Last journey across the Andes

Mendoza Travel Blog

 › entry 20 of 26 › view all entries
With the bikes at the hostel before setting off

The bus to Mendoza wins the prize so far for the most scenic route, it was incredible. Obviously I have been backwards and forwards across the Andes many times, but this was the best. The road zig zagged to the top of the snow capped mountains and then the bus drove into the covered over border post and we got our stamps all in one go. Really straight forward and they didn´t insist on pointlessly searching everyones bags. I wouldn´t mind if they actually made an effort to look, it would make taking all the bags off the bus and putting them back on again worthwhile!

After descending from the Andes the route was lined with huge green vineyards and Mendoza itself is lovely. I stayed in a hostel just outside the centre and met a German girl and a girl from Bristol.

Argentinian BBQ Asado
We decided to hire bikes and cycle to the vineyards for a day of sampling but it was already afternoon by the time we got the bikes. My only concern was cycling in the heat, but that was actually ok and the roads had a cycle route so it was relatively easy going once we got out of the centre. Even that was ok, given that everything is on the wrong side, the German girl had the hang of it so I trusted her to get me through the traffic lights etc! We spent the first hour getting lost and then arrived at our first winery to find that they are closed on Saturday afternoons, so we cycled a little bit further and found an Argentinian house, which is now a museum, it was owned by a Swiss and an Italian vineyard owner. It was nice to look around but disappointing to have cycled all that way without so much as a drop of wine.
Wine tasting
After 6 hours, pretty much not stop on the back I was glad to give them back and get a beer!

The following day we took it easy, as does everyone else in Mendoza, there was no one on the street and barely any traffic which explained why it was so busy the night before because the shops were open then and it was packed. It was nice to walk through the quiet streets, get an ice cream and visit the plaza and park. The park has a huge lake and the Andes form the backdrop, it was beautiful. The German girl was leaving that night so we went to a typical Argentinian restaurant and had their BBQ, we had various unidentifiable pieces of meat and later found out that we´d eaten the intestines of some animal, actually I suspected as much but it tasted ok. Obviously washed it down with some of the local beer, Andes, and went back to the hostel at about 12 to find that they had put all the tables outside and were having a typical Argentinian BBQ!! We joined in but didn´t eat.

Traditional dancing in the plaza

Despite the slight hangover, I went on a wine tour. I couldn´t leave Argentina without doing it. We drove into the Maipu region and went first of all to a place that produces chocolate and liquors. We sampled both. They have Dulce de Leche here, which is like caramel and you usually get it for breakfast to put on the bread, I´m getting addicted to it, so I chose that flavour liquor, it was a bit like baileys, hmm. Afterwards we went to a winery to have the production process explained, not much to see because they don´t harvest until the beginning of the year. We then got taken into a room with glasses on the table already filled for our first tasting, we learnt how to check the colour, smell and taste. I didn´t see anyone but the guide spitting it out though! After the Chardonnay we tried a red and had empanadas (like small pasties). We then went to another family run business which produces extra virgen olive oil and guess what we tasted that too! I thought that was it but we went to another small vineyard, it was really small and was in the grounds of a beautiful house. Here we tasted 2 reds, I don´t really like red but the Malbec was actually ok. I don´t know what the second one was but I didn´t leave any!

I´m now in Bariloche, its Argentina´s equivalent of the Chilean Lake District and just as pretty. I have booked myself onto a tour for tomorrow. Not really sure where I´m going but I made sure that it wasn´t strenuous, I think I can cope with listening to the guide in Spanish all day, if all I have to do is get out the bus and take a few pictures. Speaking of which I know I´m way behind with up loading any. I don´t always bring the camera and or disk with me and it depends on the internet cafe too.

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
With the bikes at the hostel befor…
With the bikes at the hostel befo…
Argentinian BBQ Asado
Argentinian BBQ Asado
Wine tasting
Wine tasting
Traditional dancing in the plaza
Traditional dancing in the plaza
Mendoza
photo by: montecarlostar