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quikflikchiq Mendoza - A travel report by tara
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Mendoza,  Argentina - flag Argentina -  Mendoza
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quikflikchiq's travel reports

Feliz Compleaños a Mi!

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Before we left New Zealand, we (meaning I) had already decided that we would spend 2 weeks around my birthday in Mendoza, Argentina. Right back in May 2007, I was already getting very excited -

summers are really hot and dry, but the city remains beautiful and green
summers are really hot and dry, but the city remains beautiful and green
From the moment we arrived in Mendoza, I felt comfortable. Hang on .. from the moment we arrived in Mendoza and I got over losing my mobile phone on the bus from Bariloche just a couple of days before my birthday, I felt comfortable.

Founded in 1561, Mendoza has let events shape its evolution into a beautiful city. The Huarpes tribe developed the irrigation system still in use with the wide trenches running through the city. This extends out to the vineyards, where most are flooded on a regular basis to allow the vines to produce the wonderful malbec grapes.

Seismic activity (and a rather large earthquake or two) has meant wider streets and large squares were built - and in contrast with Mendoza being classified as semi desert, the streets are lined with beautiful green trees. The Plaza Independencia is at the centre of the city and from here you can walk into the huge Parque San Martin and even up to the zoo on Cerro de la Gloria.

The mountains however remain cool and to get to Chile from Argentina, you use the amazing Andean mountain road which passes Aconcagua which is the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas.

If you are taking this bus either way - do it in the day. The buses get through border patrol quickly either day or night and you dont want to miss seeing the Andes.

Favourite spots:
miles and miles of vineyards in Maipu with the pre Andean foothills in the background
miles and miles of vineyards in Maipu with the pre Andean foothills in the background
I cant possibly choose a favourite spot as there are ones I love for different reasons. During our trip, we went back to Mendoza another 2 times.

I think we spent as much time out of the city as we did in it. We were fortunate enough to have enough time to do most things we wanted. The first stop was a wine tour however, and there are a lot of options for these, the first tour we chose was through the hostel that we were staying in. We took a little minibus out to Maipu, one of the wine districts, and visited 3 bodegas, the Museo Nacional de Vino (the National Wine Museum) and an olive oil factory. Having been on many a wine tour, it was definitely the olive oil that interested me the most - we did shots of the stuff! That was the first trip, the second we rented bikes and cycled around for the day finding my favourite bodega and Malbec in all of Mendoza - Argentina perhaps.

What's really great:
gateway to one of the bodegas in the Maipu district
gateway to one of the bodegas in the Maipu district
Its hard to be in Mendoza and not to sample the local produce - but the its not just wine and the steaks that are to die for.

As I have mentioned, on one of the tours we went on, we went to an olive oil factory - which was actually Pasrai, an extra virgin olive oil producer. And not only did they make extra virgin olive oil, but they also produced sundried tomatoes (in and out of oil) and skin care and cleansers. I bought one of the cleansers, and its got a little left in the bottom and I will get to it with a long dessert spoon if I have to.

the living room at Break Point, and the table and the BBQ .. take me home!
the living room at Break Point, and the table and the BBQ .. take me home!
Break Point Hostel - Aristedes Villaneuva 241.

We stayed in a hostel on the other side of the plaza for a few days and then after Nell found Break Point Hostel, we spent the rest of our first two weeks there - and a few more days when we went back at Christmas with Nells dad, brother and his wife, and then another few days when we went back for our last week (instead of spending it in Buenos Aires or Santiago).

We made some good friends there - not just the people who worked there but fellow travellers who we still keep in touch with.

There is a restaurant and bar attached to the hostel, but with all the wonderful places to eat and drink along the street, you dont have to worry about eating in the one place all the time. There are markets along the street as well so if you wish to prepare something yourself, its very easy to organise. And then there is the parrilla (or grill). For approximately 20 pesos, the hostel will provide all meat, salad and wine - and chef.

sundowners - watching the sunset over the Andes from Decimo
sundowners - watching the sunset over the Andes from Decimo
Our nights were filled with eating and drinking and laughing. We had just spent three and a half months on the go - biking in Bolivia, diving in the Galapagos, trekking through the Sacred Valley in Peru and honestly, I was shattered! It was time to take a chill pill.

Mendoza is a very relaxing, yet adventurous town. Whilst I never went clubbing, some of the people in the hostel did and if I have one piece of advice for woman travellers, it is dont go out alone! Too many times, we heard stories of stupid women making stupid decisions. Just stick together!

There is a bar on the 10th floor of one of the buildings in Mendoza. There are not many buildings of that height, so the few to the Andes is magnificient. And getting there at the right time is important - sunsets over the Andes with a 5 page wine by the glass menu, you have to get your order in quickly. Everyone knows the place I mean - Decimo.

Malbec, malbec and more malbec
Malbec, malbec and more malbec
If there is no other restaurant you make it to in Mendoza, make sure the place you do go to is Facundos. On Sarmiento, past the Plaza and the pedestrian only section, is this amazing place where we went 6 (yes thats six) times.

I could write so much more on Mendoza, in fact I may publish a second report, but if there is anything else you would like to know, please send me a message or leave me a comment. I would love to ensure that future visitors to Mendoza loved it the way I did.

Other recommendations:
Enriques back section and the area of Mendoza I fell in love with the most
Enriques back section and the area of Mendoza I fell in love with the most
El Jarrillal - Our friend Enrique has a horse riding business just out of Mendoza city. Most of the inner city hostels have his contact details, but I have added them as a tip as well. He takes you on an easy (or more taxing if you want it) ride down to the river bed, past a rural school, with a his grogeous dogs and then takes you home and feeds you the best asado. All the while speaking perfect English and encouraging you to make the most of your best gringo Espanol. Tell him Tara sent him - and ladies, give him a hug from me.

Water rafting - We went for a 3 hour ride on the Mendoza river with Rios Andinos. The day dawned cool and clouded and when we arrived the river was freezing cold and it filled up the bottom of our raft like melted chocolate icecream. We screamed and paddled and lent our way down the river and I would have jumped straight back on the bus and done it all over again.

Published on Sunday June 1th, 2008

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Sun, Jun 22 2008 - 07:00 AM rating by bineba

What a great report! Sounds like you had a wonderful time

Sun, Jun 08 2008 - 02:03 PM rating by eirekay

GREAT Report and LOVE the photos! Nicely done!

Sat, Jun 07 2008 - 10:35 AM rating by jorgesanchez

i liked to read this report. thanks

Tue, Jun 03 2008 - 03:46 PM rating by mistybleu

Hi ya, I really enjoyed reading this report. I loved the pictures as well, especially ‘sundowners’. Now that’s my kind of holiday.

Mon, Jun 02 2008 - 06:47 AM rating by marianne

very entertaining to read, and full of useful information

Mon, Jun 02 2008 - 03:50 AM rating by davidx

I doubt I'll ever get there but it's a treat to read a report like this about it.

Mon, Jun 02 2008 - 01:48 AM rating by louis

Interesting report. I was in Mendoza once but spend there only 3 days and now I see that I missed a lot.

Mon, Jun 02 2008 - 01:14 AM rating by terje

Thanks a lot for this report... You made me wanna go to Mendoza to taste the Malbec... :-)

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