Our next stop was one of our most anticipated. Ever since I had begun really appreciating red wine properly and discovering that one of my favourite grapes was the Argentinean Malbec, I had wanted to visit Mendoza. And just to make the trip a little more interesting, people had been telling us about a rather unique wine tour there.
Yes! For a small price you could visit the famed vineyards of Mendoza not on foot but on bike. Yes! Thanks to the lax nature of health and safety in South America (well pretty much anywhere but the UK and North America), you are welcome to ride a bicycle round the glorious countryside as you get progressively more trollied. We decided to take advantage of the tour the very next day with our Bolivian mates Paddy and Aisleyne who were also in Mendoza and having another couple with us made it even more fun and a little more dangerous as there was definitely more wine quaffed in company.
We started off in style visiting a very modern vineyard which exported almost all of it's product to Europe. Next we headed to a much more traditional vineyard where we had a furtive picnic of cheese, fruit and bread before sampling 4 different vintages of the same malbec.
Another two or three vineyards followed and then came the dreaded bike ride back to the starting point.
Now it was a little hairy on the outward journey with buses passing almost a hair's width from us but luckily (or unluckily depending on your outlook) we were each treated to a police escort on the way home. Every two or three bikes had a slow moving police car behind them ensuring that there were no potential or actual accidents or rowdy behaviour! I have to say I for one welcomed them as some of you may know that my balance on wheeled objects is not my strong point when sober!
Once back at the start point, the owner of the bikes invited us to his courtyard with the other members of the tour and cracked open the 3 litre jugs of red table wine and offered us absolutely delicious empanadas in a bid to try and mop up some of the copious amounts of red wine
The bus back to the town centre where our hostels were reminded me of a friday night on a London tube - people old enough to know better talking at the top of their voices, trying to dance on a moving bus and leching on various members of the public. Once off the bus, we had a few more drinks near our hostel before finally admitting defeat and collapsing into our beds. Needless to say the red wine headache the next morning reached new and terrifying proportions.