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Published: December 24th 2007
After a 16 hour bus ride I made it to the highly anticipated Mendoza. At first sight I was disappointed. I heard it was in the mountains and I hadn´t seen any vineyards. It is in Mendoza that 70 percent of the country´s wine is produced. When I arrived at my hostal I went into the tiny pool for a dip because it was even hotter there than in Buenos Aires. I did not do much, but walk around the first day to check out what the small city had to offer. Mostly just wide streets, large trees, and plenty of town squares. The atmosphere was one of relaxation, wine, and steaks. On day two I made the trip to wine central. It took a few bus rides, one collision with a taxi driver, and meeting helpful people to get to a bike rental place at the start of the wine tour. I was by myself so it made for a relaxing day that I enjoyed all to myself.
From the bike rental place I had 9 kilometers of distance to cover and various vineyards and wineries to choose from. Unlucky for me though I did not bring enough cash
to visit all of them and really only had enough for 2 or 3. My bike ride was on a single road that was shadowed by a tunnel of trees. With a recommendation on a good one to visit I made my first stop. It was a vineyard with a winery and we went into the cool cellar to get out of the heat. We tasted 5 wines.....2 Malbecs, 2 Cabs, and a Vino Generoso. They all tasted great, but 1 of the Malbecs stood out from the rest. It was a delicious start. After a lunch of cheese and bread for myself I continued on up the road. I made it to the next place which was an Olive Oil tasting place, but there next tour was not for another hour and half so I crossed the road for a tour of a neighboring winery. Owned by a French couple, the young winery and vineyard had a variety of grapes that they grew and an array of good wine to drink. After 3 more tastes of various wines I was on my way, but this time back to the bike shop. I was getting tired, hot, and out of
water. I made it back and got back to the bike shop and caught the first bus back to the city center of Mendoza. All in all it was a fun day, but a little upset that the wineries did not meet my expectations in there ambiance. Compared to the wine tasting trip I have done in Los Olivos, CA, Mendoza came in second place. The location here just is not as beautiful.
To make myself feel better I went out and bought a good bottle of wine and the best cut of steak the grocery store had to offer. The Barbeques in Argentina are different than back home because they cook their meet extra slowly here. Through some good luck and sheer ability to make delicious food I got my steak cooked using a wood fire. It turned out to be very edible, but I was still waiting for that incredible Argentinian steak I have heard about.
Well the next day I woke up with special plans to head to North East Argentina to a place called Cafayate and Salta. From here I would have made the trip to North East Argentina to see the massive Iguazu waterfall for xmas day. Well as I have learned from the previous months of traveling. Plans do not mean anything. At the bus station I found out almost all bus companies were booked up until the 24th of December and my plans to head north were basically impossible. So I got stressed out for a little bit then made the executive decision to head south 18 hours to a little town called ASSSSSPEN (Actually Bariloche, but its like the Aspen of Argentina and more beautiful....as I now know) Ill still be back in party central for new years. Anyway, until next time. I am off to drink another bottle of wine.
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