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 Argentina was one of those rare opportunities I could not decline.
As Malbec World Day is upon us—April 17, 2017—it was a little more than three years ago that I landed in Argentina. Today, as I ponder the days I spent in Mendoza, I am grateful to all who made the journey possible.
I remember thinking at the time that it might be dangerous for a woman to travel alone to South America. After landing in Mendoza, I questioned my decision as a beat-up old car transported me to Terrazas de Los Andes. However, the moment I passed through 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 Uncorking Argentina. Through them, I discovered a small group of women in Argentina. This five-day adventure left me with the confidence to continue visiting Argentina on my own.
The people are wonderfully gracious, the wines—especially Malbec—are incredible, and the experiences will remain close to my heart.
Horseback Ride in the Andes of Argentina
I love reminiscing about my horseback ride through the Andes. It is something I would never do at home, yet it 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 when it runs, along with feeling of 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.
Dining in Mendoza
The evening at Florentino Bistro was memorable because none of us could understand each other. I tried to explain my dietary restrictions, but ended up calling the hotel to have them explain everything in Spanish. The meal ended up being wonderful.
My biggest fear about being in a foreign country was dining alone. I discovered my friend and companion at dinner was a small blank notebook where I wrote many of my articles about Argentina as I sat sipping a glass of Malbec.
One night at Francesco’s, Chef Maria Teresa Corradini de Barbera gave me a book of her own Italian recipes and poetry. I thought how apropos as I am writing over dinner each evening. 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.
Dreaming of Mendoza and Argentina
Perhaps I am being a bit 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 laid back lunches, long siestas and late night dinners that end close to midnight.
I also yearn for watching people stroll along 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 and 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 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 had arrived, while I would be returning to a world of autumn.
Hopefully one day I will get back to Argentina and Mendoza so I can experience more this country has to offer. For now I get to reminisce every time Malbec World Day comes around and I sip a wonderful glass of Malbec. I will always have such fond memories remembering Mendoza and the beautiful discoveries I made in Argentina.
Note: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was on occasion provided with accommodations, meals and other compensation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.