After the chaos of the Buenos Aires bus station, it was a relief to finally be on the bus to Mendoza after being delayed. We guessed this was due to a car being on fire in the middle of the road a little way out of the centre. Anyhow, we were thoroughly entertained in our waking hours by a Mendozian guy in the seat across from us – he was absolutely hilarious!
After our 16 hour bus journey that was surprisingly comfy and went really quick, we were in Mendoza. We decided to get the bus to our hostel as we thought it really couldn’t be that difficult – we were wrong. After several failed attempts to get the ‘right bus’, we got on one, only to end up some place we didn’t want to be…
… Luckily we ‘spoke’ to a very helpful chap in a little shop, and he directed us to a taxi stop – phew. Going back the way we’d come on the bus, we got to Bed for Wine Hostel for less than £5.
I must admit, my immediate impressions weren’t great, but they did indeed change by the time we left four days later.
Plaza Independencia offered a relaxed, yet entertaining air when we found it moments away from the hostel, when searching for excursion shops. A proper-chilled reggae band were playing as the sun was setting and people were dotted about the fountains, amongst the trees and market place.
Further on we found the main town centre and it was very charming! Beautifully presented with brick flooring, trees and al fresco eateries, the heart of this city was truly beating.
Av. Sarmiento offered some great little places to eat, our highlight being St. Buque, where we enjoyed a simple, but tasty 3 course meal for 170 pesos (around £8.50). We had veg soup, hake with mash and fruit salad to finish – however there was a lot more choice on the menu. Smartly dressed, old boys served us with energy and subtlety that made for a very nice Saturday night dinner.
On a somewhat cloudy day, we ventued to Parque General San Martin, where we were greeted with Autumnal trees and a carpet of reddish, brown leaves. Kicking our way through, we got to the long strip of a lake, which was where the local rowing club called home.
Sculptures were tossed about the forefront, and one of which caught our eyes in an amusing way …
Mendoza is definitely a great stopping place if you’re on your way to Chile – especially for the Mendozian wine, fabulous outdoor excursions and of course the scenery.
However, be prepared if you to go to the big Carrefour supermarket – every experience there caused physical pain! The card never worked, even though it did everywhere else, the queue system to the checkout was diabolical and the food was crap. What’s worse is if you’re trying to do good by taking back your beer bottles to get back the money ‘envasse’ you pay – it’s such a ridiculous and crazy system that it’ s not worth it. Envasse works fine everywhere else. We laugh a lot about this drama now.
The bus from Mendoza to Santiago isn’t one I’ll forget. Even the stunning Andes landscape didn’t do much to disaperate the anxiety and hunger experienced throughout the 8 hour day trip over the border crossing. Not fun.
However, I sucked it up and took some great shots, one of them being the 20 hairpin bend road from the border of Agentina into Chile. Great view = Great anxiety, haha! Only in hindsight have I fully realised and appreciated how incredible this journey was 😉