So where does the day start, seems quite a while ago. Thats right, I did a waking tour of the cities museums and also the municipal aquarium. The aquarium is straight from the 40’s when it was built and hasn’t been changed since then. Seriously it hasn’t. People have better setups at home. Anyway for 5 pesos it was the cheapest aquarium i’ve been too. Kind of like paying to visit a pet shop in a way. Some interesting fish thats for sure and then I found the sea turtle. It was way too big for the tank it was in, it kept banging against the glass. I felt so sad for it. I did my best to ask the people about the turtle. It seems the turtle has been in that tank probably as long as the aquarium has been open.
I walked up the road to the Mendoza museum, which basically sits atop some excavation work of the old city of Mendoza. The museum had a range of exhibits, from artefacts dug up to things like sporting trophies with Eva Peron’s name on the side. It was ok, but rather small. It was only when I left that I discovered I was given a student ticket for the measly 4 pesos i paid. I’m taking it as meaning the ticket lady thought i was quite young.
So for lunch, I did something I rarely do. I used the lonely planet guidebook for a lunchtime restaurant idea. I like my lonely planets to assist with planning a trip before and on the go, but rarely have I found their food advice any good. Besides in any given city there are far more restaurants than its possible to list or review. But I thought I’d go try what is apparently the best pizza in Mendoza. It was also only 2 blocks from the hostel which was handy. “Un de rincon de la boca” or in english it literally means “From a corner of the mouth” and didn’t look special. I sat down and was promptly supplied the menu. When I ordered my rather bland sounding jamon y anana pizza, the kind waiter explained i probably only wanted half a pizza or 5 portions. He was right and even that was too much, but it was pretty good pizza and lunch cost me a pittance at 27 pesos.
OK, OK. You want to hear about the winery tour. Well I jumped on a bus, drank some wine, tasted some olive oil and we came back, or do you want the long version with amusing tales? The wine region in Mendoza is centred around a small town called Maipu, which is literally a short 15-30 minute drive from the city.
The first winery we went to was called “Visitante”. We did a guided tour then sat down on a lovely plush lounge to taste the wine. First was a white, that failed to spark anything and the second was a Cabernet Sauvignon that tasted like no other Cab Sav I’ve ever tasted. They were pretty cheap, but then came the expensive stuff, however I was not allowed to taste those….
Next stop was to an olive farm. Yes just like wine tours in Australia, Olives seem to go well with large areas with many vineyards. I did learn something though, only extra virgin olive oil will freeze and coagulate, then return it to room temperature and it will eventually go back to normal. Anything less than extra virgin won’t cut it. Now I’m not sure who or why they chose the word “virgin” to describe oil, but its to do with the acid level in the oil. Less than 1% and it makes it an extra virgin. Like a golden apple on a tree waiting to be eaten.
So there was one more stop on this winery tour and if it wasn’t another winery I’d want my money back. Luckily it was another winery, but this one was for hippies as it was an organic winery. We were shown various grape extraction/torture machines and a pile of grape waste used to fertilise the vines again. Kind of like plant cannabalism really.
Onto the wine tasting, the white was much nicer than the last place and so was the red. I asked to try another. Sorry, these are the only wines we have for tasting. Well can I taste them again. No you’ve had a taste. So before I pushed my luck with the wine nazis and ended up dangling over the grape extraction machine in a scene reminiscent from a James Bond movie, I stopped asking and walked outside. I’m not buying any of their wine, even if I did like it. Oh yeah I put it on my feedback form too.
However my guide Emmanuel, was a good bloke so he got good feedback. He also didn’t flirt with the ladies too much and helped me with my spanish so i too could one day flirt with ladies in spanish.
Ooh spanish phrase of the day time. Feel free to send me suggestions on spanish phrase of the day. Or if you want me to photograph something let me know. So today is a direct response from the winery staff “Señor, el vino caro el mismo sabor, pero mejor”. Yes apparently the expensive wine tastes the same but also better.
So tomorrow is a long bus trip to Cordoba. People today warned me off going there, but I have a tip from my teacher regarding a parilla, so I have to go. apparently though my bus seat is like a jason recliner on wheels, so you may get a blog entry all about the comfort level of Argentine buses tomorrow night. Bet you all can’t wait for that now.
hasta la vista.