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Bikes and Bodegas in the Shadow of the Andes


You cannot possibly overestimate how much fun tandem bikes are.  Chances are you have never rode one.  Well, after spending a day riding through Maípu and visiting the bodegas (wineries), I can safely say that they are the most fun thing ever.  After, waking up early in Mendoza, the provincial capital, my friends and I took a bus to Mr. Hugo’s Bike Shop, located conveniently on El Camino Del Vino.  The  area was lined with fields of grapes and olive groves, lorded over by the shadow of the snow-capped Andes in the distance.

We visited several area bodegas.  The first of which was a huge, pristine, modern facility with a fantastic tour in both English and Spanish.  The tour took us through its facilities, showing the breadth of machinery used to produce wines and taking us through the process from the grape crushing, to the casks, to the finished product.  The tour culminated on a porch with a beautiful vista of the Andes and Mount Aconcagua, tallest mountain in the Americas.

We visited another less impressive bodega  in addition to a gourmet chocolate shop and a delicious restaurant.  We also found vacant lots in which to push to boundaries of tandem –biking by driving over small mounds of dirt.  We did this until we, inevitably, injured ourselves.

The next day we took a bus to visit las termas.  Nestled in the Andes, the hot springs were not quite as I imagined.  Instead of natural pools, the hot springs more resembled swimming pools filled with elderly people.  The facilities size was rather impressive, complete with over 20 pools and two water slides, though one appeared to be made out of rusty metal.

We also climbed a small mountain in the area until it got so steep that I was sure I was going to end up sliding to the bottom.  It probably didn’t help I was wearing board shorts and running shoes.  The view was stunning though, check out the pictures.

All that was left was to catch the bus back to the bus station and ride home to Buenos Aires.  Of course, that was easier said than done.  We allotted 3 hours to take the hour-long bus ride back to our hostel.  How wrong we were.  Immediately after setting out, our bus became mired in traffic as far as the eye could see.  While we were a bit nervous, it was nothing to worry about.  After an hour and a half of driving, we finally reached Mendoza.

Passing a familiar area, my friend decided we should get out of the bus.  We promptly realized we had no clue where we were.  We decided to ask a police officer, who preceded to tell us that we were really far away from Mendoza.  Ignoring logic, we attempted to run back to our hostel, only stopping when a passerby informed us it lay 25 kilometers away and that we were literally in a different city.

This prompted a reevaluation of our plans.  We decided to call a taxi.  When the car finally pulled up beside us, we had 45 minutes to reach the bus station.  The driver assured us that we had ample time, that is until we saw the traffic jam on the highway.

Eventually after pulling 85 mph on some back-roads, we arrived at the bus station with three minutes left.  Never had I been so thankful to be going on a 14-hour –bus ride.


One Response to “Bikes and Bodegas in the Shadow of the Andes”

  1. Beth Pinto Says:

    Hey Fred,
    Your mother shared some of your experiences with me and the blog site. I am VERY impressed with not only your courage to study abroad in a non-English speaking country, but am also impressed with your writing! Your semi-dry wit mixed in with some great SAT words made for interesting and fun reading! My favorite phrases had to do with ignoring common sense, directional challenges, and of course, chosing food over sight seeing (as if that was ever a question!!). I wish you well on your journey and always! Stay safe!

    Beth Pinto
    School Counselor

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