Wine, Ice cream & Bedbugs

Trip Start Dec 25, 2009
Trip End Aug 02, 2010

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Where I stayed
Hostel Empedrado

Flag of Argentina  ,
Sunday, January 17, 2010

The bus ride from Bariloche to Mendoza was absolutely stunning. Catching a bus is a slightly stressful experience however, because you have to listen out for your bus on the speakers, and the speak so fast. The bus was also delayed by 3 hours, which was a pain, but I was lucky to have met a couple from Mendoza who were also catching the same bus.  The girl (Silvana) is training to become a Spanish-English translator so spoke very good english.  Her family gave me a lift to my hostel when we finally arrived in Mendoza, which I was very grateful for.

I had originally booked in to stay 3 nights here in Mendoza, but when I arrived I met 2 danish guys (Christian & Mads aka Sony) who were staying in my room and I was really inspired by their not-do-anything-but-relax-attitude, so I then decided to book in another 2 nights here and just relax.  Mendoza is a desert town so they have very deep ditches (that you have to be careful not to fall into!) next to all the roads to try and catch the water when it rains.  The town is also prone to earthquakes (in fact there was a grade 2 earthquake on Monday when I was here, although I didn`t feel it) so they have built the Avenidas (avenues) very wide.  The streets are also all lined with leafy green trees, which makes it very beautiful and gives a bit of shade which is nice as it is very hot here.  Apparently the temperature reached 40 degrees 2 days before I arrived, but since I`ve been here it`s been more around the 30 mark.  At least it gives me a good excuse to eat ice-cream! Generally the town seems quite quiet in the day time, and the shops are closed for Siesta between 1pm-5pm, which is actually quite uncommon in South America.  The evenings are much more livelier though, and during the summer they have markets and street performers in the main square every night, which gives the place a nice buzz.

I had one "touristy" day where I went to a neighbouring village called Maipu with a german girl (Christina) and a dutch girl (Charlotte) and we did a wine tour there by bike.  In the end we only went to the wine museum (which was free! Always appreciated), the chocolate factory (yum!) and one winery called Familia di Tommaso (which was one of the cheaper ones).  Most people probably know this already, but my wine knowledge is completely useless, so I learnt that Cabernet Sauvignon is a spicy wine where as Malbec is made with red fruits and berries and is slightly softer in taste.  The longer you leave a wine in the oak barrel (1-1.5 years is a long time), the less acidy it tastes, it gets a darker colour and is more fullbodied and richer in taste (because it`s had more time to absorb the tastes from the oak). It also means you can leave it to mature longer in a bottle (up to 9 years).  2004, 2006 & 2007 were very good harvested years in Argentina, whereas in Europe 2005 was a good year.

The hostel I`m staying in is very nice, relaxing and cheap!  They have good communal areas, 2 big kitchens, a pool, 3 computers (!) and a nice patio with hammock-like swing chairs. Unfortunately I managed to get a bed that had bedbugs in it (not so nice!) so woke up covered with red dots without knowing what it was, but when I actually found 6 bugs in my bed (yuck!) I managed to move beds and washed all my clothes (they have a free washing machine here, thank god!). 

Tonight I`m staying with the family of the girl I met on the bus which I`m really looking forward to as being in a family/home environment is quite refreshing after hostel-life for almost a month.

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Silvana on

You´re welcome any time!!!

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