"Wake up wake up, the wine is waiting for you!" was the old man sitting behind Tom and myself giving us a light shake as we rolled into Mendoza.
The hostel that the kiwis had already booked was one of I think 5 sister hostels in the hostel international group. We were super keen to waste no time so confirming our reservation we sat down with one of the hostel staff who took us through all our tour options for our time in Mendoza. Seeing the wine country was our priority,we'd spoken to plenty of people who all said it was a must see.
Out of pure luck there was an opening in the wine and bike tour for that afternoon, we were all over it. Had a couple hours to kill where we just checked out the city and got a feed to line the stomach for what was going to be nothing less than a red wine massacre !!
We visited 3 wineries.
The first was a completely organic vineyard who really prided themselves on the lack of additives used such as sulfate aswell their pesticide free crops. Really cool to see the old methods in action and obviously still working a charm. Learnt abit about the fermentation processes also but the reason everybody is there is to get a taste of some Argentinas finest. Sampling both a white and a red we decided the first purchase to kick start the day and give us the necessary pedalling power needed to conquer the remaining wineries would be a complete organic sulfate free Malbec red - GREAT DROP .... Wtf would I know !!?
Skulling from the bottle as we hooned down the high way doing tail whips in a tipsy pelaton.
The second winery was alot more technologically advanced however still considered themselves a boutique winery when their production amount was far superior to that of the organic.
When it came to the tasting here the guide from the winery explained how to view the body of the wine by swirling lightly in the glass and inspecting the speed at which the Legs fell. Then to 'sample the aromas' , funny the types if flavour a you can detect when your told what to look for .. And the final stage - the taste ... Salud!
DC's glass had already disappeared before step one.
Had some technical difficulties on the leg to the final winery where I found myself changing bikes and having the pass the yellow jersey on to Matty and DC.
The last stop basically ushered us straight into a tasting room gave a 3min speal and started filling glasses... Think they are used to the fact that everybody is pretty heavily inebriated by this stage of the game. Bus ride back to the hostel was definitely far more festive than the ride to the first vineyard.
Couple of Canadian girls came back and had an Asado (Argentinian BBQ) dinner at our hostel. Me and Matty called it a night around 12 while Casanova Tom stayed down stairs for another hour to swindle his magic with the best of the group who on a good day was a steady 5. Later coming back up to the room and boasting how the following night he was going to be a "sure thing" .... Righto Tommy
Very early rise the next day as we began a long bus tour up into the high Andes. A massive day leaving at 7am and returning at 7pm. We made various stops along the way; some of amazing lakes and mountain ranges and another that dated back to the 1700s that was an unbelievable hot spring hotel. Really quite hard to describe but in those days the mountains surrounding these waterways had contaminated the waterways with there copper and sulfur and due to the high altitude made it ideal for curing various skin diseases. Pretty bizarre. Now these elements in the water are too strong and people are urged not to go in at all as it burns your flesh ! At least that was my best interpretation. Easily the highlight was when we got to the main viewing point of the high Andes : the highest peak Aconcagua which is over 6.9 miles above sea level. You could feel the altitude. This snow capped peak is the worlds second highest plateau only behind that in Tibet. Standing in the middle of 360° of intense mountain ranges was breath taking. Loved it... Met a cool girl on the bus from Latvia !! She found it weird that I was so interested in her I just didn't know anybody else actually came from there other than my grandma... She spoke 4 different languages fluently , made me feel like a real under achiever actually.
Even the bus ride home gazing out the windows at these astonishing mountains and lakes was worth soaking in every second.
We got back and were locked into a pizza party at one of the sister hostels. Really fun, met back up with Rosie and Elise from cordoba and got introduced to Mark from the UK who I ended pairing up with a week or so later. Quite possibly one if the most impressively interesting guys I'd met yet! At the age of 27 and Having been travelling all over the world solo and captaining and working on boats he quick became a bit of inspiration and some one to look up to for me. We drank, ate pizza and talked s*** with another Aussie guy Heath and his sister Ranna while Tom was apparently engaging in some debotrurious penetration in the hostels unisex bathroom with his less than impressive Canadian 5.
We left the hostel and headed to the club were it did not take long for me to find my way to bar top. Standing up tall and yielding a fresh bottle of whisky which the bar man handed me I began to free pour into patrons mouths. Needless to say my demise came about an hour before close where Tom and Matty found me stone cold unconcious in a chair. Once the lights came on my limp carcus was then Hauled into a cab where the boys took me home to my bunk. Waking with a spew bucket next to your head can only mean one thing... I tore s*** up last night!
Tommy woke me in the morning and said we have to get up and check out. The kiwis stayed an extra night while me and Tom took what seemed to be a mystery bus into the middle of no where to his family friends farm in San Rafael.
Sad to part ways with the kiwi bro's but confident we would be crossing paths again shortly..
Time for some farm style R and R after milking Mendoza for everything it had in just over 48hours