Trip Start May 16, 2007
24Trip End Ongoing
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Comfortable bus ride and arrived in Mendoza at 11:30am. Checked into hostel. Not exactly a great hostel for the facilities. The shower and toilets were communal with no screens over the showers and the dorms were rather cramped. But the hostel did have a very central location and was rummoured to be good for the social life.
After checking in I went for a stroll around town with an Irish girl I met at the bus stop also going to the hostel. The town seemed nice enough. However, we found the gem of the city later on in the arfternoon. The park or known here as Parque San Martin I found to be a great place to stroll around
At the hostel in the evening I simply enjoyed some very good raviolli by the house chef and a very relaxing beers whilst chatting with the staff members.
I decided to join a tour from the hostel to go trekking, abseiling and visit some thermal springs. The ride in the mini-bus took about 40 mins from Mendoza. It was a very nice sunny day but it was still rather cool. The trek up the mountain took around 2 hours. This trek afforded the group some fantastic views. The mountains here were actually rather arid looking and did not have snow covering them. Mountains off in the distance still had a covering of snow though.
It has been a little while since I last abseiled
After the abseiling and hiking it was time to a well earned lunch in a small out of nowhere place.
Following this it was time to relax our muscles after the hard yakka in the nearby thermal springs. Ah very relaxing. Somehow though I was the only person to find the outdoor springs. The rest of the group was located in the first springs which were under a canopy. However, initially I felt no desire to share them. Another special moment on my travels with myself soaking up the sun in thermal springs in winter. After 45 mins on my own I thought it was time to let the others in on the secret.
There were actually 2 other Australia lads on the tour group as well. As such we put our thinking caps on and decided to be a little stupid. In the valley below the springs there is a creek with icy cold water running from the Andes. Yes, you guessed it the three Australians decided it a good idea to go for a swim in the freezing cold water
Back at the hostel it was pizza and beer night (two of my favourite things) with all you can handle for $25 pesos (bargain). My ears pricked up when I heard that there was a good selection of punk rock being played. So I got chatting with the staff (who were all fantastic people, very helpful and whole lot of fun). It also happened that the 2nd leg of the Copa Liberatdorre between Boca Juniors and Gremio was on the tv. My adopted South American team won fairly comfortably. As such the celebrations flowed from the hostel out into the streets where it got a little crazier. Ah I feel very much welcomed by Mendoza.
Being in the wine capital of Argentina it was high time to sample the local produce. An Irish and English girl and myself decided we would go on our own winery tour. So we caught the local bus out to Maipu which took about 45 mins for $1.4 pesos. We hired our bikes for the day and set off. The road out here was not very good at all, so it was not exactly easy cycling.
Anyway we arrived at out first winery and we could of easily stayed there all day
Eventually we got the motivation to head to another winerey. This winery certainly was not as nice. However, we were greated by a lovely lady who provided a very informative tour of the winery with of course some very good samples.
Off to another winery then. Time had got away from us so we had to make this winery our last for the day. Lucky for us then that this winery provided some more fantastic wine in the wonderful sunshine. We also enjoyed some great finger food.
Previously I would say that I am definitely not much of a wine guy. But enjoying the Marlbecīs here in Mendoza, Argentina could quite possibly change that. A very enjoyable day indeed. Unfortunately we now had to cycle back which was a long ride
Well we made it back to the hostel with some sore muscles from cycling but with big grins on our faces. So it was time to head out for a couple of drinks at a local pub. After which I had been invited by one of the staff from the hostel to come check out a local band play.
The band is called Bokanegra who are locals from Mendoza. They played at a nice little place called Soul Cafe for $7 pesos. Feeling a bit peckish we ordered a platter which was unbelievably good. It was very tasty but far too big to finish off. We enjoyed various kinds of cold meats (Argentina have some very good cured ham), cheeses, mushrooms, mussels and many other food types. The band were actually quite fantastic. I really enjoyed the show. Despite not understanding the words, I was able to appreciate the music and the performance. It was quite an original sounding band but if I had to provide some comparisons I would possibly mention early Incubus, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and maybe some Tool. Regardless of categories I had a great time seeing the local band.
I decided to try do a bit of internet communications (it takes so long trying to upload photos). After a few hours it was time to enjoy some local cuisine. I found an all you can eat place serving up some very good steak for $15 pesos. So I thoroughly indulged and ate more than I should have. Then it was time to walk it off with a stroll in the park. So I returned to San Martin Park and discovered some new areas.
After this I decided to book my bus ticket to Salta. Although Iīve had a very good feeling about Mendoza and could comfortably stay for longer.
Later on in the evening the hostel put on an all you can handle bbq and wine night. So of course I had to join in. More excellent meat and wine in Argentina, ah these guys know how to live. The place was actually quite packed. So after everyone had as much wine and bbq as one could handle the tables and chairs were removed to make the dance floor open up. Some terrible dancing followed on my behalf. But it was another very fun night in Mendoza.
Checked out of the hostel after being asked by one of the staff if he could buy my Dropkick Murphys shirt off me (no way). Went for a walk around the city. Decided to do some more internet duties. After which I enjoyed some more fantastic steak and Marlbec for lunch. Then I chilled out in Plaza Independencia. I came back to the hostel and simply hung out with the good people of the hostel. I also attempted to further my still dodgy Spanish but didnīt get too far. Then before long it was time to catch my 8pm bus to Salta. Well so long to another city that has been most enjoyable. I possibly might have to come back to enjoy some more wine, steak and good company.