Cordoba and Mendoza

Trip Start Oct 08, 2005
Trip End Oct 06, 2006

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

This is how I spent my time in Cordoba: I arrived at 7am, went to bed for 5 hours, went to a cafe and did a bit of shopping with a girl in my dorm, started drinking beer at 6pm, went to a club until 7am, went to bed for 5 hours, went to a cafe, then slept until I got the bus out. So if you asked me what it was like I can tell you that there were a couple of really beautiful churches and a fantastic university building and, er, thats about all I know. The night out was excellent - the club was heaving with men, most of whom were creepy, and some cute little Argentine girls took pity on us being hassled so much and acted as our bodyguards. It was like being a celeb - they only let men near us if we said ok! I got a chance to practice my Spanish as hardly anyone spoke English, and weirdly the more drunk that I got, the more I could speak it until I was practically fluent by the morning!

So after that culturally enlightening couple of days (ahem), I moved onto Mendoza. Its gorgeous here - its a small city, with wide tree lined streets, and hurrah, its sunny and warm! Most of Argentinaīs wine is produced here, and its good. I did a tour of a couple of bodegas (winerys) and tasted some lovely Malbec and Cabernet, and have officially been converted to red wine. Restaurants here are excellent, with huge wine cellars, and its so cheap that its rude not to partake of the gorgeous steaks with a bottle or two. Iīm suffering a little as I write this as a result of overindulgence last night...

But the main reason I wanted to come to Mendoza was to get out of the city and into the mountains - the Andes to be exact. The air in the cities in Argentina isnīt the cleanest, it seems like everyone smokes, and Iīve had a cough since I arrived, so wanted to get out into the fresh air. So I did. I spent one day trekking through the lower mountains where its almost desert, very arid and dusty but very beautiful. But it was no ordinary trek, occasionally we would come up against a sheer drop in the rocks, so we had to abseil down them. As you do. The first couple of drops were only 10m and 8m, so quite manageable, but the last one was 45m. Bloody high. I nearly bottled it, I have to admit, it was completely terrifying lowering myself over a ledge holding onto a rope, I would much rather have tied a rope to my feet and jumped off head first, more comfortable with that! (Except I would have smashed into the rocks...) But I did it of course, and lowered myself 45m to the ground below. Phew.

The next day in the mountains was more sedate. I went right up into the Andes, where it had snowed really heavily in the last few days. Just had a mooch around, played in the snow, saw some Inca ruins and watched people ski. Its lovely up there, the mountains are stunning, obviously the trip stuck to the touristy areas, but in that weather it was hard to get really into the mountains. In the summer I bet its incredible.

I could hang around Mendoza for a while as there is tons to do, but Iīm off again tonight to a national park. Argentines have it so good - beautiful country to enjoy during the day, and fantastic food and wine to while away the evenings. I am loving it here.
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