MATT: We left on the bus to Mendoza early, with a long journey ahead of us. But all in all a pretty painless one. We headed out of Valp, up the coast then inland towards the Andes. It is a few hours through the rugged, rocky landscape, gradually climbing up through the foothills towards the border pass. The last stretch is a climb of about 2000m that happens very quickly as the road snakes up the mountain side to the pass at about 3000m above sea level and across into Argentina, through some of the most breathtaking scenery off the entire 6 months so far. The sky is crystal clear, the sun bright and the mountains bursting upward on all sides.
The drive to Mendoza is only about an hour and a half down through the Ancongua valley and the grandeur of the mountains all around us, down through the foothills as the Andes just disapear into the open edges of the pampas and finally past vineyards into the town.
Our stay in Mendoza was mixed with good and bad - the good being visits to some beautiful Argentine vineyards (the best being a family run, artisanal bodega called Don Arturo, where we picked up some ridiculously cheap, excellent wine), an olive oil factory, touring National Route No.7 into Los Andes (more breathtaking scenery) to see the statue of "Cristo" which stradles the Argentine/Chilean border at 4800m (you feel the thin air at this alltitude) above sea level, seeing the "Inca Bridge" (a natural bridge formed by the sulphur run off from a natural spring that runs over a marble bridge) and making friends with a very nice wee street dog.
The Bad was that we both got a dose of the s***s and discovered that we had lost all our medicine somewhere in Thailand - luckily Argentinians are very helpful and you can buy prescription drugs over the counter.
The sickness delayed us in Mendoza a day or so, but we had enough loperamide to see us onto the 13 hour overnight bus ride to Buenos Aires and then onto San Antonio De Areco.