The first thing we wanted to find in Mendoza was a nice brunch restaurant – we were going to truly embrace being in another Metropolitan hub! Luckily we found a gorgeous little cafe with outside seating serving up some incredible scrambled eggs and avocado breakfast – we could easily have been in England except the price was much less offensive than it would have been at home. Feeling well fed we decided to try to get some chores done.
An important thing on the list of to-dos was to get Mikeys hair cut as it had got a little out of hand! Luckily google maps led us to a barber which was happy to do the job for £10, and unlike in Colombia they were a little better at actually leaving a little hair on his head! Next Annie needed a new pair of jeans – a task which turned out to be less straightforward than it would first seem. Despite having a variance of waist sizes, we were told that there were only two different options for length in Argentina. Either ridiculously short or ridiculously long! We left the shop a little perplexed, however started to notice all the women in jeans had them either showing ankle (i.e. far too short) or the girls were super tall so needed the extra long ones. We decided we’d try to make the jeans Annie had last the rest of the trip as much as possible.
Feeling accomplished (it may have only been two chores but remember at this point we’d been work free for well over a year!) we celebrated by doing the only thing we knew how – going to a wine tasting! Rather than visiting a vineyard we stayed in the centre of town and went to a wine bar for the afternoon. There we sampled 6 wines from vineyards all over the region and found another couple to buy (getting close to our limit!). Rather than just a shopping experience though we bought a bottle of our favourite white and enjoyed it in the sunny courtyard, a welcome break from the bustle of the city.
As we’d started with an indulgent day we thought why stop there? That evening we headed to what was probably the most extravagant meal of the trip. We headed to Azafran, a famous steak restaurant with a set menu including steak! Having made the mistake of ordering cheap steak in Buenos Aires and both getting sick we decided this time we were going to do it right and not keep it cheap. So we had a three course meal, with unrivalled service. Rather than a wine menu they had a whole cellar which they took us to and with the help of the wine server we selected our wine from the shelf. We enjoyed this process so much we got a second bottle later on in the meal! We both opted for the steak for starters and it was done perfectly ‘vuelta y vuelta’ (rare). We ended up at the restaurant until they closed at 1am, and it was a fantastic atmosphere.
The morning after, we were feeling a little fragile and so headed back to our favourite brunch spot for a second time! Then we left the city, heading an hour south to a campsite (naturally with some more vineyards). When we got to camp, both still feeling a little fragile, we spent the whole day relaxing in a huge campsite which was completely to ourselves (it even had hot water!). After recovering the next day we headed to a beautiful vineyard about 20 minutes away, for a 5 course lunch! It also included 5 glasses of wine (and an introductory champagne no less). Not only was the food and service incredible, but the views of the Andes really set this vineyard apart from the rest. Unfortunately when we tried to buy the red desert wine they said they needed it for the rest of the servings that season as they hadn’t made enough! Obviously it’s not a particularly famous product there, but it was delicious and we were sad we couldn’t take a sample home.
As we were driving back to the campsite we took a few bottles back with us and headed back so Mikey could enjoy more than just a taste, as Annie had been finishing his glasses during the meal! Before we left though we met some Argentinians from Buenos Aires who told us it was a popular holiday destination for them, so we must have chosen well! We enjoyed the afternoon in the sun with some of the wine we’d bought, and got an early night. The next day we decided we’d go to one last vineyard for the very last time! This was a smaller batch vineyard and we weren’t so keen on the wines. Still, we met another group of travelling Argentinians who invited us to a famous restaurant about an hour away. We thought we might go but weren’t sure, so headed back to camp to see how we’d feel.
Unfortunately as we set up the cooking gear to make lunch, the resident campsite dog gave Mikey a little bite. This resulted a few stressful days of visiting varying hospitals – but that’s a story for next time…