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Published: June 29th 2013
The sun rise time in Mendoza is similar to that of Bariloche and once again, we find ourselves sleeping in to about 9.30am. We jump out of bed and quickly throw on some clothes to make it down for breakfast.
Our lovely B&B host, Gladys wishes us a good morning in Spanish and proceeds to speak to us in the loveliest of manners, pity we just have no idea what the hell she is saying to us. We laugh and respond with 'si, si glacias', hoping that we've just ordered breakfast. And breakfast was really good! Fresh croissants, bread, cereal and an assortment of delicious jams and dulce de leche. Rach also had a submarino, an Argentinian drink of hot milk in which you place a chocolate bar! In order to satisfy Rach's sweet tooth, she also had more cocoa and sugar for good measure...then complaining that her hot chocolate was too sweet!!
We had looked at the weather forecast for the 2 days we were spending in Mendoza. Today was supposed to be overcast and tomorrow was when the sun was to shine. So we decided that tomorrow would be our wine exploring day and today we'll just
occupy by seeing the sites around town. We did a bit of 'admin' before heading out a bit after 12. We stopped at a place called Maria Antoinetta for lunch. It was a cute little restaurant that had red and white checked table cloths which was an instant winner for Rach. I went for the 'tart of the day' which was a bit of a stab in the dark but turned out to be a carrot tart thingy like a quiche. At the end of the meal, Rach decided to go out on a limb and quote “best lunch ever”...not a thing that should be tossed around easily however she reckons her chicken, avocado and tomato sandwich was top of the pile in our 3 months of travelling.
After lunch, we decided to go checkout the city centre. Mendoza is a city a lot bigger and busier than we were expecting. I was expecting a quaint little tourist town full of wine and souvenir shops. It couldn't be further from that. It is just a giant grid of one way streets, full of traffic and graffiti on the buildings everywhere. The main plaza is just a big concrete jungle
with a fountain in the middle that wasn't working when we walked past. We haven't actually taken any photos of the city cos there just wasn't anything to take a picture of. We continued walking through the main square and found a little pedestrian mall. We could only do some window shopping however because the Argentinians go on siesta for the afternoon, with all the shops indicating that they close between 12.30 – 4pm everyday!! That's basically the whole afternoon! We walked up the deserted mall, got to the end and walked back again. We found a little coffee shop and thought we'd gather our thoughts on this city. They had all types of 'specialty' coffees so Rach got a vanilla latte and I ordered this cappuccino that looked a lot better in the menu than what was placed infront of me.
We continued after our coffee break back towards the main square and in search of the number 3 place on trip advisor, a little bakery, to get some treats ahead of our big riding day tomorrow. It was about a 20 mins walk through the delightful urban streets of Mendoza, on the way passing a post office.
We thought, you beauty, we'll be able to buy some Argentinian stamps for our postcards. Nope, even though it was 4.15pm and the sign said the post office opened up after its afternoon siesta at 4pm, the doors were locked and closed and the lights all off. We continued walking and eventually found our little bakery. The place was full of different kinds of cookies, merengs, pastries and chocolates. We settled on some white choc almonds, choc-chip cookies and some lemony biscuits which should tie us over for a couple of days.
We continued walking north and found (what we think is called) San Martin park. It was nice to find some sort of tranquility in this concrete jungle of a place and we walked through admiring nature. Well, I was, Rach had her head down msging everyone on her phone telling how amazing it was to have free wi-fi while walking through a park.
I kept following my little map, pointing us in a direction of a 'lake' in the centre of the park. On the way, we heard music coming from a group of locals getting into some outdoor zoomba. Rach turned down my offer of
joining them and we passed by and continued in search of the 'lake'. Well, we found it, however it had been drained and was just a giant mud pit!! We sat down and admired the view, only for a few minutes so Rach could attempt to hyperventilate in order to get rid of her hiccups said had for the past 10 mins.
We called it a day and headed back towards 816 B&B. I left Rach to rest and decided that it would be a good opportunity to go for a run. I got a pep talk from George (our B&B host) and his daughter about the dangers of Mendoza after sundown, ensuring them I'd be only an hour and be back before it was dark! I ran up again to the park and around the 'lake' a couple of times before heading back home. Thankfully nobody jumped me and I got back safe and sound.
We got cleaned up and ready for dinner, George having booked us a restaurant and taxi at 8pm. We headed off across the other side of the city to Don Mario; a famous steakhouse. Whilst we waited for our steaks to come
out, Rach and I started our 'Trip Home Awards Ceremony'; writing down the winners and losers from a whole host awards that we made up. From best/worst hotel to most surprising place to best adventure experience. Maybe we'll post these as our final blog...
It took bloody forever for our steaks to come out. And not because the restaurant was busy. The kitchens over here don't open until 8 o'clock and we were the first ones in the place. However, it hit 9pm and as the restaurant began filling up, our 'medium-rare' steaks must've been still on the grill. Finally they emerged from the kitchen around 9.20pm and as suspected, over-cooked. They were both decent cuts of meat however a bit disappointing and I told the waiter this; and they agreed to knock a few pesos off the bill. The wine was really good and the chips the best we've had so it wasn't all bad. We head back to our B&B shortly after, ready to get some rest before tackling the bikes again tomorrow; this time with wine added!
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