Mendoza is a modern Argentine city located approximately 360 km east from Santiago and 1050 km west from Buenos Aires. Nestled next to the Andes and in the heart of Argentina’s wine country Mendoza is particularly well known for its Malbecs and other red wines. As such there is an abundance of wine tasting shops and tours available both inside and outside of the city.
Olive oil is another major produce of the region and you can also participate in olive oil tasting tours!
We arrived in Mendoza yesterday (Saturday) after our longest bus journey… 17 hours overnight from Salta… The time on the bus passed surprisingly quickly and for such a long journey we had decided to book ‘executive’ seats. With just 3 seats per row (instead of the usual 4) they are as wide and comfortable allegedly as aeroplane ‘business class’ seats. Whilst they recline substantially they don’t recline fully so you do find yourself sliding down the leather effect vinyl seats whilst you are trying to sleep!
Mendoza was struck by a massive earthquake in 1861 which destroyed most of the buildings. The city was rebuilt with wide avenues and several parks and squares to help reduce the impact of any future earthquakes.
The main square is called the Plaza Independencia and is filled with the smell of food being cooked from its street food stalls, people sitting on the grass and chilling and impromptu small scale Latin American dancing and music. Smaller plazas surround the main square all of which are beautifully kept and have trees with gorgeous lilac blossom (at a time when the autumn leaves would be red and gold back at home…)
For today (Sunday) we decided to jump off the ‘sightseeing bandwagon’ and rather than book another wine tasting tour (which are expensive at around $150 each to include a trip to 3 wineries and have lunch) or a trip to the Andes (where we will be travelling through on our way to Santiago the following day) we stayed in the city and enjoyed sampling the very thing Mendoza is famous for… gourmet food and washed down, of course, with decent wine!
From Monday to Saturday most shops and businesses are closed from 1 pm to 4 pm for the traditional Argentine siesta. On a Sunday, most shops are closed altogether. This enabled us to have a pleasant stroll through the leafy avenues and parks and enjoy the laid back atmosphere of the city.
After a recommendation from our apartment manager we had a delicious lunch in ‘La Marchigiana‘ an Italian restaurant with a wide and varied menu and a good selection of wine.
As we’ve found to be the case in Argentina, when you ask for a glass of wine, you get a huge glass of wine! There are no precise measures of 125/175/250 ml as we have in the UK. All week we’ve been totally spoilt with superb wine every time and for around half of the price of similar and often less quality wine at home.
For our stay in Mendoza we found a modern, new and functional apartment right in the centre of the city and complete with fast wifi! We stayed for two nights at the spotlessly clean Apartamentos Mendoza Premium which we booked with booking.com for only £73 for two nights. The staff were super helpful and friendly too.
So this was our day… we had a leisurely breakfast in our apartment; stayed there for much of the morning, catching up with ‘laptop stuff’; went for a walk during late morning; had a delicious lunch washed down with some of the fabulous Malbec wine; had a stroll around the plazas in the afternoon and finished up back in the apartment!