Travelling to Mendoza, Argentina in the quest for old and steam tractors along Highway 40, Route 40
Touring around Mendoza
with Bob Frassinetti
One of the things I love the most about my job is the fact that I’m always on the move, always hunting for awesome
treasures in and around this beautiful country that is Argentina.
This time I’m in Mendoza, a breathtaking city at the bottom of the Andes Mountains;
home of the KM 0 of the marvelous Route 40, my favorite place in the whole wide world.
Such was my good luck this time that I managed to find a cozy small hotel on the roadside of Route 40!
The city of Mendoza was founded early in the Colonial times, in 1561. The Incas had reached
the region we know today as Cuyo, and more precisely Mendoza in their late expansion years, just before they were conquered
by the Spaniards. Therefore, this region was a greatly civilized area, known for its stupendous ecosystem and its great Pre
Columbian constructions as well as its refined culture.
Today, more than 400 years after its foundation, Mendoza is a regional metropolis and a melting pot between the Argentine
and the Chilean cultures, for it’s in the borderline between this neighboring countries.
Mendoza withholds Argentina’s finest wine production and it’s a precious tourism
spot for travelers from around the globe. The brilliant combination of natural resources, winter sports, all year long natural
spa facilities and the imponent Aconcagua Mountain –the highest most peak of the American Continent- makes of Mendoza
a dream destination for every single one of us who loves to enjoy life’s pleasures and treats.
The city of Mendoza is also the capital of the equally named province. This is a modern and clean, nature friendly capital,
features a broad and rich cultural and artistic life.
A stone throw away from downtown Mendoza the visitor finds the ever-growing and improving fine vineyards, wineries and
boutique wine producers. Most of these are open all year long for visitation and wine trying. Even better is to enjoy this
wonderful option during the month of March, when it’s still summer warm in the region, in the fabulous Wineries Classic
and Sports car Rally.
Among the rainbow of urban and ecology friendly tourism that can be found in Mendoza, there are several interesting sights
within the city, such as the gorgeous trolleybus transport system.
This transport system was lately installed in Argentina by the late 1940s, specially located in Buenos Aires, but covering
other major cities such as Mendoza and Rosario. However the pass of time and the evolution in the automobile industry made
it fade away from the rest of the country except for Mendoza, Rosario and the latter addition of Cordoba city in the Mediterranean
region of our country.
The first Trolleys of Mendoza were German, made by the famous Mercedes Benz in 1957 in Buenos Aires. Latter on Japanese
origin vehicles came to replace the German ones Nissan / Tokyu Car / Toshiba. Most of which were maintained in such proper
way that still running by the end of the millennium.
Among the interesting features of the trolley system in Mendoza is the fact that a big commercial shift took place in the
mid 1980s when the province exchanged commercially its fine wines for mechanical goods with the USSR by means of the Uritzky,
model ZIU 682 that complemented the Japanese fleet.
After the dissolution of the USSR, and together with the growth and development of Mendoza
–implying the need of a broadening of their transport system- new imports were made from Germany and Japan to attend
the growing demand.
This unique ecology friendly means of transport provides Mendoza with an even more appealing
aesthetic to the visitor alike the local. While at the same time, the one of a kind scenario created by Mendoza’s unique
features, invites locals and foreigners alike to discover this magic land of beauty and good living.
Bob Frassinetti in Mendoza Argentina 2006