I find myself at a loss for words. Yesterday I left Mendoza and I left a piece of my heart with it. When I came to Mendoza I was excited to experience the amazing Argentinian culture that my friends had told me about. What I didn’t expect to find was a family. The group of people I met in Mendoza are some of the most welcoming, fun loving, and caring people I have ever met. Over the past 5 months we have had the chance to share so many laughs, asados, and fernets with coke that I have lost count. When I arrived in Mendoza I arrived with no friends and without a knowledge of the Spanish language and I’m proud to say that those things have changed and, for me, this experience in Mendoza has been life changing and I will never regret my decision to live there.
The time I spent in Mendoza not only gave me a chance to learn Spanish but to truly learn the ways of the Argentinian culture. (For anyone that has a chance to live abroad I highly recommend Argentina.) Everything about the way of life I welcomed. From their love of spending time with others to never rushing and worrying about a schedule (even though sometimes it could get frustrating while waiting for the bus) to their generosity which was exhibited in treating for someone’s dinner/drinks when they didn’t have the cash to go out or inviting people to group events to meet friends. This is an attribute I have definitely not seen in many other places I’ve visited and it was a beautiful thing to see here in Argentina.
Throughout my time in Mendoza, people asked me why I picked it and my answer was simple: wine and hiking. During my time in Mendoza I had the opportunity to visit over 10 bodegas in the 3 different wine regions of Mendoza. This has helped me to develop an even bigger passion for wine and to understand what a really good wine is. I also loved how several of the bodegas took so much time and care in their products and they wanted you to share their passion with them. Highlights from the bodegas I visited were definitely Tierras Alta’s Malbec experience, the chance to see a small, family owned bodega at Carmelo Patti, and one of the best meals (with wine pairings) I’ve ever had at Anduluna.
I also had the opportunity to do some great hiking including the ultimate hike my last weekend in Mendoza: Aconcagua. When I came to Mendoza, visiting Aconcagua was on the top of my list of things to do and I’m proud to say I was able to visit it for three days. The Andes mountains are some of the prettiest mountains I’ve ever seen and having the chance to see the tallest mountain in the Americas left me inspired. (Mainly to come back and climb to the summit.) Some of my other highlights in the mountains include an asados on the banks of the lake in Potrerillos and hiking to Cascada El Salto.
I cannot truly put into words what the last 5 months has meant to me. Mendoza tienes una parte de mi corazón para siempre. Gracias por todos. Now, I start my 5 months of traveling in the rest of South America!