Mendoza brings Argentina to a close
Our time in Argentina has come to an end. From where we currently are in Mendoza we are to catch just a six hour bus trip over the border onto Santiago, Chile.
I am sure most Kiwis and Aussie’s are aware of the horrible murder of fellow Kiwi, Nicholas Heyward just yesterday and only 4km from our hostel here in Mendoza. We came home late last night and happened to check NZherald and it was breaking news, first that a Kiwi had been shot in Argentina then only minutes later the report was updated to outline the victim was a male of the same age as Rob and that the attack had taken place here in Mendoza. So terrible, we really feel for Nicholas’ family, it was quite a horrible feeling here at the hostel this morning as other backpackers awoke to the news and felt how close to home this attack was to us all. RIP Nicholas.
On a lighter note we have been busy, busy here in Mendoza, which to be honest has a really upmarket, classy feel to it. The streets are beautifully tree-lined, the locals seem to be quite refined and the streets and parks are really well kept, like Buenos Aires, Mendoza has a bit of a European feel to it. The bodegas are not right in the town as they are in Cafayate, but instead it is a bus ride to the various different areas where bodega tours are given Maipu, Chacras and Agrelo. We caught a local bus from outside of our hostel straight to Chacras, where we visited Baccus Bikes to pick up our bikes for the day. We didn’t do an actual tour this time either, we simply picked the bikes up, costing AR$70 and were given a map with four bodegas to visit, reservations are then made for you and you are given times as to when the bodega’s are expecting you.
The first bodega did not include a tour but was a simple tasting of four wines from the very quaint family run Carmelo Patti Bodega. We were greeted by the man himself who spoke a small amount of English but was incredibly proud of his pride and joy. We tasted some lovely aged reds and were directed towards a range of magazine articles, newspaper clippings and awards that the bodega has gone on to feature in from all over the world. This tasting was free of charge and we spent about 20 minutes at the bodega.
We then went on to visit a very large and upmarket bodega, La Garde. We went on a full tour of the vineyard and finished in the sophisticated tasting room, trying one Torrontés, a Malbec and a super sweet sparkling white. The tasting cost AR$50, which was a little pricey for two backpackers and as we cycled our way out of the bodega later we both agreed that we had our fill of vineyard tours and would be opting out of any further tours for the day. They are super interesting and the La Garde tour had additional information that we had not yet learned from our previous two tours in Cafayate, but we wanted to end it on a high note and not start to resent oak barrels, the fermentation process and tannins. We also thought that trying a forth wine would have been nice as just three wines for AR$50 was a little bit stingy.
We enjoyed a Malbec fuelled lunch together at a nice cafe Viamonte in the plaza, the only downside being the town was extremely quiet and we were basically the only people sitting there. We saw about 10-15 other tourists the entire day, and of course as lunchtime and siesta go hand in hand Chacras was a ghost town by the time we stopped for lunch. Where is everyone!!!? Argentina has been extremely quiet for us, our hostels are always fully booked as we tend to book in at the top rated ones from Hostelworld which most other people tend to do but other than that it is quite amazing how quiet everywhere has been.
We attempted to visit our third bodega Bella Vista but had missed our reservation so we were not allowed in, we weren’t too phased and cycled on to our final venue Palmary, which is a very small organic bodega. We sampled the sparkling Malbec Rosé but turned down a tour of the bodega and by 5pm we had returned our bikes and were making our way back to Mendoza. We enjoyed our day in the vineyards but we still felt that our day in Cafayate was far better and loved having so many bodegas in such close proximity, whilst in Mendoza they are quite spread out and the roads can be dangerous.
We didn’t end up visiting the park on our last day in Mendoza as originally planned, instead we had some awesome lunch at Losana which had a load of delicious vegetarian food, also meats and was a weigh your plate style place which we had enjoyed so much in Brazil. To top this off we also HAD to visit the frozen yoghurt shop that I had spotted earlier in the week.
We had showed up in Mendoza with a giant bag of washing too, so a visit to the laundromat was in order. To save some money we did our own washing instead of using the valet service, a new experience for me. To utilize our time I headed off for a run once the washing was in the machine, then I came back and Rob headed off for a run. He returned just in time to help me fold the dry washing and we were on our merry way, a new laundry/exercise technique that works quite well really, and something we may continue in Canada too.