Mendoza has so far been the agreed upon favourite place on our trip. Whether it was the wine, the beef steaks, the local fresh ice cream or the super friendly people we weren’t sure but our four days there could easily have been stretched for many days if our time was not finite.
Highlights in Mendoza included our flat, well located near the main Parque San Martin where we were able to take a tour of the city, wine bodegas and scope out where we wanted to spend more time. The center of Mendoza is busy and vibrant and we felt safe and comfortable getting around. We definitely did not need a car in Mendoza as the city is easy for walking and taxis and buses are cheap. We stayed in an Air BnB apartment in a great location close to all the action.
We had enough time to explore around Mendoza and to see the vineyards that make this area of Argentina world famous. We took a local bus to Cacheuta, about a forty minute ride from Mendoza, where they have hot springs or as they say “termas”. Parque de Aqua Termas is great, although crowed it has so many different pools and various terraces cut into the hillside above a river that you can easily find a “private” spot for your weary bones. In addition their are slides and a “river” of colder water if you enjoy being flushed around in a long circle of bobbing kids. The pools are surrounded by beautiful scenery, below a river and above the Andes. Plenty of food is on hand at the restaurants bordering the parque and souvenir shops abound.
Inside the Parque there are ticket booths for other activities and Javier and I went river rafting and there was just enough white water, making it worth our $25 CAD. The whole area around Mendoza is set up for adventure tourism including climbing, rappelling, and serious white water rafting. Given the prices it would make a vacation very inexpensive if you are coming from places like Canada. Sadly for the Argentines, their peso is very depressed at the moment which means a good rate for foreign tourists coming from a stronger economy. If fact we are finding Argentina to be considerably cheaper than Chile.
All good things must come to an end and with some luck and a little planning we decided to fly to our next destination, Córdoba, which as we flew over the vast patch of brown pampas we celebrated our serendipitous decision. Córdoba itself lacked the appeal of Mendoza and we spent one very hot Sunday wandering the streets only to discover that many of the thing we wanted to see were closed and the streets were eerily empty of traffic and walkers. A university town we explained the absence of activity on “sleeping late” since it was Sunday morning.
We were impressed by the number of colonial buildings and churches and the history behind these impressive reminders of the colonial era.
Like so much of Latin America, street art dominates the inner city and Cordoba had it’s fair share. I love the vibrant colours, the social messages and the sheer courage of public display.
By early afternoon, we found museum that was open in the former “palace” of the Ferreya family. The art pieces on display seemed lost and minor in the splendour of the palace but I enjoyed an exhibit of the works of local woman who were expressing their thoughts and ideas about the inequalities between the sexes. The works spoke to the violence and oppression experiences of women in Argentina, Because this was a government sponsored project it could be a hopeful sign that the consciousness around women’s rights is growing as it is in North America with the “Me Too” movement.
Argentina still has a discernible siesta time lasting from anywhere between 2 and 5 pm, making it difficult to find open restaurants, shops and attractions. By late afternoon we had had enough of the heat and downtown and the call of our swimming pool was strengthened by the hour and so home we went for pool time, beer and a special visit from the usually reclusive house turtle.