16-Oct-2003 -- This morning Werner felt sick and was not in the condition to continue as scheduled. So I left him in the hotel at Azul and went alone to the next confluence, 36S 60W.
From Azul I took the route Nr. 51 towards North and bent into the connecting road to the small town of General Alvear. At the bend there is a statue of Saint Christophorus, the Patron Saint for all travellers.
I drove into General Alvear, a lovely small town with a beautiful church and a nice interior. The school is built in the typical Spanish Colonial Style.
After this short sightseeing tour I drove to the Railway Station, and from there I took a dirt road along the track for about 2 km towards North, until I reached the latitude. Again the Argentine military map turned out to be absolutely accurate. The marked dirt road towards East was there and so I could proceed directly onto the confluence.
The point is near a small hacienda in a field. I attach the view to East and West. At the latter one the small hacienda can be seen.
When strolling through the centre of General Alvear, of course I saw again the
obligatory bust of General José de San Martin, omnipresent in all Argentina, from Tierra del Fuego up to Jujuy. Every traveller to Argentina will meet the liberator of Argentina, Chile, and Peru, wherever he is. San Martin was born in 1778 in Yapeyu in the Argentine province of Corrientes, just on the shore of Rio Uruguay. In 1786 he was transferred to Spain with his family, where he studied at Madrid, and in 1789 he initiated his military career in the regiment of Murcia. He served in the army of Spain during the wars against Napoleon. At Cadiz in Southern Spain he met other South American officers. In 1811 he resigned his military career and went back to Buenos Aires.
The Government of Buenos Aires accepted San Martin and ordered him to create a cavalry corps that soon would be the glorious regiment of the "Mounted Grenadiers". He created the Lautaro Lodge, with the aim to liberate South America of the Spanish rule. In 1813, the Mounted Grenadiers fought and won their first combat, near the ravines of San Lorenzo, and in 1814 San Martin took control of the North Army, from the hands of its former general, Belgrano, who had returned defeated from the Alto Peru (the today's Republic of Bolivia), and since then, they established a long friendship. Soon after being at Tucuman, San Martin realized that it was impossible to conquer Lima, the capital of Peru and the centre of the Spanish power, by the terrestrial way over the Andes. He had the idea of crossing the mountain range to Chile and to attack Lima from the sea.
In 1817 the crossing of the army began. They were around 4000 men of infantry, cavalry and artillery and carried provisions for a month. A few days after the passage of the Andes, the army, that was given the name "Army of the Andes", won the Battle of Chacabuco and some days after, the Liberator entered the city of Santiago de Chile. In 1818, the Spanish army advanced towards Santiago de Chile, coming from Peru and defeated the "Army of the Andes". But the United Argentine-Chilean army recovered and on April 5th they defeated the Spanish army in the battle of Maipu. That battle ended the Spanish efforts to dominate Chile.
The way to Lima by sea was now open, but they had no fleet, yet. With some boats captured from the enemy and purchased from the United States and England, the Chilean navy was created, and in 1820 the expeditionary Argentine-Chilean army sailed from the port of Valparaiso to Peru. In July 1821, San Martin entered triumphantly to the city of Lima and proclaimed independence. On July 26, 1822 San Martin met with Simon Bolivar in the
city of Guayaquil, Ecuador - both great liberators of South America, the one of the North and the one of the South. In 1824, disappointed by the civil wars in the Provincias Unidas del Río de la Plata, he embarked for France. There he died on August 17, 1850.
Today was the first cloudy day of our tour through Argentina. When driving back to Azul to see Werner, the typical cloud formations appeared, indicating soon rain.