Wine Country

Trip Start Aug 11, 2010
Trip End May 21, 2011

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Tuesday, August 31, 2010

We took ANOTHER bus, this time further north to Mendoza, 16 hours. Buses have been a pretty major part to our travelling experience so far. On every bus journey so far, we have been given copious amounts of ham and cheese goods. ONE MEAL comprised of a ham and cheese rice dish, ham and cheese sandwich and a ham and cheese soggy swiss roll thing. Eleanor was very upset that a perfectly good cake had been mutilated in this way. It was a distressing moment. Other interesting things included having a warning light and buzzer above my head which went off every time the driver went over 90kph, that was fun at midnight and gave me dreams of being on an 80's game show for some reason.

Mendoza is the 4th largest city in Argentina though it feels like a small and local place. We loved Mendoza. It has a huge park complete with lakes, work out sessions to music that anyone can join for free- Eleanor did 10 minutes worth but struggled with the Spanish instructions and lagged behind the others. Within the park there were lots of BBQ areas filled with Argentinian families, bmx tracks, a football stadium, a museum and a zoo.

We checked into the centrally located Hostel Independencia, that we found in a guide book. This was a brilliant find and the best hostel to date due to its overall vibe. Eleanor and I took local buses to a Thermal water park set in the Andes mountain range. It was a good experience being in lots of varying temperature pools overlooking mountains and streams....that was until two huge herds of school children arrived. Nearly all of them were boisterous boys who didn’t come to relax. That night we bought a bottle of wine and drank with our new Irish friends that we met in the hostel.

There’s nothing quite like having a slight hangover just before setting off on an all day wine tasting tour on push bikes. Good thinking. The Irish couple, Claire and Declan, and Jason and Helen (who we had met in Puerto Madryn and stayed in contact with) picked up our bikes and headed off on a day of exploring vineyards, looking at wine processes and necking as much free wine as humanly possible. We also sampled chocolates and stopped for lunch at a random restaurant hut in someone’s backyard. Later, we drank wine on a terrace that overlooked vineyards as the sun went down. It was just perfect. Until we realised that time was running out and we had to get back into Mendoza to catch a bus to Cordoba. The 6 of us cycled back to the start-where we received more free wine, also a bouncy castle with jousting poles was set up for us. It was very funny and the loud music helped to get the party going, and it helped us to miss the next 3 buses back into town. Even though it was the last thing we wanted to do, we did manage to pick up our bags from the hostel, say goodbye to our new friends and catch the 9pm bus to Cordoba for a 10 hour journey. We were sad to say goodbye to Mendoza; the desert city is our favourite place so far. We loved it.
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