Day 1: Maipu

So, after mixed messages regarding our arrival time (the bus schedule said the trip was 16 hours, which would have put us in at 10am,which is what I believed to be true; the lady at the bus station said we would get in at 6am, making the trip only 11 hours, which I didn’t buy at all; and the dude at the front of the bus when we were boarding said we would get in around noon, which would make the ride about 18 hours, which I feared would be true…and which made the 5am breakfast service all the more infuriating) we actually arrived in Mendoza at 6:45am.  And the sun doesn’t come up until 8:30.   So we took a loooong time getting coffee at the bus station, to avoid having to walk anywhere in the dark.   We finally got a taxi to the hostel area, and after visiting a few hostels (one that wouldn’t let us in, another that told us we would have to come back at 2), we found a place that let us in, fed us breakfast, and let us store our bags until our room was ready.

Since Argentina’s 3rd World Cup game was on Tuesday, we decided to check out Maipu on Monday (Flag Day here in Argentina) and save Tuesday for local exploration and the game.  We took a 15 minute taxi ride to Maipu and got dropped off at a house, from which a family rented bikes and served us wine (the sign said: Free Wine ONLY for Customers).  We hopped on our bikes (and I put on a completely gross lightning-transformer design helmet…Mom…) and headed out.

Our first stop was the wine museum, which came with a free tasting.

For our second stop we headed across town to an olive oil farm, the furthest location on our map (about 12km away).  The ride through town was kind of ghetto, I was minorly concerned.

Soon enough we hit some roads with a little less traffic and some really nice views of the snow-covered Andes over some (dry) vineyards.  We arrived at the olive oil farm (if that’s even the right word) and had a short tour, tasted some olive paste and oil, and headed across the street to a winery.

Olive oil press

This next vineyard was owned by a French couple from Toulousse who, upon retiring, decided to buy an old vineyard in Argentina and start making wine…which neither had any experience in.  They seemed to have figured it out, though, because the stuff we tasted was pretty delicious.  From there we headed down the road to another place that made only flavored liquores (including grapefruit, chocolate hazelnut, and tobacco) and chocolates.


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