Wine, Beer & Steaks
29.11.2010 - 07.12.2010 30 °C
It's taken a little longer than I thought it would to produce the first update. Our trip so far has revolved around sunshine, steaks and wine, with us spending three nights in Buenos Aires on arrival and four nights in Mendoza - a wine growing region west of Buenos Aires.
People say South Americans are relaxed and it's true but with 13.5 million people living in Buenos Aires there is always something going on. We stayed in a restaurant and bar district west of the city centre called Palermo. A leafy suburb that didn't get busy until at least 9:30pm at night – the time Argentinians have dinner and start thinking about heading to a bar. Our hostel was relaxed and had a huge Belgian Sheppard as a live-in mascot.
The best way to see BA is by foot and Jess and I pounded the pavement most days exploring Palermo, the city centre itself and the numerous parks scattered around the city. The buildings in the centre of the city gave the city centre a European feel and reminded me a little of Paris.
One of the major tourist attractions was the Recoleta cemetery – a collection of tombs in the middle of Buenos Aires filled with wealthy and famous Argentinians. Sounds a little spooky but it's not, entry is free and you can stroll up and down avenues lined with trees, with people such as Evita buried in massive ornate tombs on either side.
In South America buses are the primary mode of transport between the cities and they cover huge distances. I had been dreading catching them as I am terrible at sleeping anywhere other than my bed. However, the buses here are certainly a class above what we have back home. Our bus to Mendoza was equip with seats that almost fully reclined and we were served meals and a glass of vino airline style – it certainly made the 13 hour bus ride more bearable.
Mendoza is a wine growing region in Argentina famous for its Malbec. Our hostel here was amazing, a great group of people, absolutely legendary owners and a perfect climate combining together to create a great atmosphere. While we initially thought that we might explore the countryside and do some trekking, we instead toured the vineyards on bicycles, socialised at the hostel and drunk our bodyweight in beer and wine at Argentinian barbecues put on by the hostel – imagine massive sides of beef slow cooked over hot coals and then sliced onto your plate – absolutely amazing.
We also went to a first division football match between a local team Godoy Cruz and Velez Sarsfield. The stadium was built for the 1978 world cup, holds 45,000 people and as a result is never full to capacity. However, the crowd was still absolutely nuts, think non-stop drumming, chanting and jumping for 90 minutes.
The local team lost 4 – 0 but they still let off all their flares and fireworks before leaving the stadium. We got some classic South American police enforcement as well, with the more hardcore fans being shot with paintball guns and sprayed with firehoses when trying to invade the field at the end.
Unfortunately we are leaving Mendoza and a lot of new friends today and heading south to Bariloche and then Patagonia, where we are definitely planning on doing something a little more healthy – hopefully heading up into the mountains for some day trekking or if possible maybe even hiring some camping gear and doing something more extended.
There are more photos in the Gallery. I'll update again some time in Bariloche.