Mi primera semana
Well, one week down in Mendoza, and it’s been an amazing time so far. The city is incredible- I feel like I’ve been meant to live here my whole life. Pretty much wherever you are in the city, you can see the mountains, and it’s only about a 20 minute drive to get to them- it’s alright, I guess. As someone who’s spent virtually his whole life in the flat lands of the midwest, it’s nice to have a change in scenery. This weekend was the beginning of the Festival of the Vendimia, the celebration of the wine harvest. This is really the most important time of the year for the wine country of Mendoza, so it’s exciting to get a taste of the culture with this festival. Sunday night I went to my first wine tasting- it was a ton of fun! There were booths all over sampling wine and some that had games- I’m proud to say that I was able to correctly guess a sample of Malbec in a blind taste test On Monday, we went to Cerro Arco, one of the mountains closest to the city of Mendoza. The views were stunning, and we got to see some people haciendo parapenting (paragliding). We brought a bottle of wine to the top to celebrate- when in Mendoza, right? Tuesday I went to la Reserva Divisadero Largo, a nature reserve that’s basically a hiking trail in the middle of a desert. It was awesome- I’m totally loving all the chances for outdoor adventuring, and I know I’m totally going to aprovechar (take advantage of) the beautiful Andes mountains and do as much trekking as possible.
I’ve gotten to know my host mother, Alicia, a lot better the past few days, and things have been going really well. I love sitting and talking with her while she prepares dinner, and our sobremesa (the time after the meal when everyone’s finished eating but stays to chat) usually lasts a while. She’s a very kind woman and cares a lot about every student she hosts (I think I’m number 12 ). I can’t wait to get to know her even better this semester! Her dogs are also a blast. She has 3 cocker spaniels, named Camilo, Indio and Pancho, and they’re cute as can be. A lot more calm than the beagle puppy I had in Córdoba, but just as adorable 😉
Last night I went to a festival in the Plaza Italia celebrating the Italian heritage of Argentina and particularly Mendoza. Argentina has a pretty heavy Italian influence, and it’s been cool to learn how that’s influenced their culture. At the festival, there were booths selling traditional Italian food, traditional dances, and of course, more wine- I think I’ll be an expert by the time I leave 😉
This weekend is the climax of the huge wine festival. They’ll have a huge celebration with parades, concerts, and the naming of the reina (queen) of the festival. It’s going to be a ton of fun!
That’s all for now- I’ve included a few pictures of my latest adventures for you to get a glimpse of the beautiful landscape here. Although the pictures don’t really do it justice… it’s even better in person, trust me