Friday 13 January. Yesterday evening there was no water for the shower when I arrived from a day of Dakar dust. Had to wait, with a beer, for half an hour. But in good company it’s late before you know it. So today it’s chill time. A short walk to the central park. The city of Mendoza is green and with a nice breeze the parks are perfect. Found a vega food restaurant, incredible in this meat country. Have a nice lunch and look into the pool. Lots of travellers stay in this hostel and it’s good to share the stories. The Argentinians are here for holidays and it seems most of the foreigners travel for a long time. Like Swiss Marisa is nurse and has the opportunity to travel a lot. Tonight it’s bbq night at the hostel and we have to participate.
Saturday I do the winery tour in the afternoon. The morning is for shopping and relaxing in the city. The city doesn’t have much architecture and most of the buildings are hide behind trees. Plaza Espana and Plaza Independecia are cool and perfect for relaxing. Sagrado Corazon is a nice church, quite hidden in the trees though and Prado Gaucho, a really huge park, has Museo de Ciencias Naturales y Antropologicas “Juan Cornelio Moyano”. Concrete architecture of high standards.
Around 3 p.m. the minivan stops, just one hour late. Bodega Domiciano is the first stop. The process of making wine and storage is explained. Than the tasting. One white, two red. The reds are good. Martina and Tomas, a nice Dutch couple, are here, typical Dutch, on bicycle. The bus brings us to the next winery, Vistandes. Of course their process is better. Luckily their tasting room is cooler. Third stop is a olive factory, Laur. After the wine it’s nice to have “lunch” with some bread with olive oil, balsamico and tasty olives. Last is the Casas de Don Arturo. Basically these wineries produce for the local market. But in the surroundings they have more than 1000 wineries. Still the guide tells us this is the seconds industry in Mendoza, oil is first and olive oil third. When we finish Polish Agata, Canadian Peter and I go for diner at La Barra. Besides chorizo and steak they prepare a plate with vegetables on the grill. Nice stories, tasty food and good company makes a perfect diner.
Sunday first to the Omnibus station to arrange a ticket to Puerto Madryn for tonight. A huge row of waiting people. Help. The office of the company that provides the ride is closed. Have to book on the internet, so where to find wifi? The Mac has free wifi, so I’m saved. Book the ticket and can enjoy the central park, reading a book. At some moment a passing man is losing his keys in front of me. I call the guy, he doesn’t react, I get up, walk a few steps, call again. They are not his. I turn around, my bag is missing, see one guy walking away with the bag. Another guy try to point out the opposite direction. Luckily I’m a fast runner so I get at him in a few meters, he drops my bag and runs away. I still have everything. I was lucky. Although I always keep an eye on my stuff, they almost get away with it. Just a split second of unawareness is enough. And I was not the only one in the park. Well I’m lucky.
Back in the hostel I exchange travel experiences with Swiss Chris (www.infiniteroad.ch). He is already 3,5 years on the road with his bike, an African Twin, I believe. Good tips of South America and Central Asia. I can tell him a bit about Africa. That’s the last part of his world trip he will make. The other biker is Sam from the UK. He is mechanic at Sky team of the Tour the France and now for some months biking through South America. At six I really have to go and the bus to Puerto Madryn is almost on time. It’s a 24 hour drive, but a nice bus.