15 Jan 2014 – 19 Jan 2014
The ride into Mendoza was an incredible sight. On a normal day, the road through the Andes is an experience in itself. You would think that at night, the true beauty of the magnificent Andes would be obscured by the darkness, which is what I thought. But some time around midnight, I was woken up from my slumber by someone sporadically shining a flashlight in my face. I roused myself with half a mind to put them in their place for being idiotic, but it was I who had been the idiot. It was no flashlight, it was the moon, in all her full glory, lighting up the entire Mountain range where her soft light fell. My camera was too shitty to take a good picture, but I spent the next two hours watching the scenery before we arrived at immigration, a painful process that took about 3hrs and killed any hope of getting decent sleep.
Anyway. Fast forward to Mendoza.
If Valpo and Viña were cold enough to warrant wearing my jacket around all day, Mendoza was the complete opposite. I arrived at 7am in the morning and in the 20 minutes it took for me to walk to a cafe with WiFi so I could find a place to stay, I had soaked through the T-shirt I was wearing. I found a hostel and checked in, and was happily eating my second breakfast of the day when some random people at the hostel invited me on a wine tour they were going on – one of the things Mendoza is famous for is Malbec wine. I was dead beat from the exhausting ride to Mendoza, but figured why not and decided to join them anyway.
It turned out to be quite a fun adventure, visiting the vineyards on bicycles, although because we set off kinda late, we only managed to visit one vineyard,
where we had a really nice picnic after the tour,
one olive plantation
and one beer garden.
It was still a delicious experience though, stamping the different wines and oils and dips and spreads and drinks produced by these places.
We got back to the hostel and headed back out to get some dinner (Mexican food!), which was a pretty good chance to see the city by night.
It’s a really clean city, compared to the other Argentinian cities, and is rather interesting because the entire city sits on an irrigation network that allows trees and plants to grow, despite the dry climate in Mendoza. The city was also almost entirely rebuilt after the earthquake some years ago that practically destroyed everything. Very cool stuff.
I went to bed with the intention of sleeping in the next day, but my stupid body clock woke me up pretty early. Or maybe it was the heat, because it was suffocating. The temperature registered a high of 45deg that day, so the only thing I did all day was go to Rio Mendoza with Dario, a CouchSurfer who offered to show me around, and sit in the cool waters, relaxing.
In the evening, we headed to home of Teresa and José, friends of Dario, and we hung out there, talking about this and that and generally chilling out the best we could in the stifling heat.
They invited us to lunch the next day, so we headed over there for a nice lunch, a wade in the river behind the houseand a short nap before heading to check out some of the main sights of Mendoza.
And BAM, suddenly it was raining cats and dogs, and we got drenched sitting in the park, which only moments before had been torturously hot. Crazy weather.
Dinner was an asado (!) with Dario’s friends, which was delicious, but I was completely exhausted by that point, so I went to sleep pretty early.
Saturday was one hundred times cooler than the previous days, because of the storm and the fact that it rained again during the night. I didn’t feel too well, so I mostly stayed in bed and wandered around the city in the afternoon. It really is quite a pretty little city, and I quite like it.
I went to bed pretty early after doing some research on where to head to next, and woke up early as well, seeing as how I had to check out at 10am. I bought my bus ticket from the girl at the reception (how convenient – saved me a trip to the bus station!) and set out to find an Internet cafe to transfer my pictures out of my almost full camera. That was a complete failure – it being a Sunday, absolutely nothing was open. I really need to plan my long bus rides such that they occupy the whole day on Sunday, and I don’t end up with situations like this. -_-
In any case, I only had a couple of hours to kill before my bus, so it ended up being a pretty chill day before I left for CÓRDOBA!