Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Argentina: Mendoza

We´ve been drinking enough Argentine red wine that we figured we owed it to ourselves to journey to the heart of Malbec. Organized wine tours were a bit pricier than we wanted to shell out, so we went back to our roots and rented bikes to do a little tasting on our own in the Maipu region. Rolling from vineyard to vineyard, we marveled at the intricate canal system that waters Argentine grapes. Very cool and interesting. And the lack of hills makes for easy pedaling within view of the snowcapped Andes. And the more we drank, the easier and more beautiful it seemed! We also visited a chocolate- and liquor-producer, and Eric had his first taste of absinthe. The rumors are true---it does make you crazy! What we especially loved was the warm reception from everyone we met. Mendoza has to be one of the friendliest places we´ve visited.

The next evening we traded our bike saddles for saddle sores, climbing upon some trusty Argentine steeds with a real gaucho. We knew he was legit, because he had on a beret and a woven belt, and he could still ride while talking in rapid Spanish on his cell phone. Impressive. Despite being a stone's throw from town, it felt like we had really gotten away on our sunset ride into the mountains. The ride was to be followed by a traditional asado (barbecue), and they started up a fire to make charcoal when we returned. And we waited. And waited. Three hours and many hungry guitar rounds later, we sank our teeth into some tasty and SLOW cooked carne. Truly one of the best meals we had in Argentina. The next morning, we ran for the bus to Santiago, Chile, and Kathleen discovered blisters and sore muscles on every part that moved. This seemed inexplicable, as we only had a two-hour ride, and it was fairly obvious that the horse had done most of the work. Perhaps it was from the death grip on the saddle when we galloped? Either way, it was the perfect end to our Argentine escapades.

No comments: