We left Bariloche to discover the heart of Argentina. namely red wine and red meat, both of which we consumed with much enthuisiasm over the next three weeks. San Martin de los Andes is a quiet chocolate box town a couple of hours north of Bariloche. We chose this as a place to have some down time, we strolled around the town and did a very pleasant walk to a viewpoint over the lake and town. On route we spotted Banded Kingfisher and other exotic birds. Feeling recharged we headed for Mendoza.
Mendoza, famouse for its Melbec wine, is too big to be charming, especially when we had visions of Stellenbosch. It is however the home of the greatest steak sandwich I have ever had. It was so good that it has ruined the sandwich for me forever, once you have had the best nothing else is ever quite the same. It is also were Zo had her most dramatic haircut in memory. I think she was rather brave putting her fate in the hands of people who didn`t speak English and are still fans of ´big hair´. Thankfully the result is great and far more condusive to travel.
A visit to Mendoza is not complete without a wine tour. Ours started rather dissapointingly. We were served tiny thimbles of cheap crap from the first winery followed by grape juice, yes grape juice! The second was only marginally better. By this stage there was a slight sense of panic desending on the group, particularily on myself and the group of 6 kiwis we had now befriended. The third place was a brandy distillary and the servings were still small, but thankfully strong. All that was left of the day was the lunch that was included in the trip. This is when the day started improving dramatically. The tables were packed with more food than you could imagine all of it amazing, and our glasses were never empty. After lunch we were invited to enjoy dessert outside in the sun. It was when we stood up that we realised that we were all completely smashed. We lazed in the sun for a couple more hours drinking and generally experiencing good will towards mankind.
have to cut this short out of money to be continued......
The quiet drunken chat was cut by one of our Kiwi friends clumsily trying to befriend a shy group of Canadians who had been with us all day. Out of the silence came "Where are yous from" when they didn´t respond he point at them and and said "Yea, I am talking to yous." He didnt mean to sound aggressive but the poor guys did not know what to do, it didnt help that the reat of us were on the floor in hysterical laughter. The day ended, as all good wine tours should, with a bottle of red being passed around the bus and everyone necking it.