciones. Level 2.5 river.

- If you know how to horse ride or can do so at a trot ask the guide to take you on the "auxiliary tour". They have one for faster groups which is impressive (see above). They also organise 2/3 day treks on horse.
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