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Each journey begins with a single step... Two kiwis escaping from the island to explore strange new worlds and boldly go where thousands have gone before... . .

San Juan, Argentina

ARGENTINA | Friday, 6 November 2009 | Views [1716]

Zonda cuevas where the champagne is made and stored

Zonda cuevas where the champagne is made and stored

Costs pp: bus from La Serena to Santiago 7000 chil pesos, bus across the border to Mendoza, Argentina 10,000 chil pesos. Bus to San Juan 20 arg pesos. Dorm bed at San Juan Hostal in Avenida Cordoba 30p includes free internet and breakfast. www.sanjuanhostel.com

We arrived in Santiago after an almost sleepless, hot journey and changed to another bus on to Mendoza. On the journey across the border we had front seats and a great view, the snow had melted considerably since our trip the other way about 7 weeks ago and it was like travelling a different route. Hit Mendoza around 3pm and had to wait 2 hours for the next bus to San Juan a 2 hour journey to the north. While we waited Carol chatted with a local man who told us all about the area around Mendoza and also San Juan.

San Juan is a spacious city with treelined streets and a casual feel to it. In 1944 it was destroyed by a huge earthquake but has since been rebuilt.

On our arrivel in San Juan we were rebuked by a guy in the bus office for walking through the office to gain entry to the internal part of the terminal without saying 'excuse me', not a good start. In town Carol had a confusing conversation on the phone to a person she didn't know trying to contact her niece Carolina's uncle and decided never to use a phone again when speaking in a foreign language! We found a good hostel near the centre with the bonus of free internet and instead of crashing, which we should have done considering how tired we were, we ended up mucking around on the internet for hours!

The next day we managed to connect with Carolina's uncle and aunt and had a great time with them that evening and the next day when we were invited to a barbeque at their lovely home. Gustavo and Adriana are a great couple, very relaxed and with a good sense of humour, we really enjoyed meeting this new part of the family.

On the Monday we went to the Museo Graffigna which is a winery and had a tour of it (free) then visited an artisanal shop in town that was really interesting. The items for sale were all made from natural products and excellently made too. We then took the bus out to see a dam on the nearby lake, then another bus to the other side of the lake. There we found the Zonda cave where they store champagne, it is produced, stored and bottled in the cave which is  a constant 20 degrees C all year. The labelling is done by hand. Back into town where we visited a really interesting artisanal shop with things made from natural products.

Next stop San Luis.

 

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