As life leads us in different directions, sometimes we are offered a once in a lifetime experience that we should take advantage of and not turn down. My trip to Mendoza, Argentina was one of those rare opportunities I could not decline.
It was one year ago that I landed in Argentina. Today I ponder the days I spent in Mendoza, I am grateful to all that made this journey possible.
I remember thinking at the time; a woman traveling alone to South America might be dangerous. When I landed in Mendoza and was driven in a beat-up car to Terrazas de Los Andes, I thought, what am I doing, but as soon as I entered the gates of this idyllic oasis in Luján de Cuyo I knew all would be okay.
The trip could not have been made possible without the existence of Uncorking Argentina. I was able to discover with a small group, Argentina. This five-day adventure left me with the confidence to continue visiting Argentina on my own.
The people are wonderfully gracious, the wines incredible, and the experiences will remain close to my heart.
Horseback Riding in the Andes
Reminiscing, I think about my horseback ride through the Andes, something I would never do at home. This ride ended up being the highlight of my trip. Having been an avid rider at camp as a teenager, all the nuances of riding came back to me immediately. While my cohorts in this adventure were inexperienced and hesitant, preferring to remain at a slow pace, I wanted to let the horse trot or gallop, as they so love to do. It was almost as if I wanted to experience the freedom, the horse represents along with being away from city life, enjoying the peaceful and serene beauty of the Andes with my horse.
Perhaps this need to gallop comes from watching my dogs, Salukis, who love to run. I have seen the smile on their faces as they go full bore on the lure course and can only imagine my horse’s smile as he ran along the trail in the Andes.
I remember my evening at Florentino’s, where they could not understand English as I tried to explain my dietary restrictions. Finally, I ended up calling the hotel to have them explain in Spanish what I could and could not have. The meal ended up being wonderful.
My biggest fear had been being in a foreign country, eating dinner alone. I discovered my friend and companion at dinner was a small blank paged notebook given to me at the Park Hyatt. The book is where I wrote many of my articles about Argentina as I sat sipping a glass of Malbec.
At Francesco’s, an Italian restaurant one night, I received a book of recipes and poetry written by Chef Maria Teresa Corradini de Barbera. I thought how apropos as I am writing. Actually, it encouraged and inspired me to write the following poem:
As the sun sets I think of you. As the sun rises, I think of you. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of you. My love for you is everlasting. I just wish you knew how much I love you.
Perhaps I am being a little melancholy wishing I could return to Argentina to see more of the sites and discover those wineries I had hoped to visit but could not due to time constraints. I long for the slow pace of Mendoza with its late lunches, long siestas, late-night dinners that end close to midnight or people strolling Independence Plaza as they enjoy the springtime weather and the aromas of budding flowers in the trees, which is such a complete dichotomy from the hustle-bustle of Los Angeles life.
During my ten days in Argentina, I watched the vineyards blossom with greenery bringing new life to the vines. On my first day in Mendoza, there were barely any leaves on the vines, and by mid-October, they were flourishing. I remember my first stroll through the Independence Plaza. I did not notice the fragrant smells, yet towards the end of my journey, they were ever-present reminding me that in this part of the world spring has come, and I would be going back to autumn and daylight savings.