Tuesday, February 23, 2010


We pulled into the bus station in Mendoza around 5:30am. By six we were at the hostel, but since check-out was not until ten, we had to crash on the couch until the morning. However, this was no problem at all, it was so warm and dry that we were immediately asleep with the oscillating fan keeping us alive.

I woke up between nine and ten as I tend to do and was amazed at the hostel we had ended up with. Having had some pretty poor reviews online, it was clear that the standards were a little different in Mendoza. With a pool, grape vine covered patio:

an exceptional free breakfast of various pastries - fruit - coffee - yogurt - cereal - etc.. as well as multiple computers with internet..AND tons of comfortable places to lounge. It was so good to be back in Argentina.

We decided that we might take it easy the first day (after the night bus) and try to do the bike tour the next day. That was until we met Fabricio..

Fabricio is a young Brazilian from Porto Alegre who introduced himself to us by convincing us that we should do the bike tour through wine country that day with him and his girlfriend Helena. So there it was, charmed by Fabricio we were then finding out which bus would take us to wine country in Maipu (the next town over after a forty-five minute bus journey).

After getting off the bus we were immediately greeted by three young boys on bikes, from Mr. Hugo's - the company we were looking for. We followed them a few blocks to the shop, paid about thirty pesos per bike (around $10 US total), and were on our way down Urquiza towards our first bodega on Perito Moreno: Vina el Cerno

There we took a rather uninformative tour of the vineyard that practices more "traditional" methods, but I'm still not too sure what that means.. However, there was a wonderful bottle of white at the end of the tour that was a fraction of what it would cost in stores and quite refreshing on what was an incredibly hot day.

From there we had only a short journey back up the road to get to Tempus Alba. Quite the opposite of El Cerno, this bodega was sterile modernistic wine factory. With only so many hours in the day, we opted to skip the tour and head straight for the patio for a drink and something to munch on.

Conversation somehow turned to Chinese food and MSGs - which proved to be a hot topic for the guy sitting alone, sweating over his merlot - John from Rhode Island. John started telling us about the history of MSGs from a book he had read and next thing we knew he had become the fifth wheel in our trip through wine country.

With most of the bodegas closing soon, we decided to bike all the way to the end, see the Laur olive press, and maybe catch another bodega on the way back.

We didn't really pay attention to the tour. As interesting as it must have been, by this point we were a collective one-track mind. Jokes and wine and olives..no room for information.

Eventually we made it back to Mr. Hugo's where chilled red was waiting for us. Around dusk it was time to get back to Mendoza. In the course of conversation, under the fog of perhaps a bit too much wine, my camera was left on the 152 - never to be seen again.

It's hard to be bummed about anything for too long when you're traveling for months. Despite losing some possessions or having a rough day here and there - you always have to keep in mind that you are doing something extraordinary and to ruin it by being negative is far worse than losing an old camera or external harddrive..or even half a day in the bathroom.

So the next day, we walked around the city of Mendoza - taking in some of the wonderful plazas and parks throughout the city. We ended with a bottle of wine before the all-you-can-eat barbeque at the hostel.

The next day we got on our bus to Buenos Aires with full bellies, new friends, and a peace-of-mind we had been missing. We were on our way to our home away from home..

No comments:

Post a Comment