Friday, November 25, 2011

Mendoza, Argentina

Wine country!!! I thought I'd be right at home but I didn't enjoy Mendoza as much as I thought I would. On first glance, (taxi from the airport) I thought it looked like California...dusty, warm, dry. And I guess it is, what with all the vineyards and olive oil production, but something was still lacking.

Although I would love to give it another chance because I feel it could grow on you.

It's a sleepy town with not much else to do besides tour/bicycle the vineyards. I didn't see a building higher than two stories. A big change from BA.

I did a wine and olive oil tour. Also walked around alot. It is a nice city for walking and I stayed at two different hotels. Ibis Hotel when I first got there---great hotel but not near the city center and Argentino Hotel which is adjacent to the main plaza, Plaza Independencia. The plaza has a small museum, a nice fountain and tons of market stalls. I bought some fernet as a gift for a friend. For some reason, Argentinian people are obsessed with this drink. It tastes basically like Sambouca, which is iffy at the best of times.

The town is a little sleepy but I wouldn't mind going back and checking it out again. I went there in order to be able to take the bus to Santiago, Chile and avoid the $140 airport fee if I had flown into Chile. Plus I wanted to be able to say I had taken a bus across the Andes (aka the mountains where the Uruguayan soccer team crashed and had to eat the corpses to survive).

You can take a bus across these mountains very easily and very cheaply, although they weren't nearly as big as I thought they would be. In fact, I felt a little jipped. But it still was beautiful scenery and hairpin curves at points. You go through customs half-way and as is usual, you are expected to tip all the bag handlers. Travel time to Santiago is about 5 hours or so.

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