Mendoza

After a rather long 19hr bus journey I arrived into Mendoza on Wednesday morning. I went straight to my hostel and after a quick shower and a coffee I was ready to go explore. The street my hostel was on looked incredibly familiar. Lots of nice looking restaurants, bars and boutique shops in a smart looking neighbourhood not far from the centre. I was on the Northcote road of Mendoza! After 4 months of countries being totally different, it felt like I was home!
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Mendoza is bigger than Salta and more picturesque. It clearly is a city with money, not only from my very upmarket street, but from the avenues of trees down every road which certainly make it feel very European. I am going to try to restrain from writing more about the Argentine beef again, but needless to say I enjoyed some very nice meals during my stay. Most of them included steak.
Once you leave the city centre the first thing you realise is that this is a wine region. Obviously, I know! Whichever direction you go in all you see are vineyards. I went on a wine/bike tour which took in 4 vineyards which we cycled to. Since we probably tried 3 wines at each vineyard by the time we were cycling to our final destination I think there were a few wobbly cyclists! It was a lovely way to see a few different vineyards, the weather was beautiful and the wine very good so a pretty perfect day!
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I met 2 sisters travelling from the US who are in their 70s and still staying in hostels and seeing places. Very inspirational ladies. Myself, an Italian girl from my hostel and the 2 sisters all went for dinner after the tour. At midnight we had just finished eating and were finishing our wine. I think I know how I will be spending my retirement…
The following day I took a tour that took us to the foot of the Andes very close to the Chilean border, including a trek in the national park. The 3 hour drive to the park was beautiful, after passing through hundreds of vineyards the terrain became increasingly mountainous and a number of snow capped peaks were around us.
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We passed by the ski resorts closest to Mendoza, whivh were shut due to it being the wrong season. Once we arrived at the park we set off on out trek, we spent the trek in full view of Mount Aconcagua, which sits at nearly 7000m making it the highest point in both north and south America. A truly stunning site, with visible glaciers at the top and plenty of snow from about two thirds up I was not at all tempted to have a go!
After 3 lovely days in Mendoza I took the bus to Santiago in Chile, so onto country number 6 but only for a while then back to Argentina for more steak…

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