Hotsprings, Hiking, and Hangliding (and wine): One Heck of a Good Time in Mendoza
Guys: traveling is so so cool. I know this is not a new observation, and I’m sure that as humans we have been exploring and pushing the boundaries of our known worlds at least as long as recorded history. But I’m finally discovering this feeling for myself, and it’s wonderful. The bug is real (the travel bug that is), and after my most recent trip I’m already planning on how I’m going to scrounge up the funds for another adventure. Maybe I’ll just become a wandering minstrel…
On this travel note, last weekend, I went to Mendoza with two of my best friends here: Ali and Morris. They’re the best. However, the timing wasn’t, considering the trip was planned for the weekend before all of my parciales (FINAL EXAMS), so my trip was going to eat into some pretty important study time. But, since we were taking Omnibuses to get there, this meant had a 15 hour drive to hit the books.
(Plus, now that I’ve finished all of my parciales, I would like to report that they went SWIMMINGLY. This note is for you, parents)
Yet despite the small cloud of academic worry that hung over us, we entered the weekend with high hopes, and we were not disappointed. Not in the slightest. Mendoza was, though not as visually striking as Patagonia or Salta, the best place I have traveled to in Argentina. I was in heaven.
Mendoza is gorgeous, a mix between the Sierra Nevadas and Napa Valley with a hearty dose of the Andes Mountains thrown in. The weather was absolutely perfect; mid-sixties without even a hint of anything less than sunshine. Is it even winter here? We hiked all around her foothills while breaking every rule that I’ve ever learned as a hiker (we didn’t bring enough water, we didn’t tell anyone where we were, we went slightly off-trail, and we had no real destination or plan on getting home). We also paragliding off the summit of Cerro Arco, and spent an afternoon perusing the many parks, fountains, and a few of the art museums that the city had to offer.
Mendoza is delicious; I had probably the one of the top 5 desserts in my life (a chocotorta, in a splendid restaurant called El Mercadito), as well as some delicious wines, salsas, and liquors. One day, we did the popular bike-wine tour; we took a bus out to wine country, rented some bikes, and spent the day tasting some of Mendoza’s best offerings. We went to big wineries (LaGarde), small wineries (Carmelo Patti), organic wineries (Pulmary), and places with everything in between (A La Antigua).
Mendoza is tranqui. For a large (9.5 million people live in the city and the surrounding area) place, Mendoza doesn’t appear overly bustling in massive. People smile more than they do in Buenos Aires, and the city pretty much shuts down every afternoon for a siesta. It was a winning combination of the exciting buzz of a metro area with the comforting feel of a smaller town. We also took a day trip to the Cacheuta Hot Springs with some British friends who we met at our hostel, and it was a day of fantastic food, peaceful soaking, and striking views. I couldn’t have asked for a better last day in Mendoza. I couldn’t asked for a better trip to send off my time in Argentina.
If you want more of Mendoza, you can check out some pics below. They’ll tell you more than my words could.
Also, on a separate note, I couldn’t really have asked for a better hostel than Hostel Mora, the hostel that happily housed us in Mendoza. (Cue shameless plug here). Hostel Mora served us breakfast to-order every morning (fo’ freee), which included EGGS (something that they never serve for breakfast here, and I had been missing), dulce crepes, fresh fruit, and a variety of pastries. But, in addition to that, I adored the folks we that we met and spent time with at the hostel. There were Alex and Becca, an American couple who were traveling the world after Alex sold his startup company. Nick and Charlotte were a British couple who had been traveling in southern South America and were freaks about soccer. Remy was an Australian girl my age who had be traveling for the better part of the last 5 months on her own, and had just spent a few weeks in Brazil at the World Cup. And, of course, best for last were Oli and Dan, a pair of best friends from London who were on a gap year in South American and became our best friends in Mendoza. They were a hilarious one-two punch who are low-key social media celebs. Between shenanigans in the hostel, a dinner adventure, and quality times with a waterproof camera at the hot springs, we certainly made some great memories together. I hope that I can visit them in London one day. In my experience, hostel dwellers are by and large pretty cool, but these ones were the best that I’d met so far. It made me want to travel more.
Now, I’m back in Buenos Aires. I survived my examenes finales, have fanatically supported the USMNT with random gaggles of Americans throughout the city, and am starting to get sad about leaving. As of now, I have 5 days left in Buenos Aires. What the hell. Also, my summer job just fell through due to restructuring in the company I would’ve been working for, so after this stint as a blogger ends I’ll be officially unemployed. Looks like Craigslist is about to become my best friend.
Keep it real, stay classy, and take care. I’ll write again soon.