“We’re inquiring about real estate,” I said. “We’d better leave now if we want to see the rest of South America.” On our second visit to the region we anticipated that Mendoza could get under our skin. It’s pleasant and pretty and easy to get around under a canopy of Sycamore tree lined streets along irrigation canals. With atmospheric plazas and hip cafes it’s easy to forget that this is a desert oasis, kept green with the Inca inspired water management originating in the snow caped Andes Mountains to the west.
With the surrounding vineyards and wineries (1200!) and wine tours and wine tastings and the food…well we could get used to this. For our second Thanksgiving on the road, we celebrated with a wine tour of O. Fournier and a fabulous lunch among the vines at La Azul in the Valle De Uco. Accompanied by new friends from Brazil and Argentina we were in a heavenly state of contentment on our holiday away from home. Then again, what’s not to like? This was a big step up from the mediocre chili rellenos at a lonely hostel in Copper Canyon, Mexico last year.
Winning the lottery for what may be the most hospitable hotel staff in Mendoza at Hotel Mallorca, we were escorted by Gerard to Embalse Potrerillos de Mendoza, a nearby reservoir with occasional wind for kite boarding. The conditions are tricky with light winds coming and going and Jay performed his right of passage at the site with a dead calm wind landing on some craggy rock cliffs opposite the launch site. Stranded, windless and too far to swim least Jay walk barefoot and bloodied along the ridge, Gerard and Mary ran a long distance for his rescue carrying his shoes.
With a longer visit and enough time to put down our glasses of wine there would be plenty to keep us busy. There is trekking in the nearby Andes around Aconcagua (6962m/22,835ft) the western hemisphere’s highest peak, there is cycling, rafting and skiing. We’ll be back!