Sunday, July 1, 2007

Mendoza- a Terrifying Hoax

Another restless night on a bus, and we arrived in Mendoza, a major blip on the backpacker circuit. Something about wine tours seem to attract people here...

The Great Bikes and Wines Tour Hoax

What could be more pleasant than spending a lazy Sunday afternoon pedaling our way along winding roads through lush green vineyards, stopping periodically to sample the delights of the local bodegas? That was the scenario we'd conjured up when deciding that pushbike would be the best way to do a tour of Mendozas famous wineries. The reality involved stark, bare, brown vineyards, wine samples well below par, and terrifyingly narrow concrete roads- unbending and roaring with the hellish sound of Argentinean motorists out for a Sunday afternoon drive to the tune of 120 kph.

More dangerous than it looks

These bikes and wine tours surely only stay afloat thanks to the delusions of thousands of idealistic and ignorant tourists- I haven't heard anyone come away with positive reports of the experience. I did come away with a new understanding of the wine making process- and two bottles of wine- but I'm still not sure that the mortal peril I put myself in was worth it.

The Andes are a pleasant backdrop to a unnerving afternoon.

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