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Skiing in Mendoza

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This year we went on camping to Valle de Uspallata, Mendoza, in August. There are so many things to write about that I find quite difficult choosing one in particular, so I’ll just write a bit of what we did during the ten days we were out.
The day after we arrived, we went to ski! I’m afraid it wasn’t a fine day, in fact, a blizzard was approaching. Still, we had a great time. A few knew how to ski, and immediately went to a harder track, but for the rest of us there were instructors who taught us to ski. I feel a bit sorry for my instructor, he found in me such a failure of a student! Anyway, although everyone fell flat on their faces on the snow more than once (some of this falls will probably make world history, maybe even figure in the Guiness Book of Records), we couldn’t have laughed more than we did.
In Mendoza it’s not supposed to rain, even less in the middle of the winter, so I think the weather was somehow against us. One of the biggest snow storms was awaiting us a few days after we arrived.
The way we spent the two days that the storm lasted didn’t seem like a camping at all.
The first day we went walking to a “hill” (I really think it wasn’t correctly named, for it looked more like a mountain to me, taking into account how much time and effort it took us to get to the top of it!). The light drizzle didn’t make us too wet, so we quite enjoyed the walk, though we certainly couldn’t help loving more the stroll downhill, the thought of food, which would undoubtedly be sandwiches, waiting for us in the little cottage at the bottom of the hill making our mouths water.
The next day we still couldn’t go to ski, so we stayed at the regiment, watching the snow slowly cover the surrounding hills.
The next day, however, it turned into a magnificent view: the mountains were all covered with an immaculate white mantle of sparkling snow that gleamed with the mild sunrays, the sky now miraculously without a single cloud darkening it’s blueness… but there aren’t words to describe it, not even a picture could, you’d still be missing something…
But finally, on Sunday we got our wish granted: we went to ski again! This time it was a gorgeous day, with a blazing sun which helped us get tanned, very few clouds and no wind at all, just a cool, gentle breeze. Maybe it’s wiser to wait a little before saying the weather’s against us, don’t you think so?
Well, we had a lot of fun that day, skiing a lot, still tumbling and falling head over heels down the mountain, playing snow battles… It was quite a remarkable day, I should say. When we went back to the regiment at which we were staying we were extremely exhausted, but very satisfied.
The following day we split into two groups, and the first one went by car while the other one on foot up to the mountains, having an uphill walk ahead. I was sorted into the second group. There was a funny fact, and this was that our guide was called Jesus, so we, jokingly, muttered breathlessly as we ascended “Jesus, where are you taking us?! How much more till we get there?!”
Though it didn’t seem possible to achieve, we did get to the place where the other group was. After having lunch, they set off walking, while we climbed and descended the cliff with ropes (“rapel”) and did “tirolesa”. It was really exciting and challenging, and we all enjoyed it a lot.
And there was still another day of ski for us! Though hard to believe, we went to Penitentes, quite a fashionable place for skiing in a camping, isn’t it? We were thrilled, and enjoyed it a lot, every moment spent there was memorable. There were other people besides us, many of them from other countries. This was a little dangerous, mostly for them: I’m sure they didn’t expect nearly 60 inexpert teenagers to come and keep falling downhill, sometimes crushing against them… but luckily none of them was unfriendly… and there was no accident to provoke such reaction.
Finally, it was time to come home, exhausted but satisfied and excited, and with a very dark suntan, but most important, with memories that won’t fade with time of happy moments spent with our friends, doing activities we don’t usually do, in places to which we’re not used to. It’s a really nice experience which we’re grateful we’ve had; we’re extremely lucky to have had such possibility. Each camping has it’s great things, and this one certainly had more than what we could have expected… so I can’t wait for the next one to come next year!





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