26.07.2007 - 01.08.2009 70 °F
Mendoza, Miles traveled
“Medoza….Mendoza….segundo hogar de mi corazon.”
Mike’s quote about Mendoza….”The second home of my heart”.
“Mendoza….a donde mi alma se calento abajo de su hogar.”
Sara’s quote about Mendoza…”where my soul was warmed beneath your hearth.”
Mendoza….(now we are really getting poetic…..a land making its living off the vine, the Sauvignon Blanc, the Merlot, the santo Malbec. A city surrounded by vineyards, olive trees, the Andes.
We arrived in the afternoon (after a 14 hour bus ride) to our hostel, Chalet Bassi, greeted by Adriana and Cecilia. The house demands a description here. As we came up the front walk, the first thing we noticed were the large wooden double doors. Peeking out from the second floor was a beautiful arbored patio. To the left of the front door was a small patio which opened up into one of the bedrooms via two sets of French doors. Upon entering the foyer, a great marble staircase spirals up to the second floor. To the right was the dining room with a magnificent fireplace. The dining room had stained glass windows from wall to wall as a backdrop to the three small tables adorned with fresh flowers each day of our stay. The fireplace mantel and ceiling were decorated with ornate early twentieth century carvings. Overall, it was a place that provided an atmosphere of beauty and comfort.
We stayed in Mendoza a week, and our daily schedule went something like this:
10:00am Wake up and have breakfast which consisted of toast with jelly and hot coffee by the fireplace
11:00 Get ready to go out – shower if necessary. Screw around on the computer.
1:00 Leave house for siteseeing/exploring the city and its many plazas
3:00 Have lunch, which was always very good!
5:00 Explore some more and buy food for dinner which consisted of cheese, salami, bread, wine, and apples, and water, ofcourse
7:00 Hang out at home, talk to Adriana and read/write by the fireplace.
10:00 Eat dinner by fireplace and talk some more.
1:00 Go to room and play Soitaire, Hearts, or other fun computer games we get for free
While in Mendoza, we went on a tour where we visited two wineries, an olive oil factory and a small liquor distillery that also made chocolate. We tasted absinthe (legal up to 75% alcohol in Argentina) in honor of writers Hemminway at el. It is served with teaspoon of sugar mixed with absinthe and lit on fire. The sugar is then dripped into the drink for consumption. It didn’t just burn because of the alcohol, it actually hurts your mouth! WOW! IN honor of our forefathers we also tried mead. Good, but very mild. We explored the local museum, and the ruins of an old church destroyed by an earthquake of 1861. We went for a walk and exercised in a wonderful park that was chuck full of runners, bikers, and rowing teams(there was a lake too). Mostly, though, we hung out in town and got to know it quite well. In Mendoza, the center of town is designed with five separate plazas. The central and largest being the Plaza de Indepencia, which is surrounded by Plaza Espana, Plaza Italia, Plaza de San Martin, and Plaza de Chile. Each has its own character and charms. We got our own bus card and took the trolley and buses everywhere.
We felt very at home….so much that it was difficult to think about leaving so soon. The hospitality was incredible, especially that of Adriana… She made us feel at home storing our food, letting us borrow her wine opener, and tipping us off to local sights and customs. Her daughter, Cecilia, and she would always make sure we had a fire ready and that we never got lost or missed an opportunity to see more of their hometown. In the evening, after having our snack it was often only Sara and I in front of the fire with occasional visits by Adriana to converse.
As you will notice, no pictures this entry as we are still awaiting the arrival of our camera, hence the longer entry. I guess Mendoza was meant just for our memories.