How Mendoza was meant to be experienced

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Mar 16, 2009

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Flag of Argentina  , Cuyo,
Tuesday, January 13, 2009

After our horrible first few days in Mendoza where we were both almost got eaten alive by bed bugs, got kicked out of our hostel for complaining about it and had unfortunate last minute mix up's to our wine country reservations, we need to reset and start again. When we arrived at the bus station in Mendoza we found a public telephone and within a few minute found accommodation right in the city centre for almost the same price as the horror hostel but this time walking distance from all the cities attraction.
Being in the city centre really made us feel as if we had just arrived in a new destination, which just brought the point home that, location is very important when finding somewhere to stay. Central Mendoza had a lovely atmosphere with wide tree lined streets, great looking restaurants, wine bars, loads of shops and beautiful parks. We didn't have much time left in Mendoza, so putting the wine aside for a day we chose to do something a little more adventurous and book ourselves onto a white water rafting trip for the following day.
White water rafting in this part of the world is meant to be great fun, and we were told that the rapids were a class 3 and 4 which would make for great day out on the water. The three hour rafting trip started high up on the Rio Mendoza River and took us down 25km of beautiful scenery and some awesome rapids. They weren't the biggest rapids we'd ever seen but the sheer number of rapids we went through kept the trip exciting and we even had a few rafters swimming.
After a days rafting we'd built up quite and appetite so started the evening at a great little tapas bar (Tasca la Plaza) before having dinner at a lovely restaurant with a huge wine selection and a menu to match. The restaurant offered a wine tasting flight which included three different red wines form the area which gave us a perfect opportunity to try the wines with our meal. We were particularly impressed by the Argentinian melbec which the country is renowned for.
Besides the great wines, Argentina was also famous for is great beef. The epitome of this was their parrilla, which means cooking grill or barbeque. I was surprised to find out that the name actually came from a grill that was used as a torture device by strapping a person to the grill and then applying electrical shocks to the body! Actually ordering a parrilla can be a little torturous as it's almost impossible for two people to consume that much meat. The parrilla arrived on table top grill with coals underneath so you could cook the meat to your liking at the table. The selection of meat included beef ribs, steak, chicken, blood sausage (yum), liver or kidneys and something that looked like intestines. We left defeated but can at least say we tried it and gave it our best shot!
Our last day in Mendoza was dedicated to trying more of the regions great wines so we located a restaurant where we could try premium wines by the glass. I ordered the lunch special which was a fillet steak accompanied with a melbec while Inge-Marie ordered a gnocchi with fresh vegetables. We had a great lunch and managed to try a few of the regions finest wines by the glass. By now we had fallen in love with the regions wines and even though we had to leave we vowed to continue the tasting in Buenos Aires, where most of Argentina's great wine ends up anyway.
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