(Day 58 – 63)
18.01.2010 - 23.01.2010 38 °C
We left Santiago for Mendoza (Argentina) at about 10am on a 7 hour bus ride over the Andes through some dramatic and beautiful scenery. We had to go through passport control at the Chile-Argentina border and that added 3 long hours of waiting around until our bus was next in line.
Mendoza is a beautiful town, much larger than we expected. I guess we thought it would be similar to places such as Pucón or San Pedro. Its wide tree-lined streets give the town much of its character, as well as the numerous fountain-filled plazas.
The main reason for coming to Mendoza was of course to visit the Argentinean wineries, which you can reach from satellite towns nearby. Argentina is the world’s 5th largest producer of wine and more than three-quarters of this amount is produced in Mendoza. This town enjoys about 300 days of sunshine a year and is famous for its Malbec wine (brought over from Bordeaux).
On one of our days there, we went to a little town just outside of Mendoza, called Maipu, where we rented some bikes and set off on our own little independent wine tour. What a great way to discover the area and sample some of the best recommended wines. One of my favourites (and most expensive wines) was from a small winery “Carinae” where we were able to sample one of their Premium wines - Carinae Prestige Malbec 2007 (above the usual ones they offer).
That day we visited an Olive factory, which doubles up as a Chocolate and Liqueur factory too – don’t ask! All that I will say, was that whether it was the tapenade, the chocolate or the Dulce de Leche liqueur – it was well worth it! We toured another bigger winery after this “Tempus Alba” where the tasting was also lovely (and generous), we ended our day on their terrace sampling local cheeses with our wine.
The following day was centred on our exquisite lunch at the wine farm Ruca Malen (who make some MORE excellent wines). The lunch was just short of heavenly. How often are you treated to a 5 course belly-busting degustation meal, each perfectly paired with the right wine to highlight its different tastes?? It was a little over-budget but it was worth every penny. Then again, its relative isn’t it? For the money we spent here, we would have been able to only get a steak and one drink each at our local steakhouse in Fulham! We couldn’t resist taking photos!
Tomorrow we are off to Antarctica for a 10 day cruise! Our next post when will be when we get back on the 3rd of Feb. See you then!
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