Wine, hiking and a little more wine

Trip Start Sep 25, 2011
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Trip End May 08, 2012


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What I did
mendoza andes trekking
Sunday wine tasting

Flag of Argentina  ,
Friday, April 6, 2012

I took a local collectivo to Bariloche autobus estacion for 1.20 peso or 30 cents.  left Bariloche at about 1:30 p.m. on an Andesmar overnight bus which was, by comparison, a real letdown from usual service and I plan to write a letter of complaint.   Everything from serving the same food as a snack before dinner and again as desayuno (Breakfast) and which was the usual sweet, white, non nutritional food product and alfajores (sweet multi layered cookies), melba toast in a packet, marmalade and another type of cookie...   same box both times.
Anyway that was only one problem, the second was the steward put on a movie after the bingo game, and once the movie was finished, it kept looping over and over, to the same music,  on the menu page.  Finally a passenger got up and fixed it only for a few minutes later, it  started again, and he  fix it again by pressing pause, to everyone's clapping.  The steward was not to be seen for several hours and believe he must have been sleeping.  The Dinner (cena) was the usual bizarre combination, a  piece of cold pasty looking pizza, a cold wedge of tastless potato loaf, a dried out bun, and a hot spinach crepe in white sauce!  with a half styrofoam cup of wine which he never came back to see if anyone wanted more all the same colour food, no balance visually or nutritionally.  This is my rare rant, but this was so extreme i had to relay it.  I do plan to write to Andesmar unless they haha monitor what is said on the internet.... 
Mendoza is in a desert but as it is irrigated, very green with wide boulevards and wonderful treed plazas (squares) with lots of benches.   i stayed in a little reasonable hotel as all the reviews of hostels that I read indicated some issue or problem or something.   So i got there in early a.m. about 7  and got a taxi from bus station and had a pleasant ride into town as I broke the ice early on as I  recognized the Supertramp song that came on his radio.  The cab driver pointed out the various plazas as we went by.  I arrived at the hotel early and there were no clean rooms but i could sit in their breakfast room and use their WIFI on my tablet and wait for one to be clean, which was about an hour.  
I wanted to do a wine tour and found the best reviews were about Ampora Wine Tours and they also had just begun to offer a "Sunday Wine Club" "http://www.mendozawinetours.com/ampora/wineconnection/index.html
 starting at 6 p.m. in a living room of the owner's apartment.  There were about 9 people, couples from New York, England, California/Australia and a couple of friends from Halifax/Montreal, and me.  We tasted 6 wines, including 3 Malbecs  which Argentina is famous for. The host for the evening introduced each wine but the conversation overtook, and became more important than, the wine!  Everyone was very congenial and we collected everyone's email addresses for future reference and I expect to keep in touch with Paola from Halifax.  The following Tuesday I did a tour through the same company to Uco Valley, where the newest wineries are located and some are building onsite hotels, further from Mendoza than the other valleys and which has an awesome view of the foothills so to speak, of the Andes which I hiked a little on the next day.
I was concerned that I would  miss getting into the  Andes to see them, as I was leaving on Friday for Buenos Aires but the tour guide suggested I ask at the Monkey tree hostel tour desk about their day trips to the Andes.  So I dropped in on my back to my hotel from the wine tour and signed up (after a few glasses of wine...) for a hiking trip in the Andes the next day!  The guide said I should have no problem, it wasn't mountain climbing as I said no way was I prepared for that... as the hostel was just a few blocks away from where I was staying, I said I could walk to meet them in the morning.  So I did, and had to wait for awhile for the group to be assembled, which consisted of me and 6 - 27 year old guys from the hostel, and a chicka from Holland who was staying with friends in another part of the Mendoza.  So it was a challenging day for sure, walking on what were old cattle/goat tracks on the sides of semi mountains, but the scenery was amazing, the group looked after each other, while my legs burned going up as I was carrying a pack and was not in my usual peak condition LOL!   I left Mendoza the day after that day, for Buenos Aires by Argentina Aerolineas and sat beside the owner of  Joffre and Hijas (daughters of which he has 4) Winery.  He said he markets their wine in Canada and some should be in Ontario. As I am writing this, I have subsequently found a bottle of Grand Malbec in an LCBO and a bottle of Merlot in Regina!
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Comments

Cleo Prellwitz on

You and six 27-year old guys hiked the Andes! Grrrrrrrrrrrowl!

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