Merry Chimbas from Mendoza

30 Dec

Heading over the Andes from Santiago the road climbs to over 3500m, looking back down the Chilean valley the tangled tarmac resembles a pile of spaghetti. Perspective is altered by the enormous peaks still towering over us, the highest stands at nearly 7000m, their great size fooling our brains into thinking we could almost reach out and touch them.

We arrive at Mendoza bus terminal in the late afternoon and jump in a taxi – as experienced travellers we insist on the meter being turned on, it duly is, and as we nod in worldly wise recognition to one another it clicks over all of 1 and a half pesos before the taxi stops, at our hostel, Chimbas. Hmm, sure it looked further on the map.

Our shrunken stomachs are soon wrapped in our most glamorous finery for Kelly’s birthday dinner (read clean T shirt) and we treat ourselves to a parilla on the pavement in downtown Mendoza.

Merrily, we turn in for Christmas Eve with full bellies and big ideas of a Christmas roast for the following night…

After last night’s birthday dinner and the previous night’s sleep on the bus it’s a late start for us on Christmas Eve. No problems, we’re on holiday; so by 3pm we’ve made it into town and topped up the caffeine levels. Right, let’s go and get our Christmas Fayre….. Strangely the first supermarket we come to is shut, as is the second, as is, as it turns out, the rest of town, except for the corner deli – where after an exhaustive search of the shelves we come away with… ham, cheese, bread rolls and a carton of vino toro – hmm, not exactly what we had anticipated! Kelly’s Christmas call home and the description of the family feast does little to ease the hunger pangs, tales of marron, crab and prawns make us nothing if not a bit more hungry.

Christmas day is spent poolside at our Hostel ‘Chimbas’ we empty the hostel’s beer fridge before heading into town to catch up with chums Bryn and Nicola for a much needed slap up meal, finished off in the early hours with a round of Manzana liquor – dusted off at the back of the restaurant after a thorough, but ultimately fruitless, search for Crème de Menthe….

Boxing day is a rest day – during which we stroll the streets of Mendoza and take in its leafy charms. The following days then see a medley of activity – a bicycle wine tour through the Maipu valley with the gang on the 27th (wine downed before we saddled up = our kind of tour). As the brakes didn’t work there was no problem in getting them mixed up for the more inebriated of us.

Not even a flat tyre could keep us at bay…

The following day Kelly and I hiked and abseiled – a first for me, which came about as naturally as horse riding does. What’s the difference between abseiling in Australia and in Argentina? Marginal difference in safety (read in the latter country it is of little concern if your helmet won’t do up nor if anyone is holding onto your safety ropes).

We rounded things off on the following day with a couple of hours ‘white’ water rafting down the chocolate-coloured Mendoza river, the colour comes from the sediment washed downstream.

All good fun, especially when you remember to keep your mouth shut and your trouser legs rolled up in a homage to H Leonard.

So from here we’re heading back over the Andes into Chile and the seaside town of Valparaiso for New Years Eve…

Cheers for now

Matt x

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4 Responses to “Merry Chimbas from Mendoza”

  1. wendy January 19, 2012 at 10:10 am #

    Love the Christmas feast – at least you had the most important ingredient – wine!
    How adventurous and fit you both are looks as if your having a ball. Keep safe love Wendy and Co xxx

    • wordsfromtheview February 5, 2012 at 11:10 pm #

      we had wine, lady wendy. did you catch the pic on the blog of ‘vino toro’ – wine in box. classy people we have become indeed! x k

  2. Daniel Catania January 25, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

    hey guys! it’s daniel from the rafting expedition! i was showing some co-workers my photos from the trip and one lady asked me where mendoza was on the map. i googled images of the mendonza river and your blog came up! how random!!! we purchase the CD from argentina rafting. there’s some really good shots! email me your address and lilee and I will mail you a copy.

    • wordsfromtheview February 5, 2012 at 11:12 pm #

      hola my friend! wow, feeling slightly famous! shall email you shortly – i, of course, promptly lost lilee’s email address on the napkin and had hoped she’d email me instead – would love a copy of the pics. keep in touch! x k

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