Mendoza, Valparaiso & Santiago

Trip Start Aug 23, 2012
Trip End Aug 20, 2013

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

This is going to be a quick one as it's our last few hours in South America…

From Buenos Aires, we set off back into Chile for our last few days in South America. Remembering our plan to go into business selling descriptions of wine to wineries, we decided to head back to Mendoza for more practice. A lot of biking and 2 wineries later, Daryn has once again come up with a host of apt descriptions for all types of wine; I suspect his description of one particular cabernet sauvignon as having an 'alcoholy burn’ will be a big seller for the 2013 year. We did a degustation tasting with the owner of one winery who confirmed (secretly – probably because he himself was a bit drunk) that you need a huge amount of imagination to describe wines and consume a huge amount of wine to actually taste the flavours described on the label.

The following day we, along with half of the population of Mendoza, headed out to the local thermal baths located at the base of the Andes – about an hour out of Mendoza. The day at the baths offered a bit of everything -  cold pools, warm pools, hot pools, and a thunderstorm complete with walnut-sized hail at the end. In line with South American safety standards, a thunderstorm doesn't mean you need to get out of the water, just change to a warmer pool.

Departing Mendoza, we crossed over the Andes (which included what was undoubtedly the longest border-crossing we’ve ever done - 3 hours) to arrive in the wonderful city of Valparaiso. The city is very wonky – very bohemian with masses of colourful buildings, loads of street art, friendly kitties and not a single straight road (it makes London look like a grid system). After hours and hours and hours of walking, we spent our final night sitting in our hostel room with the windows wide open listening to classical music playing from somewhere down the street while shaving Daryn’s head; it was very relaxing – probably less so for Daryn as I was holding the razor.

Our final South American stop: Santiago. As we’ve already posted about Santiago I will keep this short: we ate ice cream, drank margaritas and went to the pool… that’s pretty much it.

South America has been absolutely amazing, the blog / pictures do not do justice to how beautiful this place is; it should be on everyone’s overall lifetime bucket list.

We will miss the Andes, Patagonia, and the rainforest; the weather and freshwater pools without chorine; cheap beer, the menu-of-the day’s in the northern countries and the parrilla’s (meat grills) in the southern countries, dulche-de-leche biscuits and maxi-quesos (cheese flavoured crisp); luxury bus travel as well as the kind people – those who tried their best to understand our poor Spanish and those who pretended to understand what we were saying and were kind to us anyway.

There are also a few things we won’t miss: white bread, white bread and white bread; absence of toilet seats, jello (daryn is scared of jello, he thinks it’s unnatural), tasteless cheese, local clothing (the tee-shirts all shrink into bellyshirts after 1 wash), restaurants not opening until 8pm, working with different currencies (i.e. trying to figure out if $1100 pesos is a good price for coffee), expensive crappy sunscreen and – most frustratingly - daryn not being a able to use the only two spanish phrases he can say perfectly: ''there is a cat on the table'' and ''the kitchen is green'' - neither of which will get you very far...

Next stop: Auckland!
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Wendy on

Hi Jana & Daryn, wow what a fabulous time you guys are having! I am enjoying reading all the bloggs. Hahaha Daryn's Spanish is like my German - I can only say "no" or "that is the stool" hence I tend to head for the Caribbean or Canada ( naturally avoiding the area which annoyingly speak French).

Much love take care and drink wine plentifully- but not when cycling;) xxxxxxxxx

Evelyn on

Well you guys ,you certainly have seen some of south America. would you like to live there? so now off to a new travel adventure.Hopefully the Tem. will be more to your liking.

Mom & Dad on

We loved following your awesome adventure in South America and the pictures were fabulous. We can not wait to see what your blog will have for all of us for the next 7 weeks in New Zealand, I"m sure more outstanding pictures can not wait. Have a great time and take care

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