Malbec in Mendoza

Old wine barrels (that are still in use!!)

Old wine barrels (that are still in use!!)

8-10 November

Mendoza, Argentina
Distance: 0kms

Our long weekend in Mendoza started with a full day winery tour – as well as an olive oil factory and a small artisanal chocolate factory where they also produced homemade jams… and absinthe! The weather couldn’t have been better.. it was just a lovely day to be out in vineyards. We went to three different types of winery… a small boutique producer, a mid-sized one and finally a massive commercial operation which looked more like a soft drink factory than a winery. At each stop, we had tours of the production facilities and were told about how their particular wine was produced (and what was special about it). It was very interesting – and enjoyable; we got to taste some pretty nice wines.

Industrial winemaking... inside a mass producer's factory

Industrial winemaking… inside a mass producer’s factory

The next day – Saturday – Mendoza ran out of water. Literally. The first inkling something was amiss was when I tried to drop off a load of clothes at the Laundromat around the corner from our hostel. The woman said no and to come back on Monday because ‘there isn’t any water.’ When I pressed further, she just shrugged in a pretty relaxed manner and repeated that there wasn’t any water, so I couldn’t get my washing done. Still, back at our hostel we seemed to have water so I didn’t really think much more of it… until a few hours later, when the water stopped there, too.  Apparently it happens reasonably often… the city temporarily runs out of water, so literally turns off the taps to certain areas of the city, one at a time. The irony is that Mendoza is one of the most ‘first world’, progressed places we’ve been in for a loooong time… yet sometimes there’s just no water… and the people are so relaxed and matter of fact about it. It really gives the term ‘water crisis’ a new meaning.

We’ve been spending our time here relaxing, exploring the city in foot, checking out the local markets, parks and monuments and hunting down the most delicious empanadas. It’s lovely!

 

7 November – Day 108

Chilecito, Argentina to Mendoza, Argentina
Distance: 638kms

6 November – Day 107

Cafayate, Argentina to Chilicito, Argentina
Distance: 496kms

We had two long days on the bike for a couple of reasons… firstly, there aren’t too many places between these cities… and secondly, we wanted to have a few days off the bike in Mendoza.. which effectively had to be earned! Probably the most interesting thing that we saw was an olive farm that extended at least 20 kms along the main road and was at least 100 trees deep (if not more). I’ve never seen so many olive trees in the one place!

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