Sunday before leaving Mendoza we took pictures by the Cerro de la Gloria. The statue represents the army of San Martin crossing the Andes to free Peru, Chile and Argentina.We are standing on the West Border of our mission. This staged picture shows President and I trying to escape into Chile and being pulled back by the President of the Area (South America South) Elder Bowen. It is all in fun, but you all know there are days when the thought enters the brain.
It was very dark in the very long tunnel which separates Argentina from Chile. The Andes are very wide. We drove into the middle of the tunnel where there is this simple sign telling you are about to enter Chile. The picture is not good because of the lighting, but it was worth a try.
This sign is near the tunnel through the Andes. Santiago Chile is 167 kilometers away, which is about 64 miles.
We were snowed on that day, and it was cold. This picture is taken by one of the ski resorts on our way up the mountain.
This picture is taken in front of the Inca Hotel. It is in past entries on the blog, but not in the winter time. The hotel closed about 7 years ago and was built into the rock. The rooms had water running up through the rocks. It was closed because of the deteriorating walls and floors.
Sister Bowen and I in front of the vendors selling their wares at the Inca Hotel. I bought alpaca scarves for Christmas presents. It is a good memory to show where they came from.
The vendors anxious to take your money. They stand freezing in the cold weather trying to make a living. Their sweaters are made from Llama or Alpaca wool. The llama comes from the Andes and descended from the camel family.
The road to view Aconcagua was closed and so we weren't able to go up to view the peak, but we took pictures from the road. Those of you may remember that Aconcagua is an extinct volcano in the Andes, which stands 22,834 feet and is the highest Mountain in the western hemisphere.
Our ski resort Penitentes, a local resort about an hour and a half from our home. The larger resort Las Leñas is 5 hours from our home, down in the south of the mission near San Rafael Malargue.
We drove a gravel road for almost an hour, traveling north from Salentein Bodega to the pass to Chile. About 20 miles from no where there was this little home with the old Ford Falcon parked in the front. When Ford stopped selling the model in the US years ago, it sold all the machine tooling to Argentina and so for years after, the Argentines have been making and refurbishing these cars. You see them everywhere.
We were coming over a pass on this little gravel road and had this magnificent view of the valley. You can see the road we are headed to down in the valley
Again along this gravel road we saw another house, miles from anywhere. This young lady was riding her horse out to the fields. She was so beautiful we had to stop and take a picture. The coloring of the horse blended into the landscape. The young lady sat proudly upon her horse with the most serene look upon her face.
In the morning we went on a tour of the Salentein Bodega (winery). Their labels are so beautiful I wanted to capture one of them for you to see.
At the Salentein Bodega they were getting ready for a group of art lovers who were coming to an art exhibit at the Bodega. Mr. Pon who is from the Netherlands, the man who built the building, built a world famous art gallery displaying local artists as well as around the world. We saw this group of very exceptionally fancy women walking up the walkway to the bodega as we left. They will have a lecture and tea in this lawn area. Everything in the bodega is quite austere, which you can see in the benches set for tea,(hay bales with crisp white cloths covering them). The wood (on the right) has been started for the Asado (BBQ) for lunch.
The second floor of the Bodega is the area where they store the wine in oak barrels. The building is built in a four sided cross, this compass on the floor depicts the four sided star, each part made of stone from one of the provinces in Mendoza cuyo. If you stand directly in the middle of the square (small gray square in center) when you talk your voice is amplified up into the second story, and you can hear an echo. It is pretty cool hearing the amplification of your voice in your ears. Dividing the building into four areas (like a cross) it is easy for them to divide the different types of wines. The fermentation happens up in the first story, in large steel vats, except for the special wine like the Primus which is fermented in special cedar barrels that they keep for only 8 years and then sell off. The reason for fermenting the wine above, is so that they can use gravity flow through tubing to deliver the wine down into the oak barrels below. There is no pressure used because that creates too much oxidization in the wine which makes it more bitter.The "Killka" on the grounds of the Bodega is a small chapel that was built as a tribute to nature, the austere chapel was built using only environmentally friendly materials and is built in the stype of the old Andean chapels. Some people were going into the chapel as we left to attend mass. The benches look like they were carved out of cedar wood, the cross behind is silver, and the stone around is slate. The altar is a beautiful granite.
This view is at the Bodega, looking out into the Andes. The grape vines had just been trimmed off and each was hand tied to the wire with a bamboo tie.
After the week of conferences we took the time to go out to dinner on Friday night, and even went home and watched a DVD. The backdrop is the back wall of the restaurant displaying the wine bottle of Mendoza. Elder Bowen had a good sense of humor having his picture taken in front of so many bottles of wine. I am sure we are the only mission in the world that takes it's general authorities to visit wineries. But it you want to experience Mendoza, it has to include it's primary export- wine.