Monday, April 4, 2011

Bikes & Bodegas, Vintage Sundays and Cerros Arenales

As I woke from my semi-cama slumber and pulled the curtain from the window, rows and rows of vineyards saluted me as the bright dawn sun permeated their foliage. Relieved to be more northerly and returned to a more temperate climate I wasn't far from my destination of Mendoza. After a sweaty few hours of traipsing the Avenidas of Buenos Aires the day before I boarded what can only be described as opulent transportation; in comparison to my Costa Rican bus experience that is. Argentinian buses are superb, I boarded and relaxed in my reclining plush seat whilst I was treated to MTV and DVDs, dinner and a very civilized game of Bingo! Better than a lot of the hostels I have stayed at and I wake up in my next destination - Win Win!

I met up with Kerry on arrival and announced the business, the very serious business of the day - salon time. After over three months traveling my hair resembled a brassy limp mop that I could no longer tolerate so we set off in search of a hairdresser, one that spoke English preferably. Two and a half hours later Haisley (a Brit expat) had worked his magic and I felt like a new woman, it was now time to address the remainder of the business of the day... Wine.

The following two days in Mendoza were dedicated to pursuits related to bicycles and bodegas. On Day 1 we ventured to Maipu and disappointingly, seven hours later it was the bicycles that had won over the wine, the experience mostly an ordeal; of roadworks, dust, fumes, broken chains, stacks, police escorts, and ogling, with the end result being super sore asses and sobriety. Bicycles - 1, Wine - 0.

Thankfully Day 2 brought victory for the wine as we gingerly mounted bicycles again, this time in a much nicer area called Lujan where the streets were tree lined, the roads paved and the bodegas plentiful with delicious Torrentes and Malbec.

Argentina wholeheartedly embraces "siesta" on a daily basis, almost everything closes down after lunch until early evening and Sundays possess a vintage quality which reminds me of when I was growing up, where Sundays really were the day of rest. A day spent with family and friends, of barbecues and lazy afternoons in the park, neighborhood games of cricket and going to buy lollies with 50 cents in one and two cent coins, to the only shop open - the corner milk bar. Our Sunday was spent doing much of nothing, a walk through the streets and park, an ice-cream (OMG super dulce de leche ice-cream is the BOMB!) and wandering the stalls that were selling jewelry and handicrafts. Argentinian Sundays are my kind of Sundays!

Given my lack of dedication to "Operation Boat Belly" since my arrival in Mendoza I set off this morning to Cerros Arenales, a 3300 meter high mountain in the desert landscape of Cordon del Plata. The summit bestowed upon us a view over Dique Potrerillos that was well worth the two and a half hour uphill trek, as we ate lunch six Condors entertained us as they glided overhead and we then made our way back down parallel to a bubbling freshwater stream that guided us to the bottom.

Tomorrow will bring a day of Travelers Admin; washing, bus bookings, Skype calls and the like as Kerry and I plan our next move. No doubt we will manage to squeeze in another bottle or two of would be rude not to!!  

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