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Published: December 8th 2019
After our Estancia experience we are back in the hotel Internacional, Mendoza for a couple of nights, and although very central, the room is small. You cant swing a cat, small. So, it's time to find something different and also to pick up a car and allow us to really explore the area. But before leaving Mendoza, we book a river rafting trip near Lake Potrerillos, about 70 km away from the city. With pickup, a very cheap 24 USD and that includes zip lining which actually turns out to be a little dissapointing. But, the rafting is fun, even though Malcolm cannot partake because of a leg issue, he does spend his day sitting by the side of the river, soaking up Quilmes (beer) and chatting to a bunch of likely lads from Liverpool. In addition, we meet a guy who we later have dinner with along with his Dad and Uncle and it turns out, that our Malc played rugby against the father, so he's in his element for the evening.
And for those of you who will not look at a map, Mendoza, is a city in Argentina that is closer to Santiago, Chile than Buenos Aires.
It sits in the dessert at the foot of the magnificent Andes and is slightly north and a 1000km west of Buenos Aires.
Anyway, now we have a car and find a wonderful Apartment, Pescara 60, in a Mendoza suberb, Maipu. This place ticks all the boxes, it's big 65 sq meters, furnished nicely, covered parking and most of all, its central to a bunch of wineries. Oh, how we love that malbec!
For the next week, we visit wineries, on foot and on pedal bikes, take road trips into the Andes to view the highest peak in the Americas and an overnight excursion to Atuel Canyon, which I keep referring to as being "just like Arizona".
Then, our lives change drastically, but what a bunch of fun! The Budd sisters (Carla and Kelly), friends from Fiji, who have been traveling in South America for the past five months (since June) arrived in Mendoza. Their travel plans were thrown into disorder due to social unrest in both Chile and Bolivia. The sisters had to return to Peru after traveling to Copacabana, Bolivia and finding the roads to LA Paz blocked because of the ousting of Evo Morales.
The only politically stable country in the region turned out to be Argentina and the cheapest flight into Argentina, was into Mendoza. So, we book an additional apartment in Pescara 60 for 4 nights for the girls.
From then on, it's all go, thermal pools, winery tours, malbec, cribbage, 3am nights, dancing, and road trips. One evening of note was joining locals in a restaurant club, all very staid and doing the tango. Within half an hour we had turned the place upside down and everyone on their feet and dancing. At 2.30 myself and Malcolm retired to our apartment and left "the girls" to continue to wreak havoc. I think we fit more in 6 days than we have done in the previous 8. Finally we book two apartments back in Mendoza city and have an additional day's rafting (again, fantastic and even more fun than the first time) before a final farewell meal at Azafran ( an amazing meal and a 2.5 hour experience) The girls are heading North on a three week road trip by car and myself and Malcolm are going back to Buenos Aries by overnight bus and an airline flight to the most
Southern city in the world, Ushuaia.............
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