When our 45 hour bus slog had come to an end, we found ourselves at the station early in the morning with no clear idea of where we needed to go. A taxi took us to the wrong place, but a quick visit to an internet cafe told us we were just a 20 minutes walk from the hostel.
For the first day in Mendoza, it was too late to book a tour, so we spent the day walking around. At the surface level this seemed an average city, and our time spent there confirmed it. We decided to eat before anything else and wanted something better than the crap we had been consuming the last two days. There was a park nearby the restaurant with some water issues.
That night most everything was closed thanks to some national holiday, but we were able to get a few things at a nearby mini market for dinner. This was some real impromptu bachelor stuff, and we both felt pretty good about it.
The next morning we were picked up at the hostel to do some wine tasting. Mendoza is world renowned as a wine producing region, so we though it would be nice to culture up.
We were taken to a winery some 30 minutes away and given a tour through the wine producing process. They showed where the grapes were crushed, fermented, and then stored before bottling. I had never seen this side of it before, so it was worthwhile.
Then of course came the tasting, that is, the only reason we had even signed up for this thing. All the options were alright, but the biggest take away was our guide’s explanation of how to determine its quality. So next time you see me looking at the color and clarity, know that I’m not doing it entirely for show. We could buy some of their offerings afterwards, but I of course was not here for that.
The next stop on the itinerary was to an olive oil factory. This region also harvests a lot of these fruits and makes a variety of products out of them. I knew nothing about this process, so coming here was actually appreciated and informative. These stone wheels are used to mill them to a paste, which the oil is squeezed from.
After our tour through the factory we had the chance to sample a number of their different options and of course buy them. I really liked a lot of them, and the goods weren’t priced nearly as high as I would have expected. I made sure to eat as much as possible before not buying anything. We moved on to the final stop of the tour.
Last came another winery where they basically gave us the same tour as the first one. She was surprised we had no questions, but we weren’t really learning anything new. We were able to taste a few more wines here too of course, but it was nothing that blew me away. Here is where the trucks dump the grapes.
That evening Neil and I decided to cook again, but this time something better than the night before. We kept it safe with a pasta, and added some meat and a bunch of asparagus. We got the noodles and sauce from a standard store, the meat from a butcher and then the veggies from a greengrocer. This turned out really good, though it was much more than we could possibly eat our own
I took control of dessert, which was just some sugared peach halves that I iced in the freezer. It’s impossible to mess this up, but I only narrowly defeated the can. The hostel had some worthless opening device, so I had so employ the services of some more robust options to attain victory.
This was the extent of our time in Mendoza. Though what we were able to see and do was nice, it was nothing special. We envisioned sprawling vineyards and photogenic countryside, but there was nothing of the sort. And being far from oenologists, the gastronomy wasn’t special to us at all either. Since we didn’t really give up something more interesting so that we could be here, there was no regret, but to the average tourist I see no reason to go there.