Friday, 27 June 2014

Mendoza, Argentina: Vacinations, Vineyards & Horseriding

My overnight bus ride from Córdoba to Mendoza was full of a rowdy women's volleyball team. I found them good fun but I don't think everyone else enjoyed their company.

Mendoza is the 4th biggest city in Argentina (after Rosario, Córdoba & Buenos Aires). It is very famous for its global award winning wines, especially the Malbec. Mendoza is a very touristic city due to its wine, being the crossing point to Santiago de Chile and its proximity to the Andes (including Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in South America and tallest mountain outside of the Himalayas, measuring 6,950m above sea level).

As soon as I hopped off the bus I was straight off to a clinic with all of my bags strapped to me. On Thursday mornings in Mendoza the government clinic gives out free Yellow Fever shots. I was supposed to have it before visiting Iguazú but better late than never.

After checking into my hostel, grabbing breakfast and signing up to a Pizza Party I was collected from my hostel from Yani, a girl from Couchsurfing. She gave me a quick tour of part of the city before taking me to the massive park (the site of where the Kiwi from Australia was shot and killed a couple of months earlier). After touring the lake we shared some bikkies and drinks.

Plaza de Independencia

After the returning to my hostel I was off to another hostel for a Pizza Party with all you can eat pizza. Once the eating part was done all the tables were stacked to the side and the hostel became a mini nightclub with 70 people from 4 different hostels. Whenever I went to the bar they would pour straight spirits down my throat for free... I only paid for one drink and got hammered.

The next day I went for a hike up a little mountain Cerro Gloria. It was a bit of a trek to the start of the mountain. I had to walk passed the big park and past a zoo. The scenery was nice. The top of the mountain is a tribute to General San Martin, the man responsible for winning the wars of independence from Spain in most South American countries beginning with Argentina. Ironically he was fighting in Spain against Napoleon before returning to South America and winning independence (Napoleon installing an illegitimate Spanish King, his cousin, might have been the turning point).

I caught the last 10 minutes and the only goal of Argentina vs Iran. A 12 year old kid tried to pickpocket me while I was watching. They have another trick as well where they hold flyers above wallets or phones on tables pretending to hand them out while the other kid quickly grabs your wallet or phone while out of view under the flyers. Afterwards I returned to the hostel for an all you can eat asado followed by another night of getting free spirits poured down my throat.

Don't swim in this!

Probably the best part of the zoo and it was outside

The next day Yani picked me up from my hostel in her car. She took a course in Wine Tourism where her teacher was a boss at one of Argentina's most famous and awarded wineries, Trapiche (it has even won awards in France). Yani hooked me up with a free tour.

I arrived in trekking pants and shoes, everyone else on this tour was very well dressed (it turned out to be the higher end tour). The tour taught me about the history of the local wine history, the process and much more. The wines we sampled at the end were amazing. The guide even let Yani and I stay behind to finish the bottles on the balcony while she escorted everyone else out... I love Couchsurfing!

These tracks used to go to Buenos Aires and Valparaiso in Chile

Wine is very cheap in Argentina but these will set you back about $40 each.

A great way to spend a Sunday

The Louvre?

The next day I explored the city I explored the city solo.

The meaning of this is in Buenos Aires Part 1... I take this photo in every city

The next day the Aussies I met at my hostel in Còrdoba (Tom, Shaun and Steve) ended up in my dorm room in Mendoza. We all went horse riding that afternoon. My first time on a horse in my life! It really hurts your testicles when they run fast... Apparently there is a technique.

Kung Fu & I

After the horse riding we had another asado with the staff and other riders before getting our driver to drop all of us off at a bar. It was 3 Aussies, 2 Colombians and 1 Venezuelan...We played drunken pool where I might of photo bombed a Venezuelan and a Colombian when they thought they were having a normal photo... They didn't find it as funny as everyone else.

They didn't know until after they looked at the photo.
My final day involved watching Argentina beat Nigeria, celebrating afterwards and going to another hostel Pizza Party. The next morning I was finally off after 1 week in Mendoza.

Next Stop San Juan!

Lessons Learnt:
Couchsurfing is Awesome!
Only guys find that type of photo bombing funny.
Riding horses is better for girls.
Argentina is my world cup team.

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