Argentina
Departamento de Guaymallén

Here you’ll find travel reports about Departamento de Guaymallén. Discover travel destinations in Argentina of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

60 travelers at this place:

  • Day284

    Mendoza

    February 14 in Argentina

    On our way to Mendoza we flew over a huge mountain range – reminding us of flying into Cusco with the plane seemingly not high enough above the peaks. Once over the mountains, the landscape became very flat and dry.
    A downtown Airbnb apartment served as our base. Dangerously, it had Netflix. While we caught up on a few series, we also managed to get out and about a bit.
    The downtown was bustling and full of restaurants, cafes and wine bars. Many of the buildings were charming, but not nearly as impressive as in BA. While it felt safe, we were put off by many of the small corner shops taking orders through barred windows – even in the middle of the day in nice neighborhoods.
    Wine country was a change from Chile with the main difference being there seemed to be hundreds of small, independent wineries near Mendoza in contrast to what seemed to be fewer, bigger ones in Chile. The tasting fees were also far more reasonable (~$10-15 instead of ~$25-30), likely because of so much competition. We visited a few wineries (including the sparkling wine maker, Cruzat) and had lunch at a beautiful wine lodge. The vineyards were pretty and the wine delicious with huge mountain ranges visible in the distance.
    On one of our days here, we took a drive back towards the Chilean border through a stunning desert landscape. It made us wish we’d taken the bus here instead of flown so we could have seen even more. We were surprised to learn that the highest mountain outside of Asia is here, called Aconcagua, an impressive 6,962 meters (22,841 ft). Luckily we had a clear day so had very good views on our short hike near the mountain. We enjoyed the city and would recommend it for a visit, but the highlight for us was the nearby mountains and landscapes vs. the city itself or even its’ wine country.
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  • Day41

    Mendoza - Wein, wein, weimn ...

    February 26 in Argentina

    Wir also mit dem bus so nach Mendotza. Hat fiil jereschnet. Und wir dann so sex tage mit Wein, wein, weimn wweikbn frkzx ofrnvcrlnl wwrtzzg bmlüüifesv gewdde bugezk wein lotdgdd gff wein nvfev wein ghvk sex n jvlvifc olkhdqfcb vkb vb vhjjbv wein nkh kb jbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb ...

    Next: Flug (FO5450) nach Iguazu am 1.3.

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    Okeoke. Natürlich gibt es noch ein paar weitere wenn auch teils verschwommene Erinnerungen an Mendoza. Wir waren ja nicht nur betrunken. Aber endlich mal. Auch das Saturday-Night-BBQ im Hostel in Mendoza City entpuppte sich als eine richtig steile Sause. Ausserdem haben wir ja das mit dem Mietwagen nochmals versucht via Rentalcars, den Pfeifen. Und was soll ich sagen? Es hat geklappt. Wobei, ich wollte ja einen Tesla. Weiss. Und schnell. Wie mein über alles geliebtes „Schinkenbrot“ eben. Aber Tesla gabs nicht, also haben wir etwas sehr ähnliches genommen. Also das Gefährt, das die nach dem Preis aufsteigend sortierte Liste als erstes ausspuckte. Das Resultat? Ein scheusslich hässlicher Chevi „schiessmichtot“ von einer Firma namens Cactus. Mir reicht die erste Silbe. Ich hoffe Sue hat keine Fotos gemacht. Was würden denn alle meine versnobten (Private-)Banker-Freunde von mir denken? Wobei, da sind ja nur noch Dani und Isli, und die sind ja eigentlich ganz cool ohne Schlips.

    Wie der Tesla hat auch der Chevi, der ziemlich sicher im Kofferraum vom Tesla Platz hätte, ... äh, vier Sitze. Ohne Leder. Damit enden die Gemeinsamkeiten aber auch schon. Zumindest für mich. Naja, schalten macht ja auch Spass und dank Pedro Fictivo (aka The Stig, https://g.co/kgs/DYAuS2) haben wir ja hautnah miterlebt, wie wenige Verkehrsregeln es effektiv zu beachten gibt in Südamerika. Dieser Umstand dürfte den Tesla-Autopiloten sowieso eher ausbremsen. Und so schlage ich die vom Navi errechnete Ankunftszeit dank altmodisch manueller Fahrweise bei jeder Gelegenheit und sehr zur Freude von Sue. Denke ich. Ihren Kommentaren nach zu urteilen, ist sie auf jeden Fall sehr bei der Sache. „Es isch ROOOT!“ ... „do chasch NID überhole!“ ... „das langed NIE!“ ... Tss.

    Wir nutzen das kleine Scheisserchen also, um mit überhöhter Geschwindigkeit und doch total lässig und entspannt - „flüssig“, wie The Stig es nennt - von einer Weinerei zur nächsten zu cruisen und uns allerlei Wein präsentieren zu lassen. Guten Wein. Das können sie hier wirklich. Und nachdem wir uns in Santiago irgendwie schon wieder an den ganzen Luxus gewöhnt haben, entschieden wir uns neben den teils schäbigen Hostel-Zimmern in dieser Woche für drei Übernachtungen auf drei verschiedenen Weingütern. Das hätte auch einen perfekten „smaak!“-Ausflug ergeben. Salentein ist wahnsinnig imposant, Gimenez Riili sehr familiär mit toller Küche und Cecchin? Hm, Cecchin ist Bio, einfach nur Bio.

    Jaja, kosten tun so Winery-Guesthouses natürlich einiges mehr als ein Hostel. Aber wenn man berücksichtig, dass jeweils noch eine Tour, oft ein Tasting und manchmal sogar noch eine ganze Flasche Wein auf dem Zimmer inkludiert ist, ist es immer noch scheiss teuer. Aber man gönnt sich ja auch sonst alles und die verbliebene Speckrolle sehnt sich seit Wochen hartnäckig nach Gesellschaft. Sue für ihren Teil kontemplierte ob der selbst gewählten Unterkünfte, dass die Reise dann wohl schon im Dezember enden könnte, man aber vieles gesehen und möglichst nichts ausgelassen hätte. Ich lächelte, nickte leicht und dachte mir nur „deine vielleicht“! Wir werden sehen. Go Bitcoin, go!

    Ein kurzes Video dazu gibt's hier: https://youtu.be/Jmx8T7ep8iM
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  • Day49

    Das Hauptbild hat heute eindeutig Martins Bike verdient. Es zeigt: Ein Motorrad kann auch ohne Seiten- oder Hauptständer auskommen. Ist der Sand nur genügend tief, dann steht es bombenfest. Ein herrlicher Moment, wie sich das Hinterrad ohne jeglichen Vortriebswillen einfach in den weichen Sand wühlt und Martin lässig absteigt. Die Eingrabungsstätte seines Bikes befindet sich zwischen San Juan und Mendoza. Genauer gesagt auf der Routa 153. Die verheißungsvoll mit ein paar schönen Kurven auf Teer beginnt. Dann in stabilen Gravel übergeht. Dann den einen oder anderen Bachlauf kreuzt. Und sich schließlich in einem Flussbett verliert, so dass wir nicht mehr weiter kommen. Erkenntnis des Tages: Das Schild "Calzada in mal estado" muss man ernst nehmen. Doch noch ernster ist der Hinweis "Calzada erosione" einzustufen, denn er signalisiert, dass die Straße im Grunde aufgegeben wurde.

    Das alles kam so: die eigentliche Fahrstrecke heute beträgt nur gut 150 km, schließlich soll genug Zeit in Argentiniens Weinparadies Mendoza sein. Phil, Will und Bernd wählen auch die Botega-Option, während Oliver, Manfred, Martin/Katrin und meine Wenigkeit (begleitet durch Marc im Van) beschließen, den Fahrtag durch einen kleinen Ausflug ins Gelände zu würzen. Wir scheitern allerdings mit dieser Idee grandios und zweifach. Nicht nur wegen des beschriebenen nahtlosen Übergangs der gewählten Straße in ein Flussbett, der unserem Tatendrang nach 40 km ein jämmerliches Ende setzt und uns zur Rückkehr auf gleichem Wege zwingt, was als schwere Männerniederlage gelten muss (Tipp übrigens an alle möglichen Nachahmer: niemals Einheimische fragen, ob die Straße befahrbar ist, die Antworten haben bestenfalls Unterhaltungs-, jedoch keinerlei Informationswert). Sondern auch, weil wir zuvor schon mit der Routa 5 eine fragwürdige Wahl getroffen hatten, die uns mit schwierigen Matschpassagen konfrontiert.

    Vergleichsweise safe ist es, im Schritttempo am Pfützenrand durch die glitschige Brühe zu schlingern. Und natürlich ist das auch die ratsame Strategie, zumindest für Hobbyfahrer wie mich. Doch irgendwie flüstert mir vor einer dieser Durchfahrten ein kleines Teufelchen ein, ich möge es doch einmal mitten durch mit etwas Speed probieren ("don't be a pussy"), und wäre es nicht wirklich ein hübscher kleiner Triumph, wenn genau dies gelänge? Bereits im ersten Drittel des Schlammlochs dämmert mir allerdings, dass der schmierige Untergrund keine idealen Voraussetzungen für mein Unterfangen bietet. Im zweiten Drittel trennen sich dann die Wege meines Vorderrads, das gerne nach rechts möchte, und des Rests der Mopeds, das sich für links entschieden hat. Im dritten Teil schließlich sind sich alle Kräfte wieder einig, aber eben nur die, die nach unten zeigen, und schon trennen sich Fahrer und Motorrad. Ergebnis: Mensch und Maschine sehen aus wie nach einem gemeinsamen Moorbad. Reumütig fahren wir eine Querung zurück zur Hauptstraße ...

    Doch ich bleibe mit meiner Bodenberührung heute nicht allein. Manfred verläßt das Sportgerät in Richtung Büsche, als er am Rande einer Pfütze aus dem Tritt kommt. Und Martin wirft später sein Moped im Sand weg, genau an der Stelle, wo er sich zuvor festgefahren hatte, nur eben auf dem Rückweg. Allein Oliver kommt unfallfrei durch, sorgt dafür aber beim abschließenden Tanken für den Lacher des Tages, als er sich an der Zapfsäule vergreift und sein Bike mit Diesel befüllt. Doch irgendwann ist auch dieses Problemchen durch Abpumpen gelöst, und wir tun das, was abends in Mendoza alle tun: Rotwein trinken und leicht blutiges Grillfleisch essen ("medium rare").

    Footprint zusammengefaßt: Doppelt gescheitert, viel Spaß gehabt.
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  • Day34

    Day 2 - Mendoza

    May 6, 2017 in Argentina

    Waheey I finally get to write on 'our' blog. Today is (was) Blake's birthday. The big ole 31 or trinta y uno as we are now slowly starting to learn our numbers. We had no alarm set which was nice and were in no rush to get up.

    Now before we left we had a lovely dinner round Danny's and Libby gave me a birthday card from them which she asked me to smuggle in my bag until the big day. Luckily I some how managed to do just that. And even better, Libs left it open with no name on the back so if found it would look less suspicious. It also allowed me to scribble my name in nice and fresh whilst Blake had jumped in the shower. I don't think that this was noticed...

    We had bought some food the day before to make a picnic and headed off to the park Portones del Parque General San Martín for lunch. We arrived at the park and headed to the information centre to grab a map, we then chose to head towards the big lake in the middle for the feast. By feast I mean some posher bread than we were used to and some pâté with some cheap and cheerful crisps on the side. I know what you're all thinking, this guy knows how to treat a lady!! After we let the food go down we continued to walk around the park until we got to Eva Perons house. If you remember Eva featured in a previous post and was a pretty big deal in Argentina. We headed back to our Airbnb from the park as that afternoon we had booked to do a sunset horse ride with an Argentinian BBQ and Wine after.

    We were picked up in a mini bus and driven out in to the desert like area before entering a winery where the horses were kept. We scribbled down our details for the 'insurance' and were led outside to meet our new friends. These four legged friends seemed very tame and well behaved but we were told one important rule! Don't let your horse eat!! As soon as you do this he will take advantage of you by stopping when he wants to eat, the frequency of which will increase until your horse just won't move anymore! With this in mind we were helped onto our steed and off we went. Out the winery gate, across the road and onto the path leading up the foothills. I was about third in the line and between Blake and I was the slowest horse ever with a pretty terrified English lad on. He was told to hit his horse with the stick every 30 seconds so he would keep up but I'm pretty sure he was happy with that pace so Blake was about 200m behind most of the way up. As we got higher and the sun got lower the views started to get more and more breath taking. We finally made it to the highest peak of 1100m where we all lined up for a group shot.

    On the way down we were reordered so that the horses wouldn't kick each other on the way down. One horse in particular liked to kick most of the others but apparently mine was safe so we got lumbered behind him. It didn't matter for too long as the English lad from before whose hose was fast asleep before had woken up and decided to run down half the hill over taking most and plonking himself near the front much to the dismay of its rider who I'm sure was almost screaming as he ploughed passed us (another important rule, do not let the horses overtake at all costs as they may start fighting). The way back down was even more beautiful than the way up as we were facing in the direction that the sun was going down. With the cloud there were a lush mixture of reds and purples all over the horizon.

    Now on the way down Blake was behind me and I heard a loud 'oh no' and some laughing. If you remember the number one rule from earlier you can imagine my entertainment when I turned round to see Blakes horse tucking into some yummy grass with her yanking the reigns with one hand and tapping him on the arse with the other. I'm pretty sure he took no notice and only carried on when he wanted to! From then on it was a constant hilarious battle to make it to the end!

    We did finally make it to the end where we were greeted by some wonderful smelling MEAT on the BBQ!! I had been looking forward to this meal ever since we booked it. We had a mixture of sausages and about a quarter of a cow in various cuts and sizes accompanied by some delicious potato things and some salad which I obviously didn't touch. We also had help yourself red wine to wash it all down with :)

    After we finished eating our guide grabbed a guitar and played some songs which we all got involved in. The red wine by this point was helping us all ;) my particular favourite was hit me baby one more time by our Britney! After we had consumed as much as we could and sang all we could we headed home.
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  • Day303

    Mendoza, Argentina

    March 12 in Argentina

    We are engaged!!! Mendoza is famous for its beautiful vineyards and wine tasting! Andreas and I rented bicycles and planned on a day of riding from vineyard to vineyard. We went with a group of people from our hostel.

    To the good stuff, how he popped the question! At the second winery (MEVI Bodega Boutique) after a delicious tasting, Andreas suggested we go on a walk through the grapevines. Another girl in our group said “let’s all go,” but Andreas said "no, let’s go just us." I thought that was a little strange, but agreed. As we were walking down the steps Andreas was acting a bit odd and I thought this is it! Because I am a crazy person, I immediately did a sneaky check of both of his front pockets for a ring box bulge. I didn’t see one so I thought okay, it’s not happening, enjoy the walk. As we were walking through the vines and I was busy commenting on grapes, Andreas said “Whitney...” I turned around and there he was... on one knee in the dirt holding out a ring. My jaw immediately dropped. He said “... I forgot what I was going to say... I love you! Will you marry me?” Obviously I said “YES!!!” Andreas knows I am super observant, so he hid the ring in his back pocket! We went back inside the winery and everyone was cheering for us! The owner gave us two glasses of very special wine to celebrate! We ended up buying two bottles, one to drink now and one to mail home (great sales tactic). We were on cloud nine for the rest of the day! Andreas later told me that he bought the ring back in Zurich airport and that the ring box has been hidden in a sock in his bag our entire time in South America. Sneaky boy!

    If traveling has taught us one thing, it is that Andreas and I can get through anything together and we have a ton of fun doing it! I didn’t think it was possible, but our bond and love for each other is so much stronger now than when we left (aside from the occasional argument when we are hungry, hot, and tired). He proves time and time again what a loving, strong, intelligent, funny, and beautiful person he is. I am so overjoyed that we get to spend our lives together. I am honored to be his FIANCÉ!
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  • Day36

    Day 4 - Mendoza

    May 8, 2017 in Argentina

    Today was the day we had both been looking forward to the most, the wine tour (well second for Simon after the BBQ).

    It was an early start with the guide picking us up at 8:30am. After driving around the city picking up everyone else from their various hotels we arrived at our first winery, Don Manuel Villafane just before 10am.

    Don Manual is a relatively small boutique winery but despite this it seemed like there were miles and miles of vines. The grapes are not grown on a canopy like we originally expected and the way my Grandad used to grow them in his greenhouse. Instead they are grown VSP or vertical standing position. This enables them to control the quality a lot more but means you get a much smaller harvest. When we were driving into the winery we noticed there was a rose at the end of every other row of grapes which they explained to us was an alarm system to protect the harvest from bugs. The bugs would always go for the red roses first so they would know if there was a problem before they started attacking the grapes.

    We were then taken into the winery to see the next step in the wine making process. Once the grapes are picked they are crushed and put into steel tanks with yeast. We each got to try some of the Chardonnay they were making in the steel tanks (yes it was only around 10:30am at this point). The wine wasn't finished yet so it was cloudy and tasted a bit strange but it was interesting to try it. The wine stays in the tanks for around 12 months before it is either filtered and bottled or put into French oak barrels to age, depending on what kind of wine they are planning on making. We were shown the cellar with all the oak barrels as well as the bottling and labelling machine. The lady on the bottling machine was sticking the labels on my hand as the machine had broken but this also gives you an idea of how small the winery actually is.

    Then on to the fun bit, the wine tasting which we learned is a lot more in depth than we imagined.

    Step 1 - You tip the glass slightly and hold it over a white piece of paper to see the true colour of the wine. What we noticed is that the longer the wine has aged in the barrels, the deeper the colour.

    Step 2 - Take a sniff and try and find the various scents that the lady was explaining to us.

    Step 3 - Swirl the wine around in the glass and smell it again. This should release further flavours (although it pretty much just smelt of red wine).

    Step 4 - Check the legs. For those uneducated wine folk like ourselves, you swirl the wine in the glass again and watch to see how long the drops of wine take to fall down the side of the glass. The slower they fall the higher the percentage of alcohol in the wine.

    Step 5 - We finally got to actually taste the wine however you had to swill the first mouthful around your mouth to wake up your taste buds, whilst sucking in air (we didn't do that bit for fear of spitting out very expensive wine).

    Step 5 - Take a normal sip of wine and try and work out the various flavours.

    We tried two different wines during the tasting, a Cabernet Frank which was a reserve and a Merlot which was a grand reserve (what kind of reserve it is depends on how long it has been aged for in the barrel and then the bottle afterwards).

    Our second stop was an olive oil farm and factory called Pasrai, where we were shown how they make extra virgin olive oil. After showing us the process we got to taste a number of the olive oils they make:

    - Extra virgin olive oil drizzled on bread

    - Olive oil infused with orange in bread (this was incredible, we are going to have to try and hunt some down when we get home)

    - Olive oil infused with garlic drizzled on bread

    - White bread with green olive paste drizzled with basil olive oil

    - White bread with tomato paste drizzled with oregano olive oil

    - White bread with a sun dried tomato on top (even Si thought this was delicious however he has been suffering from a cold / feather duvet allergy so perhaps he couldn't actually taste it)

    - White bread with black bean paste

    Pasrai also made dried fruits so for dessert we had some delicious sultanas, raisins and chocolate covered raisins (we ate a lot of these).

    We then headed off to our second winery, Luigi Bosca, a second and third generation, family run business. This is considered a medium sized winery so was a lot bigger than Don Manuel Villafane. It's also considered a DOC for Malbec. To put this into context only 4 out of roughly 1000 wineries in Mendoza have this title. It is to do with the way the entire process is controlled to a very high specification.

    We had another tour of the winery and learnt a bit about their history before moving on to some more tasting. We got to try:

    - La Linda, which was a young Chardonnay which smelt very sweet like passion fruit but was incredibly dry. They call this wine 'the liar' (it sounded a lot better in Spanish) because of this.

    - One of their Signature wines which was a Cab Sav mixed with Malbec. Each barrel is used for around 4/5 years before it is sold. It is therefore used around 3/4 times. This wine was made in a French oak barrel that was in its second use. It was then aged for 1 year. They used a 50/50 mix of 2 different types of grapes from different places. The grapes are aged separately and then they make the blend before maturing in the bottle for 6 months.

    - Gala no 1 (a celebration wine that was 85% Malbec and 15% something I can't remember) aged for 14 months in French oak and in the bottle for one year.

    - Our last wine was an incredibly sweet dessert wine. It is so sweet as it is made from a late harvest of grapes. The grapes are German but grown in Mendoza. The wine literally tasted of apple juice.

    Our third and last winery was Alta Vista which is run by two French brothers. The winery was gorgeous and we were shown to tables in the garden where we would have a picnic style lunch which of course was accompanied by more wine.

    We had drunk a lot of wine by this point so we have no idea what any of the wines were called but we do know that they were delicious and our glasses (we had three lined up at one point) were never empty.

    We do however remember the food which was amazing. To start we had 3 delicious empanadas, one vegetable in some yummy spices, a beef and chilli and a blue cheese and leek. This was followed by a really tasty beef and vegetable stew, in which the beef fell apart in your mouth and was cooked in wine of course. For dessert we had a selection of mini puddings: a forest fruits mousse on a shortbread type biscuit, a passion fruit mousse on a shortbread type biscuit, two different chocolates and a very lemony macaroon. It was lovely to eat in the garden in the sunshine.

    After lunch they gave us a tour of the winery which was very interesting. Apparently you can buy their wine in Sainsbury's in the U.K. so next time you're shopping have a look out for a bottle of Alta Vista, you won't be disappointed.

    That brings us to our end of our stay in Mendoza however Val (our Airbnb host) had one job for us, we had to take a selfie with Buffy and Mancini. Whilst the cats were very friendly, they apparently weren't a great fan of selfies as you will see from our picture.
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  • Day33

    Mendoza

    May 5, 2017 in Argentina

    When buying our coach ticket to Mendoza we managed to get ourselves a suite for less money than than the semi cama or cama. A suite is a bit like business class on a plane so we actually got to sleep horizontally which was a real treat. They also served wine which is always a bonus. We could certainly get used to travelling in a suite!

    The journey to Mendoza took around 13 hours, arriving around 10:30am. We opted for another Airbnb, this time staying with a lovely lady called Val and her 2 cats Buffy and Mancini. There was also another lady called Lisa from Denmark staying as well as Ursula from Canada.

    After a quick shower we headed out for a wander and to find some lunch (a must do when arriving in any new place before someone gets the hanger). We walked around the Plaza Independecia which is a pretty park in the middle of the city centre before settling on a lunch of empanadas and calzone. This was washed down with some delicious gelato. I opted for white chocolate and pistachio and Simon had dulce de leche (a delicious caramel sauce that South Americans are obsessed with) and cookies and cream.

    As you don't get the best nights sleep on buses, we were pretty shattered so had a lazy evening and watched some of The Fall (our newest Netflix addiction).
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  • Day217

    Mendoza, Argentina

    May 22, 2017 in Argentina

    Veni, Vidi, Vino.

    Mendoza City is the beating heart of Mendoza the province - which as far as provinces go, is massive; it's nearing two thirds the size of NZ by area yet in Argentinia, it's not even in the top five provinces. The reputable beauty of Mendoza doesn't jump at you like other cities we've visited. That is, of course, until you witness the foothills of the Andes - or beyond, if you're lucky. They're incredible! Blindingly white against the deep blue of the sky and persistently peeping at you through gaps between buildings and around the foliage of tree lined streets. Then it all starts to sink in; the wide, flat and tree lined streets, the lack of high-rise buildings, and the numerous green plazas all work together to create a mental freedom only a small town could replicate. Old men sell antiques from tables in the park, hippies sell art and craft from stalls in the plaza and it's hard to miss a sign for artisenal beer specials or (of course) wine tastings. Surprisingly, with all this selling going on, nobody's actually pushing it and to me that makes all the difference. Good things sell themselves - right?

    We took a recovery day on our first day here, taking great pleasure in the good food, bed and shower amongst virtually everything else we take for granted; clean floors, lights, hot water, comfortable chairs, coffee, and a refrigerator to name just a few. After a brief walk around downtown, we both got our hair cut at a peluqueria and then spent almost the entire rest of the day lying in the park reading, writing, picnicking and watching almost everybody except us drink mate. Pronounced mah-tay, this drink is practically a religion in Argentina and Chile and I'm surprised it's taken me so long to write about it. It's basically a cup full of herbs which you fill with boiling water and drink through a filtering straw. Unlike a tea bag, a cup of mate can be refilled several times, usually at least five to ten but often more. If you were to search the bag of any local on the street, you could bet your house they would have a mate cup, a straw, a container of mate, and of course a thermos full of boiling water - just in case they can't get access to a kettle. Mate drinking in company is not a straightforward activity; it involves many rules and more often than not a burnt mouth or part thereof. As to the flavour, I've eaten tree leaves that taste better but it's bound to be an acquired taste and it's high in caffeine so I'll let them be - yerba mate or not.

    You and I both know we're not in Mendoza for the mate. It's the Malbec we're after and it is all too easy to find. Be it in a bodega, restaurant, supermarket, bar or cafe - you can't avoid it. And when you can't beat 'em, join 'em and that is about all I need to tell you about Mendoza. We passed most of our time exploring on foot, stumbling across our best empanadas yet in a random families living room (which was a hectic experience), and hopping from eatery to drinkery and then on to a full day in the vineyards. Cat is going to pick up the pen for our experience in wine tasting - I'm sure you'll appreciate a break from me!
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  • Day133

    Mendoza Musings

    December 9, 2017 in Argentina

    To get to Mendoza, we took a 15 hour bus ride from Buenos Aires. The bus was decked out similar to Business class on a plane, with a seat that folded back into a bed. It wasn’t silver service, but it was actually comfortable. Fortunately, we slept most of the way, ignorant of the challenges that were ahead of us. We arrived in Mendoza, a town in the central western part of Argentina, east of the Andes, around 10:45am. We dragged ourselves through the streets of Mendoza, laden like mules with our backpacks, only to discover that our Airbnb apartment did not exist. The address provided to us was nowhere to be seen.

    We asked at a nearby hotel, hoping that it was simply an error and that our temporary abode was still waiting for us. A kind woman in the hotel allowed us in and gave us access to their Wi-Fi , which by the way is pronounced wiffy in Spanish. We quickly jumped online to get the contact details of our Airbnb host and tried to make contact. A desperate message sent in an attempt to secure our lodgings for the next two days. No response. A phone call. No connection. Things now were pointing to the real possibility of sleeping on a park bench under the stars and sharing our food with the stray dogs. In a last-ditch effort, still hoping that we would be able to make contact, we kindly asked the Concierge to phone our host. Contact was made. But we did not like the response. Apparently, the non-existent apartment was no longer being rented and she hung up.

    Take a few deep breathes and don't panic. You can imagine a few expletives were hurled out at this moment. After a few moments of disbelief, and a couple of “we knew this was going to happen, things are going too smoothly”, we got to work on finding alternative accommodation. At this point, we were prepared to take almost anything. Stopping short of knocking on every hotel or inn as if we were Joseph and Mary, we thought that we might have to stay in a manger because almost every room for rent was unavailable. To our surprise, we found out that a big soccer match was on in town. But persistence paid off and we found one of the few remaining rooms. Phew!

    But the drama didn't end there. We had to find the last remaining bed and breakfast in town. We were told to head to Clark street. Upon arrival, we looked at the building and the picture on Airbnb and the two didn't match. Had we been given a bum steer? At this point, we were beyond breaking down in tears. Instead, we stood looking at each other in disbelief. Out of desperation, we rang the buzzer and a voice with a very thick Argentinian accent answered. At first, we had not a clue what he was saying. Then it clicked, he was telling us to enter. We fumbled about trying to communicate that we were looking for a guy called Shane. The doorman mumbled a few things to us and we got the impression that he knew the guy we were looking for. Things started to look promising but we didn't want to get our hopes up. But ten minutes later, an American guy who introduced himself as Shane entered the building. The Bed and Breakfast was actually located a few houses up the street.

    At this point, we weren't fussy about what the accommodation looked like as long as it had a bed and shower. We were pleasantly surprised, and very relieved to say the least. After quickly offloading our backpacks, we set out on a mission to find a place that would print-out our bus tickets to Santiago, or risk being denied onboard. But searching for somewhere to print the tickets was almost more difficult than finding a room. Being a Saturday afternoon, on game day, there were only a few places open for business. After trying all the local places, we stumbled upon a hostel. Gingerly, we approached the woman behind the counter. Jason asked: “¿hablas ingles? When she responded in English, Ricky thought Jason was going to leap over the counter and hug her, especially when she said that she could print-out our tickets. Giuliana came to our rescue! We were so grateful for her generosity, but she wouldn't accept any money.

    With a place over our heads and our bus tickets to Chile printed, we could enjoy the remaining time we had in Mendoza. Near our accommodation was a large park with a lake and mountain scenery. We walked through the park in an effort to walk off all the panchos and milanesas that we had eaten over the past few days. And of course all of the drinks! We were careful enough to avoid the Gringo Catchers, the name given to the gutters in Mendoza by the locals. The gutters are shallow channels between the footpath and the road. Apparently, drunken foreigners fall down them all the time. We eliminated the chance of falling victim to the Gringo Catcher by drinking at the Bed and Breakfast along with our new friends, David and Terrie, from Canada. At least our misfortunes had taken a turn for the better, with new friends and a gift voucher from Airbnb for the inconvenience.

    Next stop: Santiago

    For video footage, see:
    https://youtu.be/w6pwOoBl16Q
    Read more

  • Day33

    Mendoza and Los Libertadores crossborder

    January 16, 2015 in Argentina

    We just wanted to add this footprint to show you how amazing this piece of the Andes actually is.
    Starting in the morning crossing the Andes at their highest point, close to the Aconcagua, America's highest mountain, we took the Libertadores pass in one of the most impressive mountain landscapes of the world.

You might also know this place by the following names:

Departamento de Guaymallén, Departamento de Guaymallen, Guaymallén

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