Ruta Del Vino, Manzanas y Dinosourios
Once we are ready and settled into our new home for the next few weeks we hit the road down south. There is not a lot to see between here and the actual start of our journey closer to the Andes. Immediately memories come back from driving all the way down to Ushuaia as some of the roads we use are the same and we have been here before. Long stretches of straight roads with no end in sight. Our plan for the day is to stop in Villa Sierra De La Ventana. Ahead is a massive thunderstorm with torrential rain fall and we make our way directly into it. Let’s hope that the cabin is water proof.
Argentina is a huge country and we are constantly reminded about it as we are trying to make our way west to get to the more exciting areas. The region around Neuquen is the first point of interest for us that we want to stop by. This is also where the so called “Ruta del Vino, Manzanas y Dinosourios” starts.
As you drive through this very green part of Northern Patagonia we pass by a lot of fruit plantations and small shops next to the street selling them in pretty good quality. The other famous part is the wine they grow here. Just after the town of San Patricio Del Chanar you find one bodega after the other. They are all amongst the most southernly located bodegas in the world. Today we make a stop by the bodega Del Fin Del Mundo. This wine was recommended to us by our Spanish teacher we had in Buenos Aires back in 2013. Now that we are in the area we also want to pay a visit to the bodega, take a tour and do some wine tasting. Even though it is only around 11 am in the morning and we still have a few hundred kilometers ahead of us that day. Just means that Michael can only do a few sips during the tasting. ;-)
Bodega Del Fin Del Mundo - actually means the end of the world
It is much bigger than we anticipated with no room for romantic feelings
Dangerous job to turn each bottle of the sparkling wine
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When you read their name Del Fin Del Mundo which means the end of the world and you really have been there you automatically associate certain images and impressions with it. As we get to the bodega we realize how big it actually is and that there is no place for any romantic feelings. While it is not one of the largest ones in Argentina it has a decent size. They work in three shifts around the clock to produce various different lines of wines. We are the only ones taking the tour at the time which is always great as we have the guide to us entirely. Despite this the tour itself is very basic compared to some of the other tours we did last time. Also the wine tasting is sparse. Maybe not a bad thing given that it’s not even midday. One thing we are very proud about is the fact that by now we can go on these tours and do them entirely in Spanish. This is always better and clearly even for Michael this is a vocabulary we really have some practice with. We fill up our stock with six fine bottles of wine as we don’t know where we will pass by a place to buy wine in the next few days.
Landscape along the RP17, worth while a visit if you are in the area
Is Karin so small or the Argentinosaurus Hinculensis really so big?
Yes, it is him - Tyranosaurus Rex
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We continue our journey on the RP7 via Ando, along the Rio Neuquen and the Dique Loma de la Lata. A huge lake that is used to generate electricity and producing an impressive landscape at the same time. This whole area along the RP7 and later the RP17 to Plaza Huincul is much more scenic than what we expected. It is not mentioned or described in any of the guide books but certainly a worth while drive if you are in the area.
The museum Carmen Funes in Plaza Huincul is home to the longest reconstruction of a dinosaur. It hosts one of the largest dinosaurs that are believed to have existed the Argentinosaurus huinculensis. With almost 40 meters long and weighing up to 100 tonnes you really feel tiny standing next to it. Even though it is only the skeleton. Not so long ago somewhere else in Argentina they found an even bigger one. Really amazing ...