Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Semana Santa Travelogues: First Impressions of Mendoza

I would like to use this blogpost to introduce the beautiful city of Mendoza to you because I am guessing that most of you haven’t heard of that place before. So let's start with map to show he geograhical location. 

Mendoza is the name of a province in Argentina as well as its capital city where we stayed during our trip. And from the beginning on, I couldn’t help but adore the city with all its charm. It has kind of a southern European vibe and at the same time it’s very adorable. To me the whole city felt like vacation. And not just because I actually was on vacation, but because I kinda felt like it would just be too odd to live there because it’s such a vacation-y place. Very unreal. In the most positive way.

Plaza Independencia

And our hostel fit perfectly into that vacation-y flair. I am fairly sure that it is the best Hostel in all of Mendoza. And the fact that it was completely booked kind of underlines that. When we got to said Hostel, our room wasn’t quite ready for us to move in yet and so we just hung out outside on the patio for a while.  We met two girls, one from England and one from Belgium (and altogether it was a pretty international crowd there), who shared their experiences with us and we found out that you could just take a ladder and pick your own grapes from the grapevines that grew all over the patio to provide shade. They also recommended that we do a bike and wine tour where you rent some bikes and then cycle from one winery to the next and try some of Mendoza’s wine. So we added that to our to-do list. After all Mendoza is Argentina’s most famous wine growing province.

If you ever go to Mendoza, I can only recommend you to stay at this place

Part of the patio

After a little while, our room was ready and we moved in. Typical hostel room so nothing too fancy here. Bunk beds and lockers. Though we had a room with direct access to the patio which was pretty sweet. However, we also had the room with the worst wifi signal. But location tops internet connection anyways.

Following that we went to check out the city for a while and found a square named Plaza Independencia near our hostel. It was super pretty with lots of trees and a fountain in the middle. And that fountain combined with the brightly shining sun resulted in a beautiful rainbow. 

Not sure if that little boy running in the way ruined the picture or made it way more awesome

After checking out our surroundings we decided to  have some ice cream and coffee. And let me tell you, the ice cream was good! I had pistachio and super dulce de leche. It was divine! We pretty much spent all afternoon hanging out in that café, talking and enjoying our vacations.

In the evening the hostel organized a Pizza party and we decided to join it. And that was a wise decision because we were hungry and there were almost unlimited supplies of pizza with all kinds of different toppings. We also got to know some of the people that stayed in the hostel. It was a pretty mixed group but mostly it was people who spent half a year in South America, travelling around, going on adventures and enjoying life.

In the end most of the people went to bed and the only ones remaining were a guy named Patricio from Buenos Aires, another one named Daniel from Canada and Rachel, Izzie, Erin and I. At some point we decided to ask for a deck of cards at the reception and play some card games. After an unsuccessful attempt to explain a game that only one of us knew we decided that poker would probably be the best option, because everybody kind of knew how it works. But then we encountered a new problem : What should we use as a currency? We didn’t want to play for money and strip poker was also out of the question, so what should we do?

Izzie, Rachel, Patricio, Daniel and Erin

Eventually we found a creative solution to our currency problem. Since it was nice weather we were sitting outside beneath a sky of grapevines. So why not use grapes? After all, the hostel encourages their guests to pick their own grapes.  So we pokered for grapes.  Which is kind of weird when you think of it. But then again grapes are the biggest capital of the province of Mendoza. The only problem here was that we couldn’t snack on the grapes because that would be like eating our money. But since we had incredible amounts of pizza earlier we weren’t exactly hungry anyway. And after many rounds of “Uva-Poker” (uva = Spanish word for grape) we went to bed in order to get some sleep so we would be well-rested for the next day’s adventure.

A nice game of Uva-Poker

P.S. This was the second part of my “Semana Santa Travelogues”. If you haven’t read the first one yet, go check it out HERE

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