6:30 in our Airbnb in Mendoza: It’s time to get up. * yawn * Today will be a long day for us in the Andes… The boys are still sleeping in their beds when Maike and I get up and ready to go. But soon their alarm will ring as well and soon after we are all ready. We get a taxi to the airport to pick up our car. André talks to the lady at the counter, while Maike, Christian and I are still dozing on some seats of the arrival hall. We are taken to our car, throw our luggage in the trunk and head off. Off to the Andes! André drives, while Christian as his co-driver and entertainer is obliged not to fall asleep while driving. Maike and I are the photographers(specialized in taking quick pictures from the moving car) and Christian and I share the valuable task of playing the right music on the long drive to the Andes.
At the next gas station, and I should probably mention at this point that we have not eaten yet, we buy bread, Facturas and coffee to survive the long journey. What follows after that is an incredibly beautiful landscape to the right and left of the lane, and a loud “STOP”-scream about every 10 minutes coming from Maike and me to get out of the car, admire the Andes and take photos. Our next stop is the “Puente del Inca“, a rock arch formed naturally by erosion with some hot springs nearby. Here we eat our recently purchased empanadas. We will not stay long, because we have to go to our next important stop, the “Parque Nacional Aconcagua”. The Aconcagua is the highest mountain in America, as well as the highest mountain outside of Asia. Definitely a MUST on every trip to Mendoza!
After the tour, a looooot of new pictures and an apple as a snack in between, we drive towards the Chilean border to get to the stature of “Cristo Redentor de los Andes” at 3832 metres altitude. On the gravel road to the summit, Maike and I look frightened out the window – there is not much space between the road and the abyss! But we survive the journey, get to the top of the mountain pass and admire the view of the Andes! It’s pretty windy up here. I don’t want to get to close to the abyss frightened to be hit by a gust of wind and fall down. The boys are braver and are busy shooting pictures. To warm us up again, we drink a hot chocolate and eat delicious Alfajores at the only booth on the mountain pass! Freshly strengthened we drive downhill and listen to the relaxed and melodic music of Christian, which makes the mountains around us look even more majestic – Hundi, by Alexander Marcus (one of many terrible carnival songs in Germany). The boys sing along with enthusiasm, while Maike and I can’t stop laughing in the back of the car!
The last leg of our day is the drive to our Airbnb in Uspalatta, which is the absolute best Airbnb I have ever stayed at. The pink hut is slightly hidden in the middle of the desert, surrounded by a few more huts and the Andes. We are exhausted from the journey and just want to spend a relaxed evening together. First, we go to Uspallata to eat and buy food for the next morning. As we come back to the hut at night and look up, we encounter a beautiful starry sky, where we can see the milky way perfectly. It’s so beautiful that we take two benches from the yard and put them in front of the hut. Then we grab some blankets from inside, sit down on the benches and watch the stars. We have profound conversations and enjoy the absolute silence for a moment. It gets a bit too cold for us after a while and the topic of discussion changes from the existence of all life into football, which is why we decide that it’s best to go inside, play card games and drink good wine from Mendoza. Two bottles of wine later, the evening ends for us all, like the evening before, tired but satisfied, in a hut at the end of the world.