Saturday, February 28, 2009

Wine down to alpine

Did you know people from Mendoza refer to themselves as Mendocinos? I did not know that this might be the origin of name of the that large county on California´s northern coast.

From The Trip, pt. 6: Argentina

Mendoza is built to promote the industry its climate favors. There is nothing we wanted to do more than sit down under a umbrella-covered cafe table, drink some wine and read a book on one of Mendoza´s beautiful wide sycamore-lined avenues. Siesta is an interesting phenomenon in Central Argentina. Everything suddenly closes somewhere between 1 and 3pm, but you can see people in their stores, arranging shoe displays, adding more shower gel to the shelf, chatting together in the back. What is the point of siesta if all the workers still have to stay in the stores, but customers aren´t allowed in? I don´t get it. We ended up going on a tour of two wineries with the added bonus of an olive oil factory. Visiting the wine country here seemed much more guided than on the west coast where you wander in and begin your sipping. Here a young lady guided you around the wine making facilities, straight into a tasting room where she guided you through the taste. They are very proud of their Malbec here. Argentina is number two producer of award-winning Malbecs behind only France. And we were with a French guy on our tour and he seemed to like the wine just fine.

From The Trip, pt. 6: Argentina

From Mendoza we went south across some incredibly flat country to the Patagonian lake district. We have been to the small subalpine towns of Bariloche, El Bolsón, and Esquel, where we now wait for our bus to the Atlantic coast. We snobbishly thought Lake Tahoe was prettier than the lake on which Bariloche sat, but the mountains that separate these towns are very scenic. Lonely Planet claimed El Bolsón was a hippie paradise, but we were disappointed by the few hippies we saw and LP also claimed the small town of Trevelin, south of Esquel, was inhabited by Welsh-speaking immigrants, but that also seemed to be a tease.

From The Trip, pt. 6: Argentina

Tonight we are headed toward Puerto Madryn, where Magellanic penguins and Southern right whales are supposed to roam free. Further north vacationing porteños are the species to look for. Sooner or later we will make it to Buenos Aires.

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