declared another national holiday. They are second in the world for the number
of national holidays in the annual calendar, not bad. So 31st October in Chile now not
only represents Halloween, it is an Evangelic holiday. I am in no way
religious, but at this point I decided not to argue with anyone and take a nice
day off from work and have a long weekend away.
With the long weekend looming ahead we were offered the opportunity to cross the
border and spend three days in Mendoza, Argentina, but we all decided against
it due to the fact that we had all agreed to move apartments on Saturday. However,
after a long day in the office I decided that I had to get away and do
something exciting, so at 4 o'clock I called up and booked onto the trip,
forcing Hattie to come with me! Nic had other plans (which got cancelled at
about half nine on the Thursday night, too late for her to get a bus ticket) so
Hattie and I went along with 5 others.
Brief synopsis of the people may be required as it is a complex group:
Ken- half Japanese half Chileno, absolutely hilarious and organised everything
for us (Yuki's brother)
Leo - Brazilian guy from Sao Paulo who works with Ken, another great guy who is
Chris - An english guy who is the worst representation of the British abroad,
ever. Boring. Seriously, he had a discussion with me on a bus about bank
accounts. He also snored making him the most intolerable travelling companion.
Ricardo - One of Ken's best friends, Chileno and really lovely. Good looking
but always carries a bum bag (which, as a random fact, is called a banano in
Spanish), which is no the coolest of outfits!
Andrien - A Canadian girl, from Quebec (French
is her first language) who has only been in Chile since the end of July but
already speaks amazing Spanish.
Our journey to Mendoza
is definitely worth a mention, as it was epic. A journey that was meant to take
us 7 hours, ended up lasting roughly 12 hours of sheer pain. I hate travelling
through the night, and this was truly a night journey of dread. We climbed the
snaking roads of the mountains at break neck speed, keeping me awake and
clinging on for dear life, apparently we hit the pavement at one point, I
didn't feel that though, luckily, otherwise I would have written a strongly
worded letter to the bus company in true British
fashion. Getting through the
border took roughly 3 hours, due to the Chilean holiday it appeared that the
world and his wife were going to Argentina.
Our hostel was amazing, even though Ken had warned us that due to us deciding
very late there may no be room in any hostels so we may have to sleep in the
park. No joke. He actually said that he had done it before and it wasn't a
problem! Lucky we checked into the Life House
hostel without a problem. It had
a swimming pool and an outdoor courtyard that was an amazing suntrap, and it
only cost about 70p a night, which isn't bad, especially as we got breakfast
We arrived in Mendoza
at about 10, too late to actually have a nap, so
we got straight to the tourist
stuff. Argentina is so
European, Mendoza has a huge cafe culture and
everyone was on the streets drinking coffee and generally being very civilised,
although prices were so much cheaper than Chile
and much much cheaper than England.
After sorting ourselves out we opted to hire
some bikes and head to the vineyards
in Maipú, which was awesome and really idyllic, once we left the main roads and
went between the vineyards. We also visit a chocolate and liquor place, that
had so of the most attractive sounding alcohols, we all got a shot to try, I
had the chocolate and hazelnut, which was gorgeous.
For our final stop we wanted to head to a
family run vineyard, but this proved a lot harder than we thought, as on the
map it looked close, however we ended up spending roughly 45 minutes cycling
along a dusty main road swerving enormous trucks and ignoring furious beeping
from cars to reach said vineyard. Once there, none of us found the idea of
drinking wine appealling and could have done with a nice cold glass of water,
as we were all knackered from the ride there! We then headed back into the city
as the sky clouded over.
Although a little tired, spirits were still high and we headed to an all you
can eat restaurant, there are tonnes in Argentina, as the country is so
famous for its meat. And for roughly 4 pounds we
each ate enough to feed a family
for a week! Unfortunately, when it came to pudding we were met my problems, as
you had to be served dessert and thus you were forced to moderate your eating
or alternatively eat as much as you wanted but feel the thoroughly ashamed as
the chef cut you a 6 slice of cake!
From there we headed for a few drinks, and as Ken is happy to chat to anyone
and everyone he managed to locate a really cool place that, apparently, very
few tourists know about. It is a bar called Decimo that is absoultely
amazing. It is on the 10th floor of the tallest building in Mendoza and at night we could see the
entirety of the city lit up. Breath taking. Really reminded me of the OXO tower
in London and I would thoroughly recommend it, especially
as drinks were still cheaper than England, although relatively
expensive by Argentinian standards. We just slowly drank our drinks and
reclined on sofas on the balcony of the bar, a really great memory, photos just
couldn't do it any justice.
Due to the fact that Leo managed to fall asleep in the bar, we decided to head
home at around 2ish, with Ken forcing us all to set alarms for the next day so
that we could get up early and make the most of it!