We were looking forward to what was supposed to be one of the prettiest bus rides through the Andes when we boarded the bus from Santiago to Mendoza around 1 pm last Tuesday. The first three hours of the trip were incredibly scenic. We passed countless vineyards before beginning the slow ascent into the snow covered mountain landscape filled with waterfalls and charming ski chalets waiting for the season to begin. Then we made it to the border with Argentina. That’s where everything went downhill.
For some reason - even our bus driver didn’t know - we sat at the border for seven hours. SEVEN HOURS. This was only supposed to be a seven hour bus ride! Besides getting into Mendoza at 3 am, this also meant that we completely missed the scenery for the second half of the ride into Argentina since it was midnight and pitch black. But good news! We are going to be crossing the Andes twice more: we will return to Chile later in May for a workaway and then come back to Argentina in June before we head to Brazil! (Fingers crossed it won’t be the same border crossing as this trip…)
Thankfully our Airbnb host was amazing and woke up to greet us at 3 and even paid for our taxi since we didn’t have any Argentine pesos yet. After a good night’s sleep, we woke up to some coffee on the porch to plan our next few days - and then the rain began. Our next few days in Mendoza were unfortunately heavily rained out. We had wanted to rent bikes and visit some wineries outside of town (the city itself doesn’t seem to have anything to do but shopping), but we weren’t ambitious enough to do that in bad weather. Instead, we did our own Tour del Super Mercado where we sampled bottled wines from the grocery store while making our own delicious home cooked meals. It was actually a pretty awesome way to spend our few days here. We even lucked out and got a free night at our Airbnb since our host felt bad that he didn’t have time to show us around and give us recommendations since he was busy with other things. We stayed an extra night and even splurged on the most expensive bottle of wine at the grocery store! $18. #winning