Meh In Mendoza

09.August 2009

Argentina

Seriously, Staight Up Although the drive through the Andes from Santiago to Mendoza was breathtaking, taking us straight up one side of a mountain and then slowly easing back down the other side, we found Mendoza itself a bit lacking.

It seems that, in the summer, there would be plenty to do. But, in the winter, the city is definitely much, much quieter.

There certainly is plenty of wine…it’s good and cheap too. There are lots of cafes and restaurants and squares but not a lot of sights to see. In summer I could see that the tree lined streets would provide welcome shade for the sidewalk cafes where one could wile away an afternoon easily. But in winter it’s too chilly to lounge for too long and, outside of skiing and vineyard touring, other activities are minimal.

Olive Oil Production We did tour a winery (or two), and an olive grove too. We walked and walked and walked and, upon discovering a large park just off the downtown we got a long needed run in too.

Serious About Siesta in Mendoza Mendocinians are serious about their siesta. Come 1PM the shops are shut up tight, traffic slows to a dribble and everyone is heading home for lunch and a nap. Until about 4PM there is nothing open except cafes and restaurants and, as we weren’t in love with either of the hostels we tried out, we were at a bit of a loss as to what to do.

I wanted to like it, really I did, but sometimes things just are what they are. I won’t say I didn’t like it, but I certainly will not be rushing back. Sorry Mendoza, but you underwhelmed me.

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7 Responses to “Meh In Mendoza”

  1. Linda Says:

    Sometimes one has to just “go with the flow”…. and take advantage of the
    1 to 4 pm daily siestas!!

  2. Nomadic Matt Says:

    sorry to hear that. What about the wine? Was the wine under or over whelming?

    • Gillian Says:

      Ah yes, the wine. The wine is definitely fabulous! Plentiful and cheap…just the way I like it. We have tried cheap wine and expensive wine…it’s all good!

  3. Elizabeth Says:

    I was there last winter, er, summer, and it was HOT. Really, really hot. Those leafy trees didn’t provide much relief! We noticed the same thing about the Mendocino siesta, moreso than anywhere else we visited in South America. After spending a terrible Christmas with a friend who lived there, we treated ourselves for a night at the Park Hyatt (that beautiful white hotel in the center of town), the highlight of our time in Mendoza!

  4. Akila Says:

    Gillian, Just found your site via Almost Fearless. Congrats on taking the plunge! We are leaving in one month — and it feels a little insane that we are actually doing this. Just curious, but what were the winery tours like? Did they actually take you around the vineyards or were you just in the pressing areas? It seems like every winery tour we have been to just takes us into the pressing areas and we would like to see one where we actually go in the vineyards, though maybe it wouldn’t be all that interesting. Or was it the winery tours that were underwhelming?

  5. tom berend Says:

    We planned on spending two weeks in Mendoza, ended staying for six and only left because we had an apartment booked in Bs. As. Mendoza isn’t much of a tourist town, and English isn’t widely spoken outside of tourist spots. But there’s a lot to see and do, and if you can settle in, it is nicest place we have seen in South America. Everyone is unbelievably friendly – you can’t go to dinner without making friends with the next table. If you go to a milonga (tango club), everyone else will be a ‘regular’ and they will make a point of pulling you onto the dance floor so you feel welcome. Arts and culture are huge – there is a terrific variety of live theater, live music, and dance performances. Once you figure out the buses, you can get around easily. We loved everything about Mendoza.

  6. Bijaya Ghimire Says:

    You say- ”we found Mendoza itself a bit lacking.” but we found your narration complete for readers like as me who love to read travel narratives.