Mendoza - Bariloche - El Bolson
18.03.2011 - 23.03.2011 27 °C
I met Leandro at the bus terminal having easily navigated the metro system, im a dab hand at this after the London Undergroud! Onto the coach from Santiago to Mendoza, a 5 hr journey watching the mountains come n go. I fell in love on that journey, I love snowcapped mountains and a sense of peace descends on me as I arrived into Mendoza, the city of wine!
We stayed at the same hostel as Laura, meeting up with her for late dinner and a glass of wine. Naturally start as you mean to go on! However since we were all knackard we decided to have an early night, something around 1am?
The following days event was with Mr Hugo, his notourious wine tour reccommended to me by numerous fravellers id met along my trip. Me, Leandro, Laura, Dave, Solae and Lene got the bus out of the city to Mr Hugos, were supplied with bikes and more importantly wine, allowing us to wobble off on our self guided wine tour :-) we started with a chocolate tasting, absynthe included, as well as dulch de letche - best thing ever; spreadable fudgeyness! Having the warm feeling in our tummies we continued onto the furtherst winery so as not to have too hard a job coming back! We stopped for a lovely lunch of spinach and butternut squash pie with rice and (of course!) red wine then had a few more tasting sessions. Back to the beer garden to end the brilliant day if sunshine before returning the bikes to Mr Hugo and a fond farewell with yet more wine! We had met a trio of siblings during the tasing and had arraned to go out for dinner with them, so it was a race against the clock to get back in time and get ready- we failed being an hr late. However, still ended up eating with them, having a ball and a few more drinks before bed. I realisethis is the way to become Argentinian! Everything is later, chilled out and often spur of the moment?!
The next day (I'm not recalling days of the week, it all rolls into one long day after a while!) we all went horseriding with Matias, our hostel owner. We drove to a crystal clear blue (Azul- see I learnt colours!) lake perfectly reflecting it's scenery, before heading into the hills, condors flying above us! We arrived at Daniels house, our Goucho, where his 5 kids were soon being entertained by us - such cute kids! Then after a snack of home made doughnuts (om!) and a drink of Maté (herbal tea) it was time to saddle up! I rode Valentino, who I learned to trust despite him always wanting to be at the front of the crowd or next to Matias' horse (horses had best buds too it seems). Glorious weather, beautiful landscapes- we spotted a lama up the hill too!- and a yummy lunch of beef schnitzel (it wasn't, but I can't recall the name and it's the closest description I have at hand) with tomatoes in bread with wine. All in all everyone had a fulfilling day, proved by the silence of sleep in the car on the journey Home!
I had intended to leave the following day but in the morning when I went to buy my bus ticket from the station it was cheaper for me to leave the next day instead, which I didn't mind since I liked spending time in Mendoza. A city with a relaxed atmosphere. So when I returned to the hostel, asking Wout the Belgium tourguide what I should do that afternoon, I was suprised when he said paragliding! So, taking spontanity at it's word, I thought 'why not?' and signed up. However a Kiwi called Trent upped the anti by agreeing to it 5 mins after walking into the hostel, bein scared of heights to boot! So off we all went, to run(!) off a cliff, catch the wind and soar upwards with the birds! I had a fab tome up there, enjoyingthe aerial views, sunlight glinting off the mountain sides, tottaly at ease in the harness. On the decline we did twirls and swirls and then the landing came. Not the most graceful of landing but safe all the same! The of to the pub to wait for the rest of the team. After a few beverages, someone suggested an asado (BBQ), to which we all lit up in smiles. We definatley got spoilt that evening as two of the guys cooked chorrizo sausage, black pudding sausage, beef ribs and steak with green peppers and eggs as well as the most divine onions (yep that's right- never have they been so tasty) in the world! Wine flowed as did the food and fun was had by all. Finally a trip to a lookout over Mendoza, it's lights twinkling in the dark of night.
I spent the next afternoon chilling out in the main Plaza with Tent after our attempt at shopping failed due to siestas! So we grabbed a tea and lemon pie and chatted about life whilst people watching. On the way back to the hostel i found a camping shop open so off i went to buy the final items I needed for Pataginia. I had a farewell dinner with Solea whih was rather yummy, grabbed my stuff, said farewels and got the bus south to Bariloche, a mere 15hrs away!