domingo, 16 de mayo de 2010

Mendoza! part 1

At last, an entry on my trip to Mendoza, Argentina. It's been a couple months since I went, but I figure this way I can share the best of the best: what I remember. I will make two entries, this one covers the first 3 days. (Sorry if the formatting is wonky, it is aligned on my computer but may be shifted on other screens...)

Mendoza is one of the top 5 wine producers in the world, and many brands from the cute little town next to the Andes have won Worldwide Gold Medals. I left Buenos Aires on Sunday evening, February 28, and met up with KateLyn and Wade at the bus terminal when I arrived the next day, Monday March 1.

<-- Aqueducts in the roads help with the irrigation for the vineyards just outside of the city, as well as the humidity needed to ensure high quality fermentation

We walked to the hostel, Hostel Huellas Andinas (Andian Footprints), and left our stuff locked up in the cupboard, and then went for a stroll. Mendoza is actually really small... You can walk around it in a few hours. We just got to know the city a little bit and sat and talked with the hostel staff for the rest of the night. All in Spanish of course.

 We prepared a giant delicious salad with avocado, green lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, and had some cheese, salami, and crackers on the side.

After dinner we had some fun with the workers at the hostel. Negro (yes, that's his name) gave KateLyn her first dreadlock! we stayed up late talking and having fun with good people.

On Tuesday we went to this reptile/marine 
museum and saw lots of cool animals and 
shell exhibits

psst- he's telling me that he secretly hates living in a tank that is barely 10x his body length. 
poor guy.


If these aren't proof that dinosaurs existed, I don't know what is.

After the aquatic museum we decided that we needed to take up that opportunity to go to the sister hostel in the mountains: in Potrerillos, Argentina.

After wandering on the long road in the middle of nowhere trying to find the hostel itself, we eventually found it and were greeted by Lucas (the guy with the striped jacket protecting his beer). 

We just hung out there planning the next day: trecking, repelling, and kayaking! and dinner... We made Ravioli with tomato sauce, and there was soooo much of it. It was delicious, and we were starting to feel at home.


The next day we got up around 9am or 10am and packed 7 of us in a tiny 4-passenger car and drove up to the trekking spot. It was a relaxing hike through the hills, with views of the Andes around us, and rock surfaces.

KateLyn and I forgot to put on sunscreen. We got very sunburned throughout the day.. haha

We took silly pictures in Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley). There are several "Valle de la Luna"s in South America, and they get their name for the minerals on the ground that reflect the moonlight and makes the ground look like the moon's surface.

We hiked to this rock face and we Repelled down a cute little rock crevice.

We continued on our way back to the drop-off point and headed to the hostel for some lunch. Then went and did kayaking (I don't have any pictures, it was just safer to leave my camera on shore you know ;)  ).

Kayaking was really fun. Much more enjoyable than the canoing in Ushuaia ( never got to write about that trip, but in a nutshell, we went on a 4 hour hike through mud expecting a 1.5 hour hike on trails, had a lunch, then canoed against the wind for about 2 miles. Needless to say, we were miserable on the canoe trip. The apathetic "guide" that said "I dunno, where you want" whenever we asked where to canoe towards just made things worse [the end-point, in fact, was about 2 miles against the wind and around an island]). 
This kayaking trip, however, was well guided, on a sunny day, not to mention that kayaking is just more fun to row with than canoeing in general. I can't wait to get into kayaking in Alaska when I get back =)

When we got back to the hostel after kayaking we hung around and planned our dinner: another fantastic salad. Meanhile, a guy named Juan was making homemade pasta from scratch. He was rather drunk the night before and promised to make it the next night, and no one believed he would fulfill that because.. well.. he was drunk. HOWEVER he surprised us all and everyone took pictures of his gigantic mound of artison pasta.

This day was probably my favorite day of the trip. We got to see lots of nature, got some sun[burn], and met a lot of awesome travelers. This hostel in the mountains is a pretty happenin place, with the right mix of people. There was a girl, Claire, from Colorado, USA traveling around South America with no real plans... and a Danish kid named Koon, among others. Also, Negro from the Mendoza hostel traveled up and brought a sound and light system. It was kind of strange, but it was also so cool!              

And this concludes installment 1 of my trip to Mendoza in March.

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