Mendoza, Argentina

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

The drive from Santiago to Mendoza was amasing! We travelled through the Andes mountains. At times, it felt really dangerous as we were literally on the edge of a very steep, narrow road. We were so happy to feel the heat when we arrived in Mendoza. It was the first really warm place in a long while! We were starved so went for food straight away. We got a bbq chicken pizza and a bbq chicken wrap. It was one of the nicest meals we had in South America. The next day, we went walking around a local park which was only up the road from our hostel. That evening, we went horse riding which was brilliant. We were out in a really barren area that looked like the scene from a Western movie. The group was small and our guide was really nice and helpful. It was my first time (Patrice) horse riding so I found it a little nerve racking in parts, especially going up and down mounds but really enjoyable overall. We did this for an hour and a half before having a bbq with the rest of the group, the guide and the owners. There was so much wine, meat, bread and salad. We were stuffed! The owner shared alot of the native history with us. We found his stories on the gauchos (South American cowboys) the most interesting. The next day, we got a local bus to outside the city where most of the vineyards are located. Here, we rented bikes for half a day. We were given a map and struck off. We stopped at various vineyards (to get wine samples) and also visited olive oil/jam producers. Here we sampled marmalade's, spreads and locally made liquors. They had their own version of Baileys Irish Cream which wasn`t a patch on ours. It was an enjoyable day all round! That night, we went for a few drinks and met up with English lads from the hostel. Rather than going up North, through Argentina to cross the border to Bolivia, we were informed that it was much cheaper to go back to Santiago and travel up through Northern Chile. We had heard alot about San Pedro de Atacama in Northern Chile so decided to stop here for a few days before crossing the border. The bus back to Santiago was 7 hours, the onward buses to San Pedro ammounted to 26 hours. We watched plenty movies and slept alot. We were well used to long buses by now so took them in our stride.   
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