Not the nicest place we´ve ever been to!
Mendoza Travel Blog› entry 26 of 34 › view all entries
We arrived in Mendoza after a the shock of nearly missing our bus from BA and made it to our hostel. We got chatting to an Australian couple who invited us on a bike tour of the wineries. After a bit of a slow start (finding the right bus, getting the EXACT change because otherwise you couldn´t buy a ticket and also getting dropped-off in the wrong place!) we finally found the bike hire place.
It wasn´t really the sort of area that we expected it to be. If you imagine France´s wine regions with rolling hills, chateaus and classic villas, it is very different to what seemed like a giant, flat industrial estate! We started peddling to the first bodega (wine house), however after a few miles, Jeremy´s peddle revealed itself to have been broken and we had to call the bike people to come out and fix it! After waiting in the first wine place for an hour, they eventually turned-up! Jeremy had already broken protocal because he had a cerveza rather than local wine (so did the Aussie though!) - but it was hot , at least 33c and there was very little shade on those roads! After managing to make it to only one more winery (where the wine wasn´t half bad!), we had to head back to drop the bikes.
Eventually we made it back to the centre of Mendoza - which wasn´t in any way an attractive place - most of the original colonial buildings had been replaced by concrete monstrosities. It certainly didn´t feel a very welcoming place, we were stared at by many people (although we were walking next to Israelies who certainly don´t mind drawing attention to themselves!) - and the experiences of many people at the hostel turned-out to be the same. Over the next couple of days we heared of plenty of petty crime that we wouldnt have expected to hear about - bag snatches at the bus station from some Belgians at our hostel and stories about muggings in town and on the wine tour - not pleasant.
We organized a trip to head to Aconcagua (the highest mountain outside the Himalayays and the sight of the filming of Seven Years in Tibet, starring Brad Pitt) and also to the Puenta del Inca - a natural rock bridge formed by the Rio Mendoza. It meant spending most of the day in a minibus and the guide wasn´t particularly inspiring "Was there much Inca Empire influence in this area" Jeremy asked "Yes" was the unsure response of the guide! 4 days was simply too long in Mendoza and were kicking our heels on the final day and fortunately we hadn´t stayed anywhere else like it and we wouldn´t recommend visiting there - Salta and Cafayete in the North are much more sedate.
We left Mendoza most happy to be on our way! Arriving at Bariloche after the 22 hour trip was like arriving in another world! Our hotel is an absolute dream!