Sunday, May 9, 2010

Good-Bye Mendoza Argentina – Welcome Back to USA

After spending the prior month and another 3 months last year in Buenos Aires, we definitely wanted to try spending some time in Mendoza, the capital of the Wine Country. We had spent 2 nights last year here on our way out of the country to Chile, but it was much to short of time to get the true flavor of living here. We had heard some good things, and wanted to see for ourselves. Yes, it is a really pleasant small city, certainly much more “Tranquilo” (i.e. mellow) than Buenos Aires; and, beautiful in its ‘country’ way. You barely have to drive 15mins. outside the provincial capital, to immediately know you are in the agricultural heartland of the country. Here in Mendoza province, of course, they mostly grow Grapes for wine making and Olives. Drive another 30mins. or so further, and you are at the footsteps of white-capped Mountains, and one of the premier skiing capitals of South America.

As an example of the area’s ‘mellowness’ – and, very strange for us – they take a real afternoon Siesta from 2pm to approx. 5pm, when just about everything closes up (i.e. all restaurants, stores, shops, even pharmacies and groceries). Then everything reopens until around 10-11pm; and, nightlife is quite active with the multitudes strolling about the main streets, including young children and lots of parents with baby strollers. Takes a bit of getting used to for us, especially the late night dining as most restaurants here do not open for dinner until at least 8pm. As expected, people here seem to be far more friendly and open than in the federal capital, Buenos Aires. Though the urban metropolitan area of Mendoza supposedly has close to a million people, the city itself is only about 180,000 and it has that ‘small town’ feel.

Naturally, we traveled outside the City limits on several occasions, to visit some of the better known Bodegas (Wineries and Vineyards), for some wonderful tours and tastings. Our big question is whether there would be enough other activities here to keep us ‘stimulated’ as a place to actually reside. Sure, there are lots of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, climbing, and river rafting in the warmer months, and supposedly excellent Skiing in the Winter months, but cultural and culinary activities in Mendoza though quite extensive for the size of this small city, could never match that of Buenos Aires. However, I would highly recommend Mendoza for visiting, especially for long weekends if we were residing in Buenos Aires, as it is only an hour’s flight (or 12hr bus ride). And, we would love to try skiing in the mountains here as well, if we were ever here in the Winter snowy months.

Not Chicago, however. Consistent with our continuing travel adventure and search for a new place to settle down, we are trying a city neither of us have ever been to – PORTLAND, OR. Our research indicates it is on everyone’s recommended “A-List” for one of the best cities to live in the USA. Going to spend at least 2mos. and perhaps longer; and/or in nearby Seattle thereafter.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


(5/1/10. Mendoza, Argentina)

Yesterday we celebrated our 2-year "Anniversary" since we crossed the border of the USA into Mexico, and began our adventure of World Travel and Living.

To celebrate, took a bus to Lujan de Cuyo, the very heart of Wine Country where we enjoyed three private Winery Tours and tastings (Lagarde, Luigi Bosca, and Carmelo Patti). At Lagarde, we were even fortunate to have timed our visit with the arrival of their best crop of Cabernet Grapes and watched as they were loaded into the crushing machine.

During the evening, we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at La Marchigiana (in downtown Mendoza), an Italian Steakhouse, where we dined on some delicious Canneloni stuffed with spinach, and main entrees of BBQ grilled Suckling Pig and Lamb. Yummy!

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