Published: June 11th 2009June 10th 2009
Mendoza - 17th to the 19th of May
After a another long overnight bus journey, we arrived in Mendoza in the afternoon. While trying to find a taxi, we spoke to a hotel owner and Richard's bargaining skills (the owner called him an Israeli) got us what has probably been the best room of our trip for 80 pesos per night. The room was really clean, spacious and looked pretty modern. It also came with a balcony, ensuite and cable TV. ANX here we come!
After taking showers, we went for some food and then delicious ice-cream. We had a look around the main plaza which is really pretty by night. There were lots of street vendors selling their various goods and the fountain in the middle was lit up with people sitting on the benches all around and watching it.
We awoke for breakfast the next morning and also booked a tour of the wineries for the afternoon. We wandered around the city, stopping at the Museum of modern art and walked as far as Park O' Higgins but didn't go into it. We also might have stopped at McDonalds so Richard could have his fix!
The afternoon was given over to the wine tour. It was a really interesting afternoon, much better than the wine tour Fiona and I went on in Peru. We visited two wineries, had quite a few small samples of their produce and learned the importance of the legs of the wine. The girl giving the first tour (in English for just Rich and I) was really friendly and knowledgeable. At one stage, we went down under the ground to where the wine is stored in oak barrels. Here she told us that the best wine in the winery was developed by the owner for his daughter's wedding. The best grapes were chosen and the wine was aged in the barrels for one year and nine days. Everyone at the wedding loved it but there was still some left over. This is sold for six times the price of a normal bottle of wine and will be best in 2013, ten years after it was first made.
We also stopped off at an olive oil factory where the guide explained the process of making extra virgin olive oil, followed by lovely samples of the oil on bread. Then we went to a really lovely place where the owner made a variety of goods, ranging from various type of liquors and other alcohol to preserved goods such as pickled onions and stuffed olives and best of all he made chocolate. We were all given a sample of whatever drink we wanted. I chose a drink which was pink and included a rose petal and tasted really delicate and lovely. The owner had developed the drink for his wife for their 25th wedding anniversary. I want someone to make me a drink! We were also given sample of chocolate which was muy rico. We left the tour substantially poorer with bottles of wine, a jar of pickled onions and stuffed olives and quite a lot of chocolate! We finished the day with lovely steaks from a local restaurant. It was definitely a really nice day.
After breakfast and checking out late, Richard and I went to the bus station to get our tickets for Bariloche. Once we had those, we went to the main park in the Mendoza. It's a lovely park, really spacious and has a zoo and a lake for rowing on. We spent the afternoon wandering around the park and followed it by a lovely dinner in a restaurant between the main plaza and the park.
We were running a bit late so we rushed back to the hostel where I realised that I've left my bag with my camera and all in the restaurant. Off Richard ran to get the bag while I got a taxi and packed our numerous bags and backpacks into it. Richard returned soon but was minus the sole of one shoe which had fell off as he ran! But we made it to the bus - with about a minute to spare!