After catching the ferry back across to Buenos Aires from Montevideo we decided to head straight across the country on an overnight bus to Mendoza. The bus wasn't until the early evening so a glamorous afternoon was spent in the ferry terminal rather than lugging our packs around BA in the heat!
A short 16 hours later (and £150 down for the trouble) we arrived in Mendoza, a large-ish town in Western Argentina famed for its wine production - something I obviously know nothing about - Georgina was excited though!!
After the suspect dorms in Uruguay we opted for a double room at 'Hostel Suites Mendoza' - more a small motel than a hostel set up and our room came with a small sun trap terrace which was an added bonus!
We weren't interested much in Mendoza other than the vineyard tours that were available, these can be done to suit any budget with all out private tours (with no doubt excellent food and wine along the way) against the self guided bike hire option at the other end of the scale - Georgina likes wine, I like bikes and saving money - it was a no brainer!!
To get around Mendoza you need a re-chargable card the same as in BA (think Oyster card), luckily a British couple we met in Uruguay had already been to Mendoza so kindly gave us theirs so with a quick 40 peso (£2) top up we headed off to catch the bus out to the wine region. The bus took about 25 minutes and was about 10 pesos (50p) each.
We had heard good things about 'Mr Hugo Bikes' so I downloaded an offline Google map of the area so I could track the bus journey and we'd get off at the right bus stop. As we approached the vineyards the bus driver - maybe in affiliation? - stopped right outside a different company - 'Maipu Bikes' instead. Thinking there shouldn't really be any difference between companies we took the convenient option in front of us. (Note to business owners - rent/buy the unit outside the bus stop!!)
The over-friendly owner (George liked him, I'm suspicious of over enthusiasm) gave us a small map detailing the local vineyards, what you could see/drink at each and cycling distances in between - all rather useful. So after handing over 100 pesos (£5 each) for our bikes we headed off to our first stop!
We decided (I decided) to only visit 3 vineyards and take our time rather than rush as many places as we could, I've heard wine is for sophisticated people and should be enjoyed rather than chugged but more importantly Georgina struggles to ride a bike sober let alone after 10 glasses of wine!!
Our first stop was at a boutique vineyard called 'Mevi', a small outfit with a terrace overlooking the nearby mountains - its safe to say this was a popular stop. Unfortunately I can't tell you much about the wines, one was red, one was pink and the other was white. I had a coke, maybe a 2016 with a hint of plastic infused with sugar - it was nice. What I do know is that for around £4 all in, it was bloody good value!!
Our second stop was just up the road at 'Tempus Alba', a modern vineyard where you could look around at the cellar and all that wine stuff before settling on the terrace for the taster menu (another 3 glasses). We decided to enjoy the scenery (and sunshine) here for a bit longer and had lunch to go with our wine / lemonade tasting.
Apologies but I have no idea what the last Vineyard was called, it was a more traditional fancy affair with a small garden surrounded by old stables and gazebo's. Sensing George was feeling it a little now she decided (I decided for her) that she'd have a single glass of the Malbec rather than the 3 glass taster (which is more like 3 normal glasses!)
We made the short wobbly ride back to Maipu bikes, handed over our bikes and caught the bus back to Mendoza. All in all, a very good day