Mendoza

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
1
64
300
Trip End Nov 04, 2008


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Where I stayed
Hostel Lagares

Flag of Argentina  ,
Thursday, February 28, 2008

 The bus trip this time seemed quite short compared to others. We started off from Cordoba at 11pm (with the noise of the Denzel Washington film "Man on fire" and dinner on board) and immediately fell asleep. At 8am we were woken up by the driver offering us coffee and biscuits...and nearly in Mendoza.

First impressions of Mendoza: its clean, its organised, there are more shoe and clothes shops than ever should ever see, and its has a feeling of safety which Buenos Aires and Cordoba were missing (even in the bus station where there were lots of police patrols).

The view of the Andes at the distance and a clear sky just makes this place a great one to walk around and relax, which is exactly what we did on the first day. Well, except the first 2 hours...

When we arrived we had noted 4 options of different hotels and hostels in Mendoza to check them out. They were all in the same area more or less.
- The first option was expensive ($140 pesos)
- The second didnt know if they had any free rooms until check out at 10.30 am (which meant waiting an hour)...why dont they ask their customers the night before! They need some organising there - but seems to be what all hotels do. They wouldn´t survive in Europe with that system "hello, we would like to book a room next week"..."errr we dont know if we have one until 10.30 of the same day"...dipsticks!
- The third did not appear in the street (probably old information)
- The fourth was a bed & breakfast and has just been overbooked. Luckily for us the lady at the fourth phoned another hostel and reserved us a room.

We were hoping to have no problems in Mendoza given its end of season and there are so many hotels. However, we didnt count with "Vendimia 2008" which starts this next weekend. Its the wine harvest and here they celebrate big time given its the main wine region of Argentina (shows, concerts, events, etc).

Also apparently many Chileans come over to do their shopping as its cheaper. So its before school starts shopping week also!

Anyway, with accomodation sorted out, we set off to walk around the town, and walked, and walked and walked.

All the city is covered in trees and all the streets are straight so its quite easy to walk around and get to places. There is nothing "specific" to see here, but most neighbourhoods are nice to walk along and the shade of the trees is everywhere.

We ended our walk at the large park of San Martin, where there is a huge monument to "San Martin Liberador" - the general that lead troops over to Chile and beat the Spanish at Chacabuco...thus obtaining independence from Spain! Hurray! (Only for Telefonica to make everyone suffer 300 years later!)

The problem with these relaxed days is that you are constantly eating and tasting local food...at the end of the day we did feel the kilos had increased even though we had walked over 8 hours.

A few random comments:
- The Mercado Central (meat, fish, fruit, etc market) is wonderful.
- The San Martin Park is just huge and reminded us of the Retiro in Madrid
- There are plenty of "tenedor libre" restaurants (eat all a piggy can) for about $23 pesos plus drink.
- Both Schneider and Andes beers taste much better than Quilmes!
- Mr. Dog hot dogs are cheap...but terrible!

Anyway...no more for the day given we are going to get up early for a visit to wineries outside Mendoza.
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