My spring break adventure in Mendoza with my friends Louisa, Alex and Becca was nothing short of an adventure. On day 1, we signed up for a tour of El Cañón del Atuel expecting to be hiking around, but instead we were whisked away in a van with 7 Argentine tourists, a warm-hearted bus driver, and a peppy tour guide. We saw the beautiful, endless canyon and Alex even went rafting with other group members while Louisa and I risked our lives on a boat tour (aka the slowest boat ever that went in one circle but turned out to be fun).
On day 2 we hiked Cerro Arca, the last service mountain before the actual Andes Mountain range. It was so beautiful to stand on the top of a mountain after 2 hours of hiking and look out at the city of Mendoza then turn around and see the Andes Mountains.
On day 3 we participated in “The Gaucho Experience” which consisted of a horseback ride across the Argentine countryside with a view of the Andes, an asado prepared by gauchos, and a restful sit around a campfire.
Day 4: Mr. Hugo’s bike tour. We were greeted with hugs and a crooked smile when we entered Mr. Hugo’s bike tour shop, just about a 40 minute bus ride from the center of the city. Becca, Alex, Louisa and I each rented a bike and rode together on a plan-your-own wine tour. We went to Familia Di’Tomaso where we had a tour and tasting led by a kind chica a little older than us who actually went to college to study wine. We also had a tasting complete with multiple free sweets from the chef at Traipiche. Here we were able to stand on the balcony over-looking rows and rows of perfectly aligned olive trees. Our final stop was a tour of Entre Olivos where we learned all about olives (Did you know that green and black olives are the same olive? – green are just picked first before they turn black). We ended the day back at Mr. Hugo’s with a glass of fruit juice and another round of hugs.
While every event of the trip was an amazing experience, my favorite part was meeting people from all different nationalities and having to communicate by mixing all languages known to each individual in the conversation. The other people in our “Experiencia Gaucho” were Brazilian and Peruvian; therefore, the connection between us was more difficult due to the differences in our languages. However, when everyone – including the workers on the ranch – sat around the dinner table, something magical occurred. There were people from the US, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Chile and each person was speaking using every language he/she knew in order to communicate. There was not one common language but nevertheless, we were all communicating and learning and laughing. It was a beautiful moment.