From tree to statue
Plaza Gen San Martin
4:55 p.m. The new Pope was just declared! Argentinian Jorge Mario Bergoglio
, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires from the Metropolitan Cathedral
, which we visited a couple of days ago. Martin is so excited he has goose bumps. (He has seen the Archbishop many times.) Victor, our Mendoza guide says the new pope is very simple and humble. Of course all the TV stations are covering the story.
This afternoon was “compulsory nap” for our late evening at a winery. Indeed needing a nap, I watched TV long enough to see the white smoke
. (Who needs Spanish!) Then my nap. Fortunately, I woke up soon enough to wait for a few minutes to watch the announcement and the advent of Francisco I. I want to get a newspaper tomorrow.
Back to this morning: We woke up to chilly, windy, grey weather. We started our day indoors with a local woman who had moved from BA to Mendoza
with her family. She talked to us about family life, the education system, health care, and anything else we questioned her about. Unexpectedly engaging.
Our city tour was a brief drive around and 45 minutes to walk on our own. Said Victor, “This will be a
Imagine buying food here for the day's meals!
short drive because if we did a long drive, we would be out of town!” My choice was to wander through the main square looking for shots of the statues, difficult in the harsh light of grey cloud. The trees are getting their fall colour here. This brought me to the Cathedral of San Rafael – fairly plain inside, but with a gorgeous, unusual Franciscan
crucifix. Walking a few blocks into a residential neighbourhood, I noticed how well-cared-for were the houses and shops. All the buildings except the Cathedral are one or two storeys. Most are white or pale stucco, some with wood shutters. I passed the public library, but as it is located in a school I couldn’t find the entrance and hesitated to enter the school lobby.
Before dinner, we had our scheduled “surprise” – five children who have been taught traditional dances. Two girls danced with two boys. A third boy, the eldest, danced an unaccompanied piece in which his boot stomping imitated horse hooves. Very moving because the children were intense and proud. The woman who teaches them is trying to keep poor children away from unsavoury influences.
Our visit to the Algodon Wine Estates
Sweet innocence proud of their skills
mostly confined to the indoors because of the chilly, rainy weather. A woman led us through the factory; the main difference from others we have seen are the huge fermentation tanks that are encased in cement block and are on their sides, so all we saw was the sealed opening, and a portable pump. The inside, we were informed, is lined with epoxy.
Dinner was a special occasion. The dining room
was set up for our cooking demo, but there was another couple by the open fireplace. As our group stood chatting, the man came over and introduced himself. He was an American and an editor of a magazine for pilots of private planes. I am sure our excitement and enjoyment improved the ambiance of the evening for this couple. The cooking lesson was impressive: we all took photos. The chef cooked the chopped beef for the empanadas in a deep frying pan in the fireplace. The filling was spooned into the tortilla-type dough and closed like a pasty. He fried the peppers and onions for chicken breasts in a large pan and seared the meat, brought together with a cup of rosé wine. Two of our group helped with
Algodon Wine Estates
Chilly day warmed by a great dinner
the chopping of peppers and with closing the empanadas. The waiters brought out some for all of us. Delicious! Plus, after the main course, when I refused the ice cream dessert and Martin explained, they whipped up a milk-free sorbet and served it in a sea of fruit salad. Unbelievably good!
Link to VIDEO
of guides' reaction to announcement of new pope.
Link to VIDEO
of the children dancing.
Link to VIDEO
of our cooking lesson.
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