Our buddy Julio picked us up before 7 and got us to the domestic airport in Buenos Aires with plenty of time to spare. Buenos Aires has two airports and we’ll be using both on this trip. We arrived to the international airport last Sunday which is north of the city. All domestic flights leave from another airport that’s right near the city center. When we begin our trek home we’ll fly back to the domestic airport and have to take a shuttle to the international airport to catch our flight back to the USA. Sounds a bit complicated but we don’t have to worry about that for more than a week.
Upon on our arrival in Mendoza, on the Argentine national airline, we were met by our guide Aida and driver Walter. They took us on a tour of the city of Mendoza, including a look at the civic center which is home to the oldest Andean flag, representing the region’s relationship with neighboring Chile and Peru.
While in town we stopped to change dollars to pesos at an official cambio. The posted rate was 6:1 but because we are tourists they gave us 9:1. Our guide explained that the “blue” market rate is a relatively new thing, within the last year or so. The Argentine economy is really struggling and the government is trying to control the peso. The blue markets are what happens when the government places restrictions on trade. Everyone we’ve talked to agrees that it’s a mess, but it’s working in our favor at this point. Good time to be a tourist in Argentina.
After a final stops to see the city from the highest point we were driven about 25 minutes south to our home for the next three nights, Club Tapiz. This beautiful 11 room lodge is situated on a vineyard and they have a first class restaurant on site that features food grown on the property.
Our lunch was the best food we’ve had so far and that was just a sandwich. The 6 course dinner menu looks spectacular and it’s on our schedule for this evening.
We we wandered the grounds for awhile and met various dogs who live on the property including a big mama dog and her seven puppies! They are adorable and satisfy our need for dog contact, at least for the time being. Unfortunately, we had to share the puppies with our new friend, Laura, who is eight years old and visiting with her family from Finland.
Laura doesn’t speak English (or Spanish for that matter) but we both understood the language of puppies.
After a stroll through the grounds, admiring the herb garden and robust vines we settled in for a rest before the evening festivities.
Our evening began with the daily Tapiz wine tasting. Seated outside near the vines, with an international group of people, we tasted two of the wines of Tapiz. It’s really casual and relaxed and we met cool people from New Zealand, Ireland, UK, the Netherlands, and more. We were the only Americans in the group.
Following the tasting, most of the group went to the dining room for dinner. We joined them and opted for the 6 course meal, plus a bottle of Tapiz Pinot Noir. Photos of the creative menu and the dishes we enjoyed are attached. For less than $100 we had one of the most amazing meals ever. If we continue like this, they’ll have to roll us home. Luckily, we have to come home. Otherwise we might be in trouble.
Tomorrow we have a cooking class on the schedule, so stay tuned! Love to all!