It seemed very romantic and exciting to travel over the Christmas holiday, in addition to taking our minds off what traditions our families were surely carrying out without us back home.
The reality is, though, that towns shut down for Christmas. And I can’t blame them. I wouldn’t want to work on Christmas day.
So while flying over the Andes Mountains and arriving in Mendoza, Argentina on Christmas Eve was exciting and even romantic, finding much open, including a restaurant for dinner, was a bit of an adventure.
But it gave us a chance to walk around the city and we ended up at a little restaurant that filled our hungry tummies with delicious food.
Ironically, we had chosen to head south partly to escape some of the heat and humidity of Paraguay. The day we landed, however, Mendoza was experiencing a heat wave. Out of the ordinary for them, but I’m convinced it was a Christmas gift to us to make us feel at home.
Thankfully Christmas Day was a much cooler, super nice day and we enjoyed a pleasant 12 mile walk (data courtesy of Nalena’s ever-encouraging FitBit) around the city and up a cerro (large hill) and back.
The air was fresh and the views were beautiful.
A highlight of our time in Mendoza was our self-guided biking winery tour. We rented bikes and headed out with a map marked with the local wineries.
We stopped at three of them in addition to one chocolate factory. We enjoyed tours and tastings and an absolutely delicious lunch at the organic winery. My plate full of huge, chunky, seasoned grilled veggies was one of my favorite meals of the whole trip.
We especially enjoyed the challenge of snapping a shot of us riding along a little dirt road through the pretty vineyards. Very picturesque and quaint. Well, this picture was taken before I wiped out trying to jump my bike over one of the little irrigation ditches. No major harm done, though. Just a bruised ego.
We laughed because while that was a small portion of our bike riding experience, the majority was on the normal roads with cars and trucks buzzing around us.
We didn’t mind too much, though, especially as the drivers in Mendoza were so polite compared to those in Paraguay. Imagine our surprise when they actually yielded to pedestrians – something we’d all but forgotten about.
Our time in Argentina ended with a bus ride west through the Andes mountains and into Chile. Each time I’d wake up from my cat naps I’d catch my breath at the views of the lofty mountains out my window. Stay tuned for the details on that leg of the trip coming up soon!