We’ve been a little busy these last couple weeks. So busy that this little blog has been completely neglected. Update time.
Mendoza is funny sometimes. Example: Todd and I saw an ad in the paper for a polo tournament. Since, we are now experts on horse sports and have attended one other polo match, we figured it was a must show. In BA we saw the best of the best of Argentina. Here in Mendoza, not so much. We took a taxi out to Guaymallen or what felt like the middle of nowhere. We arrive at a massive field. Actually 3 massive polo fields. There are at least 100 horses, lots of men, a couple of cars, and empty bleachers. Basically, anyone there was family, coaches, or horse trainers, so our presence was very obvious. As we stood behind the goal post, a tad shocked at the circumstances, and oblivious that we were technically on the field, we were quickly brought back to reality by the 8 horses and riders barrelling down in our direction. It was a tad scary. Don’t worry, we survived but quickly decided to take a seat on the sidelines. We pulled out our sandwiches and enjoyed the tranquillity of the moment; the wind through the willows, the sun shining above us, and the quiet of being out of the city. That is minus the sound of pounding horse hooves. Even though the polo was subpar to say the least, the day was wonderful. Always nice to leave the city, only to return with a new appreciation.
With time winding down here in Mendoza, we are trying to pack it all in. So after a great day out at the polo field it was time to take a tour of the vineyards via bike. Bike tours through Maipu is probably the number one backpacker experience when they visit Maipu. Four months in Mendoza and we still hadn’t had this experience, so we were off.
We rented the bikes through Bikes and Wine. You walk to the bus stop and take a 20 minute bus out to Maipu. There an employee greets you and takes you to the shop where you pick up a bottle of water, get a quick run down of the map, and of course a bike. It was pretty simple. First stop, the museum. I am a sucker for cheesy museums and this was no exception. No explanations, little organization, and a lot of old steel machines for plowing, de-stemming, pressing, etc. And of course a glass of wine. It was going to be a good day.
Now, one minor detail. Todd may have been the catalyst for this idea, but the reality is he doesn’t like bike riding. The bikes are too small making his hamstrings hurt, his hands get sore from gripping the handlebars, and then there is the bum pain that slowly creeps up on you. And it goes on and on. So, as I was tootling under the tree canopy, vines and olive trees lining the road, Todd was struggling. A quick bike change and things got a little better. He is a trooper though and endured the ride with a smile.
We finally made it to Bodega Carinae, the furthest vineyard 11km up the road. It was better then expected. A small boutique winery with the Rolland consultant team managing the production of the wine. We did a side by side tasting of the different levels of Malbec. Amazing how one grape can take on so many different forms. We were off from there heading back down the road. Already 2:30 and one vineyard down. Where had the time gone? Next stop, Finca Cerno. We arrived and were greeted by the wonderful smell of grilling meat. Always a good start. But we couldn’t find anyone to help us. They only had the grill guy and one wine guy working and the wine guy was preoccupied with a tasting for three business men. Apparently, the bike tour folks were not as important. He even asked us to change seats so that we weren’t so close to the business guys. Not impressed we decided to head to Tempus Alba.
Great decision. Seeing as the day was freezing and we were completely unprepared for the weather, the warmth of the winery was great. So great in fact we tasted some wines and dined on some awesome cheese with grilled toast. I have seen grilled provolone on many menus here, so today was the day to give it a go. And wow! Hot, bubbling, melted cheese, with crispy top and bottom. I love you, Brie, but you have been replaced. It was incredible.
We enjoyed a couple more wines, some terrible absinthe and great conversation back at the bike shop. They just kept pouring the wine, terrible, terrible wine, but we were cold and caught in the moment so at the time, it was just perfect. We bussed it back to the city and grabbed some drinks with our new friends. Good wine and good times!
I don’t recover from drinking the way I used to, so Wednesday morning was a bit rough. But there was more to be done, like winemaker night with Altamisque. The wine was good, not great, but the winemaker was not the most entertaining. Luckily, our new friends Chris and Marydale showed up. After winemaker night we enjoyed some wine at the Winery. But more then the wines we enjoyed some great conversation. When you are travelling, you meet a lot of people. Some you will hang around for weeks, yet not feel connected. While others, like these two, it seems so natural. And that’s a good feeling.
So, after a busy week we took Thursday and Friday off. But not the weekend. Today we are off to somewhere, only Todd knows. He has planned a surprise weekend get away. So exciting! I love surprises. I do know that we are going to Jerome’s brewery in El Salto, he bought food provisions, a damajuana (think jug o’wine times 3), we need sleeping bags, it may snow :(, and I think he may be renting a car. I will let you know on Monday.
One more thing… Todd went to buy said provisions last night and returned from the grocery store speaking of a massive run on water. Ok, weird. Not just a couple of bottles, he said grocery carts full and grandmas throwing elbows. As we are looking up the reason on the internet we hear a knock, knock, knock at the door. It was our landlord. She came to explain that the city was turning off the water for the night, so she asked us not to take a shower, flush the toilet, basically use the water because it would dry out the tank and cause problems. The problem, mercury. Yes, they found mercury in the water here 28 times the normal level. Good thing we are leaving town for the weekend. And as we predicted, the water was not turned back on last night, it will be off until tonight but most likely till Sunday.