Saturday, October 6, 2012

Mendoza, Argentina 9/7 - 9/9

After exerting ourselves to the limit in Northern Patagonia, we were in need for some R&R -- rest and relaxation. We departed Bariloche in the afternoon bound for the Mendoza region, the epicenter of Malbec wine.

The most direct (not fastest) way to get to Mendoza was an overnight bus ride. Argentina's buses are nothing like the common Greyhound bus in the States. The Argentine buses were luxurious in comparison, with multiple classes from which to choose. A game of Bingo, hot meals, movies, and a fully reclinable seat made the northbound trip enjoyable. We departed at 3PM and arrived in Mendoza at 8:30 well rested and ready to experience what Agrentina's wine country had to offer.
Departing Bariloche
Getting ready for bed.
We stayed at a guesthouse named Posada Olivar in the quaint town of Chacras de Coria, which lies outside the city of Mendoza. Our room opened out to an olive grove in a beautiful and peaceful private property. We rented bikes from the property owner and set out to the nearby small wineries, or bodegas.

At the first bodega, we had a tour and wine tasting followed by a delicious lunch accompanied with their signature Malbec. The fermentation facilities were originally built circa 1950 and have been beautifully preserved. We took our time enjoying the ambiance before giddily mounting our bikes to head to the next winery. We made sure to better watch our wine intake at the next place.
Perfection in the making
Antique cellar
Embracing the local culture.
Bike vineyard tour.
We had heard that Argentinians eat late but we had not expected how late. By the recommendation of our pasada owner, we decided to eat dinner at a local favorite spot. We arrived close to 9PM for dinner, late by American standards. By the time we left at 10:45PM the restaurant was packed and had a line outside the door with children as young as five waiting to eat dinner!
Impatiently waiting for the 9PM dinner
Steak cooked to perfection
Pear + Malbec = Delicious Dessert
The following day we walked around the town square to enjoy a local crafts and antiques sale. We people watched and wandered around the small town before lounging back at the beautiful posada. We had a lazy day, which was exactly what we needed to recharge for the rest of our vacation.
Breakfast at the posada
Local wine crafts at the town square market
Second day here and they are already naming streets after Laure