I got back to Cordoba at about 5:45am this morning and woke up at about 12:45pm. I missed the morning at the hospital- but I doubt I was missed, there's virtually nothing for us to do because of the flu epidemic here. Anyway, the weekend was pretty amazing. We did the most touristy things possible, but it was a lot of fun...
Saturday we signed up for a wine tour on bikes- the hostel arranged for transportation and bike rentals in a little town about 30 minutes outside of Mendoza and we biked between vineyards and sweet shops and tasted wine and chocolate. I think the best part of the day was that we biked to a beautiful restaurant had a lunch that lasted about 2 1/2 hours on their outdoor patio. Also, because I'm used to doing 20 mile rides in Claremont, the 5-or so miles on a mountain bike didn't bother me at all, but I thought it was a little funny & surprising that everyone else wound up saddle sore.
Saturday the hostel recommended bungee jumping at a town in the mountains that was supposed to have hiking trails as well. Four of us went out and two of us jumped (I'll post pictures later). It was terrifying. And lots of fun. I jumped twice. Then we wandered around the town, but there wasn't much to do, according to everyone we asked there were no trails for hiking, so we jumped the steel guard that surrounds the roads and hiked down along the river that went through town. With the exception of this stream, the town was very dry and ugly. We spent most of our time looking for somewhere to cross (mostly unsuccessfully) and then chickening out when we tried to wade across. I'm pretty sure that the stream came from snowmelt and although I made it halfway across with blue feet, there was a muddy tract running through the center of the shallow parts and we could see barbed wire sticking out of muddy spots, so I wasn't willing to cross.
Though we took a truck with the bungee jumping guys out to the town, because we'd planned on hiking we took a bus back, and the ride that had taken 45 minutes up, took more than two hours to get back down to the Mendoza bus terminal. But, since by the time we had made the 5th stop of 50, the bus was full, I was just glad we all had seats. After that we went and bought groceries for dinner and used the hostel's massive brick grill to have a bar-be-que.
Sunday morning I just wanted to sleep and hang out at the hostel, but the night before we had booked horseback riding, which apparently I wasn't allowed to back out of. I'm glad I couldn't because it had been a few years since I'd been on a horse and the trail through the Andean foothills was pretty amazing (plus, when am I ever going to get to do that again?). At one point we turned a corner and could see the first snowfall off in the distance.
I was also excited because even though most of the ride was a pretty slow procession of the eight of us (two of whom were afraid to kick their horses to get them to go faster than a begrudging walk) towards the end we had a free stretch of path. Alejandro, the trail guide, (who had introduced himself to me as 'Alejandro, like the Lady Gaga song') had given me the 'fastest' horse, Toki. For most of the ride I thought might have just meant most eager to run, because whenever Alejandro broke into a gallop, Toki would try to follow, but in the last stretch we got up to a pretty swift canter and passed most of the other horses.
Yesterday morning I thought that horseback riding was the sort of novel thing that once you'd done once would lose most of it's appeal. But now I'm wishing I knew somewhere in Austin I could go. It was a lot of fun, especially since I felt really comfortable on Toki, even at faster speeds. I was surprised because the last time I can remember riding was at summer camp. But maybe it's the sort of thing you don't forget? (Lesson from the weekend; Horses are just like bikes, right?).