As we leave Argentina there are so many things we are thankful to have been able to experience and that we know we are going to miss.
dulce de leche
Most of all we’ll miss the Argentinian people who were always friendly, patient with my bad Spanish, helpful, and welcoming. We’ll miss Argentina, but I know we’ll be back.
Next stop is Chicago to visit friends, family and attend our nephew Matt and his fiance Melissa’s wedding. I’ve also challenged Jeff to a White Castle slider eating contest. I’m pretty sure I know who’s going to win.
Everyone knows the saying wine before liquor never sicker. We set out to answer the question, does wine tasting before liquor tasting make you sick? I’m happy to report that the answer is no. It just makes you very sleepy on the bus home.
Our first question was actually how to even go wine tasting. The normal way of taking a tour was too expensive and the budget way of renting a bike was too dangerous for me. There is a reason the only cycling I do is from the back of a tandem.
Our new friends Jeff and Romi helped us by giving us exact instructions on how to take a bus to a winery and distillery. Jeff is an amazing photographer. Check out his photos. www.photojbartlett.com.
They told us to take bus 182 and exactly where to pick it up. It was lucky because without their help we never would have figured out which bus to take.
The bus took a long time, I think we stopped at every person’s house between Mendoza and the winery.
But once we got there. We had a fabulous tour through the vineyards and olive groves.
It was a hot day, so by the time we got to the tasting room I was already light headed from dehydration. After a few tastings I was even more light headed and slightly giddy. I figured I better really test out our wine before liquor question by drinking enough wine. Our guide helped us out by refilling our glasses several times.
We stumbled out of the winery and headed directly across the street to the distillery. Our guide at the winery told us to ring the bell at the distillery “really really hard and loud.” I’m not sure if this is really a giant door bell, or a warning to the people in the distillery that drunk gringos are on their way over.
We probably should have asked for a tour first in order to sober up. But, we felt it was important to get straight to the tasting in order to put the wine before liquor saying to the test.
We got to taste quite a few different liquors. My favorite of course being the dulce de leche liqueur.
Urs, our Swiss distillery guide was very helpful in our testing of wine tasting before liquor tasting.
We caught the bus back. I couldn’t tell you how long it took on the way back because I feel alseep the second we got on the bus. It wasn’t the little head nod nap. It was the full on sprawled on the seat, drooling type of sleep. Not pretty, but at least we did not find “wine tasting before liquor tasting never sicker” to be true.
At the beginning of all our trips, we have visions of going to one town and settling down. The plan is always to “move” to one city or town for six months.
But, then wander lust sets in. How can we stay in just one town when there are so many other towns/cities/countries nearby.
We pull out maps and decide to travel around the entire continent. We can do it if we do one town a day for the next four months. Then we remember, we have 5 pieces of luggage, a bicycle and Jeff has a business to run. We can’t just backpack around Boliva. But, we can go to Chile. We can take a side trip to Boliva. We could move to Uruguay. We can take a side trip to Peru. We can move to Ecuador. We can take a side trip to Columbia. Or, we can go south and see more of Argentina. Or we can stay in Salta longer.
The possibilities are endless which can be paralyzing. I can only sit in front of a Lonely Planet guide, Expedia, Trip Advisor and 1,00o travel blogs for so long. At some point we have to just do it, pick a place and buy the tickets.
We’re decided to leave for Chile in 2 weeks. We’re really excited, but now I’m starting to look at Salta through new eyes. Things that I see every day are taking on that new meaning now that I know know my time with them is limited.
We’ve never ever regretted leaving one place in order to go to another one. The only thing that happens is our list of places to return to one day grows longer.
The camera, which I haven’t pulled out for awhile is now back in my hands. The “Top 10 things to see in Salta” is back on my computer screen. We’ve only done 5 of the ten. The road trips we’ve been thinking about are actually being planned, the museum’s we’ve never gone to are on tomorrow’s itinerary.
I’m assuming they still have beef in Chile, so I’m not going to cram the rest of eating the cow in. Besides, we’ll be back in Argentina at the end of the trip.
I am going to be spending a LOT of time with dulce de leche. They might have it in Chile, but I don’t to risk not eating it if they don’t.
There really isn’t much to report on the eating of a T Bone steak called – beef de costilla and short ribs called tira de asado. Both were delicious.
The thing I found most interesting the atmosphere in the parilla. We went to a restaurant called El Viejo Jack. Not only is it highly recommended in guide books and on Trip Advisor, it’s also recommended by locals.
The restaurant itself was your basic local parilla with the most glaring fluoresent lights ever. We’ve noticed this is pretty typical of local parillas.
It was funny to eat a delicious steak, drink a bottle of really good malbac, and have great attentive service all while feeling like we were in a doctor’s examining room.
It was in sharp contrast to a restaurant we had gone to the night before.
Jose Balcarse was also highly recommended by guidebooks. It was also really good, but I don’t think there were any locals in the restaurant. Even the waitress, who spoke fluent English was from Uruguay.
One thing it did really well, besides the food was the ambiance. The low lighting and exposed brick walls reminded me of restaurants back home. The food at both places were amazing. One seemed really authentic, local and inexpensive. The other – gourmet and touristy, but you didn’t feel like you were at the DMV.
You can really see the contrast in the below videos.
Grocery shopping can easily be an all day activity for us.
The store in the photo on the left is where we buy most of our veggies, water, and eggs. A very woman in an apron always helps me with the Spanish words for the veggies.
If she doesn’t have what we need we go across the street to the man with long sideburns. He also has eggs, some packaged goods, and veggies. Sometimes for a change I go to the nice older couple. They have a bakery but also eggs, veggies and two pet parrots. No matter who I go to, the eggs are never refrigerated, always come wrapped in paper, and they all think it’s hysterical we’re using the eggs for breakfast.
Next stop is the butcher for meat, cheese and also sometimes eggs.
And then for everything else there is the supermarket. The supermarket is pretty much like any other supermarket in the US except for a few differences.
Milk and yogurt come in cartons and boxes, but also bags.
The yerba mate aisle is huge. This entire aisle – all the way to the end- is for yerba mate.
The most beautiful part of the grocery store is the shelf after shelf of dulce de leche.
You can even get a one pound bag of dulce de leche.
Then there are the products that make us uncomfortable, like this brand of rice/pasta.
And then there are the products that make us laugh because we’re immature.
And then there is this mannequin. This is not in a supermarket, but I still think it’s funny and slightly frightening.