Hope you're well. Couple of entries for you today, which we'll post separately.
When we wrote last we were at Iguazu Falls - from there, we took a long journey to Mendoza (Argentina's biggest wine region) with a pit stop en route in Cordoba.
Cordoba was a nice city, very studenty so we felt rather old as we had a couple of drinks on the busy bar street with all the young 'uns (some of whom had egg and flour all over them so we reckon it must have been graduation or something, unless that's just the look they're rockin' these days). As well as battered students, there are also lots of pretty whitewashed Jesuit buildings, but our favourite thing about Cordoba was wandering around in the warm sunshine and alfresco lunching, mmm...
When we got to Mendoza, we headed straight to Maipu which is where quite a few of the vineyards are. We stayed in a lovely posada in the heart of the countryside, really peaceful and relaxing, with a friendly (huge) Old English Sheepdog called Tommy to keep us company.
We visited a few wineries by foot and by bike, all set in beautiful surroundings with snow-capped mountains in the distance, and quite quickly got the hang of swirling, sniffing and slurping the local vino. It was interesting to see the ultra modern wineries side by side with the ones that have been around for donkey's years - ever diplomatic, we liked all the wine, old and new. We developed a bit of a taste for Malbec, which Mendoza is particularly known for - and which makes a delicious rose wine as well as the more famous red.
It wasn't all booze though - we also visited an olive oil producer and tasted different types of oils and learnt a bit about how it's made (as much as we could decipher from the fastest talking guide ever).
As well as our day of cycling between vineyards (25km which is unheard of for me and left me very achy indeed...), we kept up the Great Outdoors theme with a morning's horse riding. After a few initial jitters, we both really enjoyed it - perhaps because we were ambling at a very tranquilo pace.
Mendoza city itself is very pretty too and we spent a couple of nights in the centre. It's in the desert but you wouldn't know it as they channel water down from the surrounding mountains so it's pleasantly green and leafy, and good for a wander.
Mendoza was our last stop in Argentina and from there travelled to Santiago in Chile. We were sad to leave Argentina but after over a month there we'd been to most of the places we wanted to and OD'd slightly on steak so it was the right time to move on.
We only stayed in Santiago one night as we needed to get up North to San Pedro de Atacama where we were picking up our salt flats tour. We've just come back from there today, an amazing but exhausting experience, and we'll do a separate post for there shortly.
lots of love
Helene and Roland x