Trip Start Jul 31, 2005
Trip End Feb 18, 2007

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Saturday, November 18, 2006

The High March to Argentina's Wine Capital

We experienced an ear-popping 6 hour ride up and over the still snow capped Andes to Mendoza, a city of around 1 million inhabitants in the main wine producing region of Argentina. The sky is blue, the temperature is hot and the city's terraces are buzzing with outdoor drinkers and diners.
We haven't had weather this hot for ages, and it's a nice feeling to be able to go out at night with t-shirt and sit outside and eat. For some weird reason it took us ages to find some accommodation, must be because of Argentina's recent tourist boom. In the end we settled on renting a fairly spacious, but far from modern, apartment in the centre with Billy and Vanina. Marc and Billy went food and drink shopping down the local supermarket and were just amazed at how cheap everything was. We literally bought tonnes of stuff for breakfast for the next two days, and drinks including two litres of beer and a bottle of nice wine for less than 20 US dollars. The cheap prices seemed to extend to everything, from eating in a restaurant and drinking in a bar or cafe, to taking a taxi and buying quality clothes. Although Bolivia and Colombia were very cheap countries, the cheap prices didn't come with this great quality.

Barcelona's Twin Sister?

With it's grid system, it's architecture, it's tree lined streets filled with terraces, and it's climate, the city instantaneously reminded us of Barcelona. We thought that Chile felt quite European, but in some ways, Mendoza feels more European than Europe.

Bicycle Wine Tour

After a couple of days of lazing around drinking and eating, we decided to take a cycle tour around the surrounding countryside to visit some of the wineries. I normally get board stupid when visiting wineries, but I'm pleased to say that these visits focused more on wine tasting and the lectures about the production processes were kept to a minimum.

Aconcagua, South America's Highest

After a few days, we say bye to Billy and Vanina, who due to time constraints are not heading back into Chile but straight down to Bariloche. Just before we leave this great city ourselves, we take a day trip to visit the view point towards Aconcagua, the highest peak in the world outside of the Himalayas. Although we kind of felt that we had to see the South America's highest peak whilst we were on it's door step, it didn't impress us as much as some of the Andes peaks which we saw in the Cordillera Blanca around Huaraz in Peru. On the way back to Mendoza, we made a brief stop at the Inca Bridge, a colourful natural arch which forms over the Varas river.

Next, it's back over the Andes to Santiago. 
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