I don´t know if I´m just getting used to sleeping on overnight buses
but the bus to Mendoza was my best sleep yet. It was an Andes Mar bus
and more expensive than most - about 140aud each but worth it for the
huge cama beds that almost go flat and better food. It evening arrived
We got to Hostel Alamo to bo told they double booked the room and they´d move
us to an apartment 5 blocks away but we wanted to stay at the hostel for various
reasons and then they ´found´ us a room so we were happy. The hostel is as
close as we´ve come to a hotel, it is quality. We´ve had some great places to
stay - only 2 bad ones in 10 weeks, very lucky.
Mendoza isn´t a great looking city like Buenos Aires - or perhaps we´ve just
seen too many cities - but it has a
nice vibe and the food
prices are the best
we´ve seen in Argentina.
The first day in a new place is always the same - dumping our bags and looking
around, planning the days ahead. We ate lunch at the Central Market, to a fish
stall that also sells gourmet fish meals that were the best food we´ve had for
a while and certainly the cheapest. The stall had no seating so we went to
another part of the market to sit, only to be told off by the security guard as
i predicted. We gott to play dumb that we knew no spanish and didn´t know what
he meant and sat there while he walked off in a huff.
We booked bikes for the next day to tour some wineries on our own - although
they book you in at certain times so it isn´t always leisurly. The travel agent
took our map off Michael and marked some great bars and restaurants in the city.
We immediately went to a rooftop bar that had a great view of the city
mountains and watched the
The bike winery visit was not our smartest idea: heat, alcohol and bike riding
long distance don´t mix. There are two regions you can visit - one a 12km ride
and one a 35km ride. We wanted the challenge so took the 35km trip to Lujan. The
bikes were in nowhere near as good condition as the ones in El Bolson and that
made it tough. As it is summer, the temperature was 30 which is a bit tough for
such a trip with a few vinos. The ride to the first winery - Escorihuela - was
easy as it is in the city near where we started. It was built when the city was
still small. I liked its wine best. We were wobbly after one drink and the
sunshine but we were late so had to keep moving to the next winery which looked
close according to our not-to-scale map but took about 1.5 hours. We mostly rode
on an ugly highway with no shade - no fun! About ten minutes before we reached
Altas, the streets became tree-lined
and beautiful. Tierras was a modern
winery with its own lake and actually grows grapes there - whereas Escorihuela brings them
in from further away.
Our final winery was only 5 minutes away which was good as we´d run out of
steam! A huge German-owned one called Weinert. I wouldn´t buy their wine if
what they gave us was a good example! They had a wicked underground cellar
though which was a perfect escape from the heat. We were worried about riding
back as the journey there was so tough but we stopped off for a late lunch and
the sun went in, taking the heat with it. Best of all the ride home was all
downhill so it was an easy ride home, even with the city traffic.
The next day was time for a girly day so I sent Michael on a 3 hour abseiling
and trekking adventure while I had my hair done and shopped - finding some
bargains even though the Australian dollar has gone
down further to 63 cents! Michael did a 2
hour trek and 1 hour abseiling. The trek was very steep and it was hot so I am glad I missed out! The mountains near Mendoza aren`t that picturesque - more like Peru, the land is more dry and there aren't trees on them. El Bolson and Bariloche have the best mountains of the trip.
We spent our final day in Mendoza at the Parque San Martin - it was a Saturday and the
sun was out so the locals were running around the lovely lake and enjoying coffees at some of the nice places. Mendoza was a nice enough city for a couple of days and the weather is certainly perfect (in winter it only gets down to 21 degrees!)but we could have skipped it and stayed in the Lakes District a bit longer.
For now, it is back to Buenos Aires for just 3 more nights before heading to Europe.