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December 6, 2012

Mendoza is a big city of just over 1 million people. The area around Mendoza is responsible for 70% of Argentina’s wine production and is the home of Malbec, the wine that Argentina is famous for.

Plaza de Armas Fountain

On arriving in Mendoza we were greeted by two days rain so we huddled down and waited it out for a couple of days. Once normal service was restored and we had blazing sunshine again it was time to explore the town.

Bank in Mendoza

The town of Mendoza itself is very nice, green leafy wide avenues with a huge fountain in the main square but although there are some beautiful big houses on the roads into town there isn’t much in the way of old colonial buildings and the cathedral is very disappointing.

Boating lake in Park

Mendoza reminded us a lot of London, just quieter with better weather and more trees.  There’s also a large park (San Martin) with a boating lake and rose garden which is very reminiscent of London’s many parks.

The highlight, without a doubt, for us was a visit to the tasting rooms of Vines of Mendoza. This is an upscale wine bar which specialises in the tasting of wines. We visited on a quiet afternoon and had the attentions of a very knowledgeable Sommelier practically to ourselves.

Two flights of wine at Vines of Mendoza

We started off with a flight of wine each – this is five half glasses of different wines for tasting. The flight came with a leaflet which described each wine. Mine was a flight of Malbec and Sarah’s was a flight of whites from the region.

Red Wine Flight

Things got really fun after the flight as we talked to the Sommelier and got more expensive wines which were similar to the ones we had liked from the flight. We both ended up tasting some much better wines for free until I ended up with some really expensive wines for free.

White Wine Flight

My favourites were two wines from De Angeles at over $100 per bottle.

Awesome WIne

When we headed back to the campsite we were more than a little unstable on our feet !

We stayed at Campo Suizo which is in the camping zone of Mendoza. That’s right, the town actually has a designated camping area with a whole bunch of campsites ! This was a lovely place with a pool and shaded campsites each with its own Palapa.

The Beast and its Palapa

The campsite was a very social place as our friends from turned up a couple of days after us. This inevitably led to some boozy late nights. There was also Mike the Californian biker at the site whose passion for Fernet Blanca still didn’t manage to convert anyone. Evelyn and Ben a UK based, dutch/oz biker couple, who had just started their South American  adventure and were on their 2nd night of camping also arrived at the campsite while we were there.

‘The Remotelys’ are camp cooking experts and we have been taking lessons from them. Their amazing empanadas convinced us to buy a Dutch oven and when they managed to cook some brownies as well the deal was sealed – we headed off into town and bought our very own Dutch oven !

Dutch Oven

It was while we were drinking around the campsite that the plot to roast a pig for thanksgiving was hatched ! The first task was to source a pig and the second a rack to grill it on. The first was easily solved as The Remotely’s ordered half a pig in the central market – the cleanest market we’ve seen in Latin America. The second was more difficult but Mike recalled seeing a scrap yard where a dirty old shopping trolley was acquired.

Trolley Mods

After modifying the trolley with a hacksaw and borrowed angle grinder, Evelyn and Ben were sent off on a scouting mission to find the perfect campsite for the Pigstravaganza. They reported back from a town called Potrerillos and we were all set to head out the next day.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Ebs permalink
    December 9, 2012 2:16 am

    Can’t believe you’re so casual about Mendoza. Maybe you’ve visited so many great places Mendoza pales in comparison but I thought it was one of the nicest places I’d ever been. Not just the wines but the steaks were the best I’d had (though also home to my attempt at asking for a mixed grill – “a liitle bit of everything” – which lead to a plate of liver, kidneys, lung etc). Also……I thought the gene pool was pretty special…….

    • December 9, 2012 10:12 am

      Sarah said it was the city we’ve been to that she’d most like to live in. A great place to live. Can’t disagree about the gene pool especially after months in Peru and Bolivia !

      We just thought that the out and out tourist potential of the city wasn’t that great – its more a hang out and enjoy type of place.

  2. Ebs permalink
    December 9, 2012 2:32 pm

    I thought the same in regards a place to live but I came to the conclusion it would difficult to find a life there. You’d be a permanent outsider. It was a place to sit with a coffee or a glass of wine on one of the boulevards on watch the pretty people go by. Shame you didn’t cross from Chile at Portillo. Spectacular.

    • December 11, 2012 5:16 pm

      with We crossed at Los Libertadores and the views of Aconcagua were amazing. I’m sure you could fit in with fluent spanish. People are really friendly in Argentina – a bit more standoffish in Chile.

  3. kobusliferemotely permalink
    December 10, 2012 9:51 pm

    Glad you got the dutch oven, you ready for the Emanada cook off yet?

    • December 11, 2012 5:12 pm

      We’re getting there. Made a batch of empanadas yesterday and roasted a chicken. Inspired others in the campsite who’ve brushed off their dutch oven for the first time in the trip to make mud roasted chicken tonight !

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