No excuses for not drinking wine

Trip Start Sep 19, 2005
Trip End Mar 19, 2006

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Monday, October 31, 2005

So today I fell off a horse. More of which later.

But in the meantime, I will tell you what a great place Mendoza is. Its really pretty, warm (SO nice not to be freezing for a change!), and produces wine and chocolates in great quantities. Secondly, peeople here seem to have a great life where they sit around a lot drinking coffee and wine. The scenery is spectacular, just at the foothills of the Andes. So all in all its definttely my kind of place and I'm sorry to be leaving tomorrow. Actually not for long as I think I will come back here after a stop at a place called San Juan for another couple of days, before heading into Chile for the second time.

So.... to backtrack a bit. Rebecca and I arrived at a ridiculous hour of Friday morning after a 19 hour bus journey from Bariloche. The journey itself was fine, and we had treated ourselves to posh 'cama' seats which made it a bit more bearable. We were accosted at the bus station by a guy from a hostel who offered us free a transfer to look at their hostel so we took him up on that but then decided we didn't want to stay there anyway, so sloped off rather cheekily. Anyway, the place we have ended up in is ok downstairs but the dorm is kind of delapidated and the bathroom seems to be shared by the world and his wife and their very muddy dog, but never mind its only a few nights.

The first day was spent trying to stay awake after the journey but Saturday was exciting as we visited 2 wineries and 2 chocolate factories. We got to do a tour of the cellars and see how the wine was produced and see the difference between a big slick operation and a family run vineyard. This area produces a huge proportion of Argentina's wine so there is a lot to see. Also the tasting was good! The first chocolate place was really cute, they had only opened their family business this year to the public, and they made chocolates, liquers and sweets. The second one was more of a huge factory but I am never one to turn down the sight of a huge vat of melted chocolate so that was good too.

And today, well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. No, really despite having a v v v sore bum, I'm really glad I did it. We pitched up at 9-ish to the horse riding place, and got straight on the very patient horses who were to take us up to the foothills of the Andes. None of your comfy saddles here, it was layers of sheepskin and the reins. We were led by a real live gaucho (albeit a modern one with a mobile!!) and rode for more or less 5 hours. The scenery was truly amazing, really beautiful and really worth it. We went up and down hills, along ridges and then stopped at the family's country house (shack?) where we had a barbeque with all his family and friends, assorted toddlers and loads of dogs. The point at which I fell off was going up a really steep bit when I should have been leaning forward and not back! I was a bit shaken and I was pretty glad it was towards the end of the ride and not at the beginning but we got there in the end. I think I'm going to have some pretty spectacular bruises though!! A quiet day tomorrow I think.

Anyhow, that's all my news so far, will write again soon lots of love Sarah xxxx
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