Autumn’s Adventures


Mendoza, Argentina and Chile
December 10, 2009, 2:49 am
Filed under: Argentina, Travel | Tags: , , , , , ,

After draining my funds in Patagonia and adding 10 pounds to my waist (thanks, ice cream!) , I was afraid to take my planned trip to Mendoza, Santiago (Chile) and Valparaiso (Chile) on my way home to New York.  To come home with SOME money left in my account, I decided to cut my trip in half. I spent 2 days in Mendoza, 1 day in Santiago and 1/2 day in Valparaiso.  I’m not sure if that was enough time, it probably wasn’t, but I left satisfied.

In Mendoza I did a self-guided bike tour of the wineries with a dude from Boston that I met in my hostel.  I wasn’t sure how much I trusted myself on a bike while drinking copious amounts of wine but in the end I came out in one piece and I really enjoyed it, even if my crotch didn’t so much.

We rented our bikes for $20 pesos each for they day and the bike company gave us a map of all of the wineries and their hours of operation. They also provided us with a bottle of water and a glass of wine and cookies when we returned from our trip. Pretty good deal even though I was maxed out on wine by the time I got back (I still drank my free cup though – duh!).

There were very few free tastings — we had to pay at least 5-10 pesos at each winery.  I ended up going to almost every open winery and olive farm and at the end of the day I spent about 80 pesos I think so it wasn’t sooo bad. I had a lot of wine and ate some really awesome olive products.

I really didn’t see much of Santiago.  I spent most of my time in the supermarket, buying delicious food that I missed from the states. List includes: blueberries, cottage cheese, Ritz crackers, salmon ceviche…mmm it was all so delicious.

From Mendoza to Santiago I took a mini-bus through the Andes mountains and I met this street performer who played the trumpet.  He lives in Santiago but is originally from Buenos Aires.  He chatted me up on the bus after he found out I was the only “tourist” on the mini bus.  He was the only person on the bus that I really understood since Chileans have such a different accent from Argentines. When he realized that I was traveling alone, without a plan, without even knowing where I was going to sleep that night, he offered to help me find a good hostel for cheap and to show me some of the city.

I thought it was cool that he played the trumpet. He brought me to an artist collective and I saw a bunch of street performers living and practicing and passing through this abandoned house that was totally fixed up by these artistic vagabonds. It was really cool and they were all really nice.  I even saw a girl street performer that I met in Peru on my way to Machu Picchu. She didn’t remember me but I couldn’t believe how small the world really is after seeing her.

Valparaiso is a port city with a lot of charm but also a lot of clutter in the streets.  The houses are all old, climbing up the mountains that hug the port.  They are painted bright colors and there is a lot of really cool graffiti.  I wandered around for the day with a map and no real plan, as usual. I found a super awesome free science museum in an old train station.  I walked through the farmers market, I bought street food, I took lots of photos, I walked on the pier…it was a good day.  The only disappointment was not being able to find an ice cream shop, but I guess I didn’t need to eat any more ice cream anyway…

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