Drinking and eating: life's pleasures of Tarija
Trip Start Oct 25, 2011
97Trip End Oct 31, 2012
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Where I stayed
What I did
Lots of wine (and some vineyards n yummy foods)
Tarija city is located in Bolivia's only wine region at a pleasant balmy altitude of 1800m. However being as the road getting there from both the North and South is an absolute shocker (picture single-lane gravel roads and sheer cliff drop-offs to the side, something like 200km with take 8hrs) it is off the main tourist trail and consequently we hardly saw any other tourists the whole time we were there.
After a 15hr slightly hair-raising overnight bus ride from Sucre (being it was dark we didn't realise just quite how steep the cliff drop-offs were until we returned on our way out, although thanks to the bright stars we weren't completely oblivious) we had arrived at 6am on a Sunday. So what did we do? Not much, nothing is open at that time especially on a Sunday where almost nothing opens all dayhttp://residencialaltiplano.com/tarija.html.
As soon as the town was up and running again the next day, what did we do? Drink wine of course! First stop was a visit to the 'zoooligical park' where we perched ourselves beside a wee duck pond, polished of a $2.50 bottle of red in the sun and were entertained by many monkeys who lived on an island in the middle of the pond. Great entertainment! On our way back into town that afternoon we picked up another bottle of red and ended up polishing it off back outside our hostel room.
The next day we decided to sign up for a wine tour - "Ruta de los Vinos" for only $14 each. At 2pm that afternoon a large mini-van picked us up (total 3 tourists including us, plus one guide and one driver) and we proceeded to enjoy a great afternoon in the sun. We visited one large vineyard (Kohlberg) plus two further tasting rooms, and were treated to spectacular scenary in between. At each tasting session we were provided with accompanying salami and cheese, and on one occasion our host insisted that Aza and I finished off a whole bottle of red between us, seeing as noone else wanted anymore. We didn't complain. Unfortunately we ended the tour at the worst tasting room (although most scenic location - La Casa Vieja). This place was over 500yrs old and I doubt the wine recipe had changed at all in that time...one glass of wine was poured out of a large urn and shared through the entire room. Word of warning: it was positively vile!
Back in town that evening we walked past a salami and cheese deli and decided to investigate (only a block from where the wine tour bus had dropped us off)...an hour and a half later and only $9 poorer we had been treated to a a fabulous anti-pasto platter accompanied with another bottle of red
And on another food note: during all our mornings we enjoyed a fabulous full breakfast at XOXO Restaurant (sitting in the sun in main plaza). For less than $4.50 each we were treated to a decent cappuccino, fresh OJ, scrambled eggs, toast and jam, fruit salad, and 4 pancakes oozing in dulche de leche sauce. We loved Tarija!
We would have loved to laze around for a few more days, however having spent too long in Sucre previously (thanks to the Bolician strikes!) we had to keep moving, with now just over a month left to finish Bolivia and also test the waters in Argentina and Brazil...