Friday, 3 January 2014


After leaving Iguazu Falls we had another short stopover in Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires. This was our last sighting of the east coast of South America, the west (and home) was awaiting! We opted not to take the 17+ hour bus trip in favor of a flight. Our flight from Buenos Aires was delayed for an hour. We arrived in the high and dry city of Mendoza at 10pm but decided to take a taxi to a recommended campsite, situated in the hills, 6Km from the center of the city.

After setting up our tent under a little hatched shelter we decided to venture out to find some food. Everything we passed was closed so we ended up getting some horrible sandwiches for “dinner”. Thankfully we found a pizza place open on our walk back to the campsite. The next morning a stray dog enjoyed the ham sandwiches much more than we would have!

After a very hot night of using only our sleeping bag liners, we jumped into the pool to cool off. The sun wasn’t up yet, so the pool felt more than a little cold. After the swim we packed up our tent and our bags which proved to be rather difficult; after a shopping spree in Buenos Aires, our bags were overflowing with new shoes and clothes! Our heavy bags made the walk to the bus stop rather tiresome, but in no time at all we were in the center of Mendoza. Mendoza was hot, but not quite as stifling as Buenos Aires and Iguazu.
We stayed at Hostel Independencia, and immediately booked an afternoon wine tour which they offered. We visited two wineries and one olive farm and ended up buying five bottles of wine and three bottles of olive oil! We hope to bring four bottles of wine home for our families, the last one we’re saving for New Years.

After the wine tour we partook in hostel’s happy hour, free wine between 7pm to 8pm! More wine drinking!! After having a couple of glasses in a beautiful courtyard with a “grape vine canopy” we ventured out to explore the night markets situated in the park next to our hostel.

We tried to find sleep through an extremely hot night at Hostel Independencia - no air conditioning and very little fans made for hot stuffy rooms. One of the nicknames of Mendoza is Cold Mountain, as the mercury hits 40 degrees I don’t think the name is appropriate! Sadly we didn’t have more time to spend in Mendoza - the paragliding, rafting, bike wine tours and more were all so tempting. Definitely a place to stay for a while!

The next morning we walked to the bus station to buy a bus ticket to Santiago. Unfortunately our wallets were rather empty and the ATMs at the bus station were all out of cash (a common problem across South America) so we had to walk half a dozen blocks back into town to find a bank. By the time we made it back to the station, the bus that we had planned to take had almost sold out of tickets. We were forced to buy seats, 19 and 20, that were separated by an isle. Fortunately when we got on the bus, someone was willing to swap seats with us. We missed out on getting the Cama seats which give a bit more space and recline further than the semi-cama option.
crisis averted!
It was a stunning bus ride through the Andies to Santiago. Bring on the new year!

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