Wine flight in Mendoza

Trip Start Mar 17, 2008
Trip End Jun 08, 2008

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

... so we awoke to clear blue skies and hot sun in Mendoza on Tuesday - always a promising start, GB feeling a bit groggy with a suspected cold but not bad enough to keep her from exploring for a few hours until we boarded our bus to San Rafael. Having walked for a short time the previous night to find dinner (it had got late as we were chatting with an English girl in the hostel about her experiences in Rio) and eventually splashing out 4 pounds for a shared "salada especial", which I think meant it had egg in it, we set about seeing Mendoza by day - and a far better prospect it is too.

Weve enjoyed the fact that everywhere weve been its been possible to explore on foot, Mendoza was no exception. A slight delay in the proceedings though, for some crucial maintenance, GB to be waxed(!), and me to replace the blue Adidas shorts that have courted so much "feedback" from family and friends who have viewed our earlier trip photos.

Anyway, those essentials duly completed we enjoyed a super sidewalk lunch washed down by a very generous glass of Malbec (of course). We worked out that the wine in UK would have cost as much as our entire lunch.

After that we explored Parque San Martin with its stunning Andes backdrop, long oval lake, rose gardens and lots of beautiful people sunning themselves at the rowing clubs exclusive pool. We made our way back to the hostel to collect our bags via Millionaires row - some gorgeous properties, and also via the street leading up to the University absolutely packed with bars and restaurants - something to remember for Friday when were back. (photos will follow shortly)

Then it was on to the bus station and a three-and-a-quarter hour journey to San Rafael in the heart of the Cuyo wine making region. Expectations were high.....

The bus journey was a laugh, another film was shown (Reign Over Me - superb performance from Adam Sandler I thought from what I could hear above the chatter of Argentine locals - these guys really know how to talk, they are amazing conversationalists, fascinating to watch), we dozed for a while; waking up with the bus pulling into its first stop. We got all excited at the prospect we had made excellent time (our naivety is quite touching sometimes), only to discover this was the first of 2 stops before San Rafael at which we would not arrive until 10.30pm. At this point it was 8.20pm. We sat back and relaxed, well tried to, but we were amongst some challenging fellow passengers. The two guys in the seats in front of us decided to recline them fully, despite my knee strategically placed to dissuade one of them, and they promptly fell asleep. Unfortunately I think both were labourers of the land and had not necessarily come into contact with soap for a while. We tried to blame the smell on the countryside that was whizzing by, but 100+ miles of "earthiness" was stretching it even in wine country.

For her part GB also had to contend with the bored 6-year old lad whose only source of amusement was blowing raspberries and using the back of her chair as a punch bag. After suffering in silence for 20 minutes her words were muted but unmistakable "Dont mess with me when Im tired" she said after glares at mother and son proved fruitless. I knew some kind of direct action was coming and she did not disappoint. One punch too many and the seat was fully reclined - at speed. Poor lad took the blow on the shoulder and sat very still for the last 50km!!

And so it was that we arrived in San Rafael (240km south of Mendoza) just before 10.30pm, only day packs to carry having asked the hostel in Mendoza if we could leave most of our stuff there, and made our way on foot to the Red Wine Hotel. Again weve hit the jackpot with this place, absolutely lovely, just 9 rooms, seven of which are empty, a sweet courtyard garden with a small pool, hammocks, deck chairs (not a German beach towel in sight) and lawn - and walking distance from 3 bodegas, La Abeja, Jean Rivier and Bianchi. We expect to sample each during our 3 days here.....
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parkerich on

Re: Whwer words fail- music speaks.
Hola Mum,

Sounds like a star studded evening. I'm sure you impressed the audience. I hope it was a good evening.
We're now in Chile, in Santiago, and are about to head out for a very lazy, late lunch in the bohemian area of Bellavista. As I've been laid up for a few days with a nasty chest infection, I've taken the opportunity today to finally get out and about and we've been soaking up the sunshine and the sights. I had my first meal out last night and am looking forward to a nice, tasty lunch today.
I hope all's well at home and that Charley isn't scaring too many of the locals, or George, with his 'prized possession'!! I'm sure Eloise is delighted to have it at home and I wonder if it will be donated to Emmanuel House very soon.....!!
Thanks very much for your updates. It's really nice to hear from home.
Lots of love,
Carmen & Pablo xxx

parkerich on

Re: Sorry you've been poorly
Hola Mum,

Definitely feeling much better today, there can´t be much more snot/gunk left in my body now!!! I have been taking full advantage of the 'siesta' concept but ready for a nice walking tour of Santiago today so we can experience some new areas.
Sounds like Dad & Will were busy yesterday with the chainsaw. Is the woodburning stove at home or a new edition to the Church....?
We´re currently trying to find accommodation in our next destination - La Caldera - further up the pacific coast, so we can chill on the beach for a few days before hitting the desert.
Have a good Monday.
Lots of love,
Carmen & Pablo xx

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