Reasons I love Argentina:
- better dairy products (cheese, milk, chocolate): they taste like they came from milk
- everything is a bit cheaper
-alfajores: wonderful Arabic-Spanish sweet made with manjar / dulce de leche
-Spanish sounds like English (clear-cut accent with fewer slang words)
Anyways. I went to Mendoza for a long weekend with some other girls from my program after Santiago and Lolla. It is about 8ish hours away from Santiago through the glorious Andes mountains. It is about the size of Valpo (possibly smaller) with shady tree lined streets, European plazas and the wine capital of South America.
We walked around town, occasionally stepping into quaint boutiques to peruse the "high" fashion of Argentina. We went to an adorable cafe restaurant where we had the most stupendous lunch. It consisted of a steak (not a fan, so I got lasagna), delicious empananda, manjar ice cream and the best glass of wine I had in Argentina for $10. Ahh. love:
Then we strolled around some more and stopped into a chocolate store. DELICIOUS. On a whim, we popped into a wine cellar. The woman there was uber friendly and informative about the wine, so we did a wine tasting. We tried this really interesting desert wine that tasted like honey and was very sweet. Afterward, we tried to hit up a ferria (artesenal market) but most of the stands were closed because , we guess, siesta is practiced there.
Since we were in the wine heartland of South America, we decided to do a bicycling wine tour. It was so much fun. The tour company rents you a bike and gives you a map of all the local vineyards and you're basically free to cycle around town trying wine for a few dollars a glass. Our first stop was a wine museum:
Finally, we stopped at a vineyard/restaurant for lunch (at 5 in the afternoon) where we enjoyed chicken cooked in a traditional Argentina manner with vegetables and rice (YUM).
Re-reading this sounds like a wine and food orgy, and while it was, we also biked about 10 km through the beautiful Argentine(ian) countryside and the little towns scattered along the way. (At one point we went through a construction site which meant a very, very bumpy round- I didn't know I had so much arm fat to jiggle). Overall, a very enjoyable experience.
To top off this very luxurious and girly trip, we went to the local hot springs. The termas ended up being a water park/ spa with hot and cold pools, slides and a lazy river all down in very natural style in the heart of the Andes. The hour-long bus ride was simply spectacular as we passed the highest peak in the Western hemisphere. So we ended our trip to Mendoza on a relaxing note.
I still have one stop left on my travels during Semena Noventa.
Coming up next: La Serana- pisco, ferrias and solar power