Mendoza is delightful from every point of view. While sitting comfortably on the so-called Bus Turístico, the city streets show its active traffic and its tree groves resemble a green roof that shelters denizens from the scorching summer sun.
Green spaces, monuments, parks and emblematic sites are visited in just a couple of hours. The audio in the unit provides accurate information and also the chance to get off where something turns out to be highly attractive and then take the next bus.
We took advantage of a rainy day to avoid walking and at the same time keep on seeing the city sights. We set out and each of the squares featured their gardens, their imposing water fountains and their spaces for culture and recreation. We recognized some neighborhoods that treasure memories of very old events, such as the founding area, which dates back from the sixteenth century and was devastated by an earthquake in 1861. Some of its foundations still remain.
We got to know the fashionable gastronomic circuits and then we returned in order to enjoy the various alternatives of the typical cuisine of Mendoza. Likewise, we spotted some important points within the circuit known as Circuito Sanmartiniano, which highlights the passage of General San Martín when he crossed the Andes.
We saw plenty of green spaces but what really impressed us was San Martín Park. Its access gates are made of wonderful iron and they are an icon of Mendoza. Once inside, we were dazzled by its gardens featuring European lines, designed by French landscape architect Carlos Thays, its ample circular avenues overlooking the mountain and the presence of a pond, sports clubs and even the World Cup Stadium.
As we reached Cerro de la Gloria, it was crucial for us to see the monument raised in honor of the Army of the Andes to commemorate the crossing of the mountain range. We got a particular sensation as we walked all around the foot of that huge base made of stone on which statues and friezes of high artistic and symbolic value rest. The hard effort made by the members of San Martín’s troop and the will of a people to cooperate with such a patriotic deed are honored at this location. The figure of the Grand Captain commands the front of the monument with his eyes lost on the horizon. He is accompanied by his mounted grenadiers. Winged liberty with open arms and broken chains occupies the top of the set.
During the ride, we watched the trolley buses, the shopping tramways and the Metrotranvía, typical means of transport in the city. We also became aware of the irrigation ditches network that turns Mendoza into a green haven, as some kind of interwoven watery threads. But this was very different in the past. The pioneers of this dry land were forced to create systems that would ensure water for their crops and their daily life. Effort, inventiveness and investment were the key. Maybe the water missing yesterday has become the tribute to such vital element at each of the fountains located in parks and squares.
Texto: Mónica Pons
Fotos: Eduardo Epifanio