Leaving Wine Country

Trip Start Apr 27, 2009
Trip End Apr 27, 2010

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Where I stayed
Trotamundos Hostel Mendoza

Flag of Argentina  ,
Monday, January 4, 2010

Today is the last day of my extended stay in Mendoza over the festive period. It's a beautiful city and I've really enjoyed my time here. Tonight I catch the bus back across to Chile and the costal town of La Serena.

Mendoza is one of the biggest wine production areas in Argentina and I couldn't stay here without going on a tour of a couple of bodegas. I decided to head out to Lujan de Cuyo on the local bus and walk to some bodegas rather than doing the popular cycle tour across in Maipu. As I'm not really a big wine drinker, especially red wine, I didn't think there was much point dragging myself around too many places when someone had given me recommendations for 2 that were virtually across the street from each other. I had a little confusion about which bus I should get, the first driver took me 1 stop and said I had to wait for the next bus there (the same destination and number!) for some reason that I didn't understand. However, the next driver took me the rest of the way and stopped right at the first bodega which was handy!

The Lagarde bodega is one of the oldest in the area and they still use the same process for producing the wine that they did when the company started. Although they use some machinery much of the work is done manually, such as putting the corks and labels in place. I went on a tour and managed to understand more of the Spanish than I thought I would. Mind you, a lot of it was quite self explanatory - lots and lots of wine bottles on display! After the tour we got a taste of the champagne and 3 of the wines that Lagarde produce. I had actually tried one of them earlier because I arrived a while before the tour started and they gave me a taste to pass the time (this travelling malarky is hard work you know!). However, I hadn't realised that the one I was sipping was the top of their range and sold for 220 pesos a bottle (about 35). I have to say that it was probably wasted on me as I have no idea about wines but it tasted quite nice....for a red wine anyway! Not bad value for my 20 peso tour fee though!

Next I headed across the road to a much smaller bodega and got a personal tour since no-one else was around. The set up was very obviously on a much smaller scale than Lagarde but the process was pretty much the same and I got a free taste of another wine once we were done. After all my tastings I think I drank more red wine on 2 tours than I have in my life and I'd had enough. I have no idea how people manage to visit 6 bodegas in a day and still keep cycling!! I caught the bus back into town and stopped for another fab ice-cream on the way back to the hostel. I think I'm going to miss the ice-cream once I move on, it's some of the best that I've ever had.

I'll also miss San Martin park. I've spent a lot of time walking about the park and round the lake and rose garden. It's also a really nice place to sit and read a book, although I can't do it for too long cos I get annoyed with the ants crawling around! I definitely won't miss the mosquitos though - they'll probably miss me, I think I've been feeding a whole colony of them!!

It's been strange to spend Christmas and New Year somewhere warm (especially seeing the weather this month in the UK) but certainly not a bad thing. At times it's been a little warm for me but I'm pretty sure it'll be more bearable on the Pacific coast of Chile. First I have to head back over the Andes - I'm a little disappointed that it'll be in the dark because the route is so beautiful but I'll try and catch some sleep instead of gawking out the window.
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