Had an OK nights sleep on our last night in Valparaiso but there was some political election going on outside and involved people pomping their horns a lot!! We got up at 6.45am luckily my cheap watch woke us up in time to catch out bus to Argentina.
We left Valparaiso, and headed east to Argentina, we were going to get a night bus to save cash but we saw someone else's blog and they advised that the drive was amazing, and they were right 7 hours of amazing scenery going through narrow valleys, and an aching our neck's looking up at the huge Andes mountains.
The bus was pretty cool and comfy so the traveling was no problem, the boarder crossing was a bit of a pain in the ass, as we had to wait around for 3 hours doing nothing! But we had a lush steak sandwich which made up for it, steak in Argentina is amazing I've had like 5 already!
We arrived in Mendoza and hiked 20 minutes into town from the bus station sweating big time.
We hadn't booked any where to sleep so we were searching around for a good 2 hours and everywhere was either full or well expensive, there was a room for a £10 but the cells in alcateraz were bigger and cleaner, it was getting to 8pm and stress levels went up a lot, we thought we might be in the park for the night!!!!
Eventually we found this hotel right in the centre called Hotel Laser and this lovely Argentinian man let us in, we talked for 30 minutes god knows what about as he couldn't understand us and we couldn't understand him, he had awesome laugh and smile, and he gave us a huge room with 4 beds in for 100 pesos £14, legend! The shower was crap though a drip pretty much, oh well!! We headed out for a drink to celebrate sleeping under a roof! Then hit the sack.
I was woken up around 2am by a scared little Mishee thinking there was someone or something outside! So I doubled checked the lock and back to sleep we went!
The next morning we checked into a cheaper hostel, only 90 pesos, and the guy who worked at reception spoke perfect English, sounds really sad but we were both so happy! So we talked about tours with him and we booked a white water rafting tour and 3 nights, again right in the centre of Mendoza.
We checked in and walked around Mendoza, an amazing place, I cant say enough good about it, clean ,safe friendly, lots of culture and the people are so smiley much more than Chili in fact. When we struggled to order something they didn't look annoyed they just smiled, so, so friendly.
The city was leveled in 1861 by an earthquake and they did a grand job rebuilding it, they built the city with wide avenues, and spacious plazas. Every street in Mendoza is tree lined so it doesn't have a city feel.
After walking a few miles in 35oc heat not complaining (Well Mishee was hahaha!), we headed back for a cold shower and I got talking to a couple of lads, Bav from Portugal and Ryan from London, Ryan amazing guy who has just recovered from 4 years of cancer, from the brain all the way through his body he faught it and cam out on top, he's going to some amazing places and is learning Mandarin at the mo. Bav, quality guy, who spoke 6 language. Me and Bav had a table tennis war going on he won the series 10 to 8, gutted. That night us four had a few beers outside on the terrace talking about life the usual stuff that travelers talk about, what trip you on? How long? What job do you do? We should just give out cards I reckon to save the small talk! Before we knew it we had 10 or so of us out on the terrace having a giggle.
I did a beer and water run for everyone and came back and a couple from Washington were singing some beautiful music and everyone was in a trance listening to them, private Duo pretty special. We were up in to the early hours, that night, awesome day!
When we were in Chili we thought we weren't going to meet any English speaking people, it was quality to meet some new people again. Hostel bookers rock by the way and gives amazing information on hostels.
We had a horrible 7am start the following morning, a coffee and a croissant and we were out of the door on the way to rafting! It was a nightmare going around picking everyone up in the tour bus it took an hour, god knows why they didn't give a meeting point in the centre so we could just go instead of just waiting an hour on the bus, No common sense some people!
We really wanted to go rafting in New Zealand but couldn't afford it, it would have cost £100 there, we paid £18 here. It was worth it just for the drive and the free swimming pool and free coffee when we were there! The scenery around Mendoza is stunning with huge mountains and lakes, Mendoza region is very famous for its wine and for you wine lovers 70% of Argentina's wine is made here so a wine tour may be on the cards for you.
So anyway after tanning it right up at the rafting centre we got our wet suites and helmets on, Mishee looked so cute in her little hat, I looked like a right gimp!!! We jumped on another bus going up stream and we had our introduction to the guides, everyone was up for it and cheering on the way there, the main man asked if everyone spoke Spanish, we cringed and say no no!!! SO SO embarrassing, they put us with a smiley guide from Canada who spoke good Spanish and she taught us the commands in Spanish well fun, she was amazing and so enthusiastic about the whole thing, we were exited as well until Lindsey told us the procedures for falling out or getting stuck under the raft, ahhhhhh!
We jumped in the raft and with the command, Adalantay (forward) we started to bomb it down the rapids, within 2 minutes of rafting we hit this huge boulder and we were flipped 90 degrees over, hurling Mishee in my direction and knocking me backwards off the raft and into the water!!!!! Scared you may ask? I was bloody terrified under the water and didn't know which way was up, I came up though and Mishee pulled a very scared Adsta into the raft by his life rest. Christ 2 minutes in an hour trip I thought I was in a whole world of trouble! Hahahahahaha.
Quality trip, on this level 4 grade, one hour was plenty and the crew of 6 including Lindsey was buzzing, I was the only one to fall in out of the 4 rafts on the water, what a clown! Definitely recommend Rios Andinos rafting, ask for Lindsey to be your guide, if you struggle with Spanish.
Back to the digs, absolutely knackered I went out for one beer to say goodbye to the lads who were leaving the next day and came back and collapsed!
Nice lie in the next day followed by some boring hand washing and a steak sandwich for a quid, Mishee and I headed for park San Martin, a huge park, kind of like central park in New York but not central, we wanted a cheap day so we just walked and walked and sat on benches, it was hilarious because it got up to 40 degrees Celsius with no breeze and Mishee was really struggling so she sat under a tree while I tanned on a bench! So funny! Had to be there I guess!!
With 4 massive bottles of water in us we headed back through the posher part of Mendoza some lush houses, and to Mr dogs for dinner, another dinner for 6 pesos (£1).!! Grabbed some fruit and back to the digs for a cold shower, absolutely lush. We had a quite night on the sat outside and had a chat with a french girl called Julia traveling around on her own and got to know her.
The next day we check out another 40 degree day, will did a bit of walking and had a lovely had a sit down lunch, steak sandwich,fries and a drink for £1 each. We are just waiting for our 18 hour bus ride to Salta which is in Northern Argentina.
Its amazing when you find a place you love and some people you hit it off with, good times. This city has everything from horse back riding, trekking in the Andes, right I'll shut up about it now!
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