Weekend Trip to MENDOZA!
Mendoza Travel Blog› entry 7 of 13 › view all entries
My Weekend in Mendoza
I left for Mendoza on Friday evening at around 8PM. It was my first time ever taking a long bus ride, and frankly I was very excited about it. I was very surprised to find the Chevallier bus so spacious and comfortable. The seats reclined very far back, and the bus was almost completely empty, allowing us to spread out and lay down. On the way down we watched Man on Fire which was a great movie. I also did some reading on the bus ride(since it was so long), and read up a little on Mendoza, as not to be naive when I got there.
When we finally arrived in Mendoza I was eager to go to our Hostel, as it would be a first for me. Formerly I had always had a bad connotation associated with hostels, thinking they were run down and more for homeless or the very poor. I had asked around and got much reassurance from everyone on the trip (primarily those who have had several Hostel experiences). Also when I was reading up on Mendoza, they specifically mentioned how nice the hostels were, and that some even had wine tasting. When we arrived at 213 Corrientes St. at Hostel Lagares I was pleasantly surprised.
As soon as we got there, I put my belongings down, and started planning the activities for the day. Since many of the tours and activities are only in the morning, we decided to take an afternoon wine tour. It was great, and was a total of 30 pesos. Everything was very easy to coordinate, as we just told the receptionist at the Hostel what we wanted to do, and they called the travel agency and booked it for us.
In addition to visiting two wineries, we also visited a chocolate and liquor place, and an olive farm where they specialized in various olive oil. Everything was very fun, and the 30 pesos was definitely worth it!
When we got back Lynn, Brice and I all went out to eat at Facundo (on SarMiento St.) recommended by Sebastian the receptionist. We discovered, as soon as we walked in and observed women in fur coats, that we were completely underdressed, and that it was an upscale restaurant. We decided, although in jeans, not showered, and no makeup on, to eat anyway.
Saturday Morning: Horseback riding and Canopying through the Alps
The title explains the day, but one cannot really fully explain it without having experienced it. I woke up at around 8:45, had a wonderful cup of coffee and a croissant and off we went. This time it was Brice, Eric and I. The drive to the Andes took about an hour. We arrived at the farm, and a horse was picked out for each of us.
I absolutely love the country side, primarily because I feel it is great for a peace of mind. I also have had a passion for horses, and horseback riding in general. These traits I get completely from my mom. I vividly remember going horseback riding with my Dad, Mom, and Sis in North Georgia. Dad in general has never been much of an animal person, and Mimi being the girly girl that she is had difficulty getting her horse moving. Until, that is, it went flying up a hill 100 miles per hour, throwing her underneath the horse, while she was desperately holding on for her life. It was definitely a sight to see, but ever since they she swore off horses.
Anyway, although I clearly remember this day as if it were yesterday, my experience today will never compare. Granted it would have been amazing if I could have shared this experience with my mom as I know that she would have loved every moment of it, maybe I will take her next year to Argentina (when I have a job of my own, and can afford to buy her a ticket!)
The air was crisp and clean, not like that of "Buenos Aires". There were no cars, no taxis, no busses, no POLLUTION. No homeless people to break my heart, no pedestrians running left and right. Only the horses ahead and behind of me, with the quiet and serene people gazing around wide eyed as I was. The Andes are the largest and longest range of mountains I had ever seen, combined with the lush trees, the rivers between the mountains, the crystal clear water, and the entire sense of complete serenity left me completely speechless. I felt as if I were in a movie with the most breathtaking beautiful scenery I have ever seen.
Choosing to do a half day of horseback riding was a good decision, primarily because we were there for such a short period of time, and it allowed us to do
other activities (such as canopying), and because my BUTT and BACK started hurting so bad!
Anyone that knows the littlest about me, knows that I enjoy anything extreme, and that I have always been, and will always be a thrill seeker. Basically if you want to be blunt: I am an adrenaline junky! ha. After horseback riding, we were picked up and brought to another area about 10 minutes away for our second adventure of the day: canopying.
We were in the middle of the Andes and we zip glided from one mountain to the next. It was a bit chilly outside, but we all managed. I was so excited that we all convinced Brice to go because initially she was very scared, and kept contemplating “what-if” scenarios. We all had a great time then returned back to the hostel. The entire group waited on each other to have dinner together which I thought was very courteous and thoughtful (gotta love the caliber of people at GT!)
Our bus was scheduled to leave at 4PM so we decided that our last activity would be paragliding. I was excited about this, but knew that it was not going to be as thrilling as everyone had expected. I guess my levelheaded expectation was due to my prior disappointment when parasailing. I knew it was going to be much more of a calm and relaxing ride, rather than my preferred exciting rush. Either way, it was something I wanted to experience, especially since it was in the Andes.
When we got there, the scariest part for everyone was the ride up the mountain. Very narrow and rock roads, with cliffs on either side was an adventure in itself. I was not terribly frightened as it reminded me a lot of Akbar’s driving through the mountains in Lebanon. (although they were courteous enough to take the turns slow as not to fall of the cliff, unlike Akbar).
When we got to the top of the mountain Lynn and Brice were the first to jump. Eric and I had to wait at the top of the mountain because they only had two parachutes. We waited till Brice and Lynn were done, time to pack up the parachutes, and time for the people we were being strapped to to return back to the top of the mountain. All of this unfortunately took about 1 hr and 15 minutes. I laid down, put my headphones on, and took a nap at the top of the mountain•it was tremendously relaxing.
When they returned there was absolutely no wind, NONE. It freaked me out because the jumpers could not speak English very well, and I was trying to make out exactly what they were contemplating over. We waited for about 45 minutes, they would make us walk from on side of the mountain, then they would claim the wind wasn’t good on that side, then we would return back to the original spot. We moved a total of four times and it absolutely freaked me out. Then when the smallest burst of wind came by, the guy I was attached to was like “stand up, run, run, run”. I did exactly what he told me and thankfully everything worked out. I guess the scariest part, besides the lack of wind, was the language barrier.
The bus ride back and a lesson learned:
The bus ride to Mendoza was very cozy, relaxing, and entertaining, and I was not so bummed that we were taking a bus back. They played a bootleg, no name, horrible movie on the way back. Brice and I were sitting next to each other, and we both wanted to lay down, so I moved to the back of the bus. I wrapped my purse in a little ball, put it under the chair, and put the huge foot rest over it. When I woke up, I went back to my seat to discover that my wallet, my $300 IPOD, and my $400 camera were all stolen. As I feel any normal human being would freak out, I definitely did. Every word known to man came out of my mouth, I was raged with so much emotion at one time I did not know how to control myself. I always told myself that I would never let myself get attached to monetary items, and I realized that I did exactly that. Although I feel like I have finally got over everything, occasionally it still hits me that I will have to bust my ass extra hard to save up the money to replace these items. I learned a very hard and important lesson here, and one that anytime I travel I will always remember, and be much more on guard.