Our first impression of Mendoza was, meh! But then it grew on us. There is nothing outstanding about the architecture and the graffiti leaves a lot to be desired, but we found an understated charm to the place. Firstly, Mendoza was leveled by an earthquake in the 1800’s and had to be rebuilt, so the architecture is not that old. There aren’t many tall buildings in case there were to be another earthquake, and the streets were widened with pretty squares added as meeting points. The streets are tree-lined to cool the town down and provide much-needed shade from the really hot sun in what is essentially a desert. What were once beautiful squares are now shabby remnants of how the city used to be. It is a shame really. In spite of all of that, we like Mendoza. It is easy to walk around as it is on a grid system, and there are many cafes and restaurants to visit.
The weather has been very warm since we arrived and we spent most of our time outside, so we didn’t visit any museums. We wandered around the town to get our bearings and visited the large St Martin’s park at the other end of town where you pass through the smart residential section of the city. There were some lovely homes here, all with the obligatory metal bars across the windows.
However, the draw to Mendoza is that it is the main area for producing wine. It is also nestled in the Andes and therefore one can take part in many outdoor activities.
We took a High Andes tour along Ruta 7.
We also had a stop to visit the Inca’s Bridge, a natural bridge created by nature and was the site of thermal baths which has now been closed.
When visiting Mendoza, it would be a sin not to visit a winery, so we booked a half day tour that included a visit to two wineries and an olive oil factory.
We certainly learned a lot about wine and olive oil that we didn’t know before!
The next day we went rafting. I hadn’t done it before and was eager to try it.
This is not us. We bought a DVD of our adventure though and will hopefully get to post some of the photos. Bob took these of the second group at the end of the ride where is was very calm, but we did hit some level 4 water. We got very wet! It was amazing! As you can see, the water is a lovely chocolate colour due to all the minerals and sediment, and is why I didn’t call it white water rafting! There were also kayakers that took to the water. I would be too scared to do that!
We also did some horseback riding out in the desert. Unfortunately, we lost the photos for that. We had a wonderful time and Bob even went for a gallop! After that we had an asado with another group. A great time was had by all!