San Rafael and Laguna del Diamente.

January 2011.

The landscapes we cross are amazing with the contrast between the desert and that water coming down from the Andes.

We leave definitely Patagonia, and enter the Mendoza region.

The ruta 40 winds already for 3000 km.

When arriving at San Rafael, we have the feeling of quitting the desert and being in Provence.

Vineyards, olive trees and plane trees are everywhere.

We stop at the tourist information office as we are looking for a way to call our friend Nicolas that we must meet next day: nice these parking places for tourists only.

Enriqueta, head of information office, makes friend with the children waiting in the car and as she is interested in our trip, ends up calling the local newspaper reporter.

We therefore undergo an interview with photos and small gifts from the municipality.

The time is badly chosen, as we have never been so dirty and badly dressed ...

Here is the link for the article.

We head towards the Laguna del Diamente where we finally have a meeting with Nicolas.

As we settle for the night, we are evicted by park rangers who take us manu-militari at the parking entrance.

But we had planned pizzas for dinner, and as we cannot make fire, we cook them with a torch.

Rather successful, right?

Next day, Matthieu repairs the Land Rover on the car park.

Nothing serious with the engine, but only a cooling fluid leak inside the heating system.

Matthieu, who had initially feared that the head gasket was dead, is reassured.

A small piece of pipe, and that's it, the heating system is bypassed.

Fortunately, the cold weather is behind !

We are very happy to meet again with Nicolas, a friend from the good old time, who has been living in Mendoza for 5 years with his family.

Going up to the Laguna del Diamante, we organize the challenge of the crisps bag.

Tugdual won it, as his bag exploded at 2900 m altitude !

We cross a pass almost 4000 m high, surrounded by an amazing landscape.

The arrival at the laguna is stunning.

Nicolas came with two of his kids, Blanche and Constantin: it starts to make a nice collection !

Children do not know each other, but friendship goes fast.

Kids enjoy running after the guanacos.

But due to the altitude, they are out of breath after 100 m.

So is it here or there?


That the plane of Henri Guillaumet crashed.

This French aviator, who was flying from Santiago to Mendoza carrying airmail, crashed here on June the 13th, 1930.

He managed to save himself by walking four days and four nights through the snowy mountains.

When he met back his friend Antoine de Saint Exupery, he told him this sentence:

"What I did, I swear, no animal would have ever done it".

Well, it seems that it is almost here!

A rather basic plaque reminds us the event.

Although we are in the middle of the summer, it is cold and very windy. We cannot imagine what must be the weather during winter...

A good lesson of courage and selfcontrol to think about !

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