After another overnight bus, Léa and I arrived in Mendoza early Friday morning. Me encanta Mendoza! There are five central plazas, each beautiful in a unique way, from intricately tiled benches and murals to leaping fountains to tall, leafy trees. Where are these plazas in Buenos Aires? The most beautiful fountain I’ve seen in Buenos Aires, in front of the Congress building, is fenced off and dry, with no visible efforts of repair. Que lastima. 

Tiled bench and beautiful trees in Plaza España

Tiled bench in Plaza España

Plaza Italia
Plaza de la Independencia

After visiting each of the plazas, we walked to the aquarium, which was new and tiny. I loved it. They had a giant sea turtle rescued just before it froze to death in the waters off the coast of the Buenos Aires province. They also had crocodiles living with turtles, all of whom were surprisingly entertaining to watch.

My friend the Argentine sea turtle
Well that’s one way to hitch a ride…

We visited the ruins of a fountain underneath another, modern and functioning fountain. I didn’t really understand why because the tour was in Spanish and I’m not good at following long monologues. Above ground, on the plaza where the modern fountain is, was a museum built over the remains of the earthquake-destroyed Cabildo (original town hall). Inside there was a series of dioramas depicting the history of mankind as if it climaxed with the city of Mendoza.

That afternoon, we did a wine tour that took us to two bodegas (wineries), one industrial-sized and one artisanal, as well as an olive oil factory. All three places had tastings, my favorite being the olive oil (pieces of bread dipped in various kinds of oil, of course. Originally I was a little disgusted, imagining us trying to sip olive oil from a wineglass). All three places were educational and delicious. And the six-year-old Argentinian girl on the tour with her mom and aunt was adorable, although it was a little humbling to realize her Spanish was better than mine.

A tour of industrial wine-making in Mendoza

If only it were full, and a souvenir 

Wine tasting at an artisanal bodega in Mendoza. Léa and I each a bottle at a crazy low price.
Olive oil factory

After an incredible dinner of steak and paella (guess who chose what…) and Malbec, we turned in for another early night, ready for another early morning!