17.07.2010 - 20.07.2010 5 °C
Our bus from Salta to Mendoza was supposed to take 19 hours, which sounded bad enough itself but would have been a treat compared to our actual journey! First off our bus stopped at a bus station in the middle of nowhere for almost 2 hours waiting for another bus that we were transferring onto. After 21 hours we guessed that we should be there soon so asked the driver how long (expecting him to say about 5 mins), and he said 3 hours! We were not impressed. Then the kind lady behind us decided to throw up all over the floor just before getting off the bus, so it all leaked through to our feet - really gross! After 3 hours we were getting ready to jump off the bus when we realised we were only in a place called San Juan, still 2 hours away from Mendoza! The whole journey took 26 hours and we arrived at midnight with our fingers crossed that the hostel would still be open!
Anyway.... The first day we spent in Mendoza was a Sunday so nothing was really happening. We wandered around town trying to sort out the things we wanted to do in the next few days and then took a stroll in the city`s big leafy park. It was really cold, so all the outdoor adventure tours were out of the question and we decided on (a rather pricey) winery tour instead. The winery tour we did in Cafayate was a bit rushed and touristy so we decided to splash out a bit and go for a private tour that included lunch. We visited 3 of the top wineries in the region (not that we`d know the difference!) and they all had really beautiful buildings set among hundreds of rows of grape vines overlooking the snowy mountain range in the distance.
At the second winery they had a `smelling room` where they have 24 different fragrances wafting out of plastic tubes. This is supposed to train your nose to the many complex fragrances in the wine so you are able to pick them out. Our guide gave us a glass of sparkling rose and told us to try and work out what 4 things were in it. I managed to guess rose petal and cherry, so the training must have been a success! The lunch we got was amazing! 4 courses with a different glass of wine for each one! The main course was a tasty piece of Argentinian beef...mmm!
With the freezing cold weather and unprecedented snow across the country we were hoping to make a day trip to the nearby ski resort in Los Penitentes. Unbelievably though, the resort was closed (almost a month into its season)! Apparently although there`s been lots of snow in the cities, there hasn`t been enough in the mountains! We were pretty gutted, but the forecast said snow was due in the next few days so we decided to wait it out.
The following day we went to some hot springs about an hour outside of Mendoza. They were in a beautiful setting right next to a river running alongside the mountain. It was great soaking outside in the steamy pools looking out at the all the snow! They had some `therapeutic` mud which you could smear all over yourself and have a full body facial!
Then there were some super power showers which shot out from about 5 different places to wash it all off afterwards, and leave you with lovely silky skin! We spent the whole day there, and had the buffet BBQ lunch with yet more Argentinian steak. Just can`t get enough of it!
The next day we rushed to the ski shop hoping for some good news on the snow but sadly it wasn`t to be so we booked our bus to Buenos Aires for that evening.