- How did I Reach: Hitchhiked from Viña del Mar to Mendoza
- Bike Company: Maipu Bikes
- Wineries I tried:
- Tempus Alba
I’m not much of a birthday person but this was going to be my first birthday outside my home country and in the company of absolute strangers. I was really looking forward to this hostel stay, the best way to meet fellow travelers I feel. And, guess what? There was just one more person in my dorm. A 64-year-old man from France. Did not speak one word of English or Spanish.
We exchanged smiles every now and then and that was about it. I realized quickly that my birthday was going to be just as epic as it usually is in India (Read ‘uneventful’).
Anyway, next day (My birthday that is), I left for Maipu as planned to do some wine tasting. You can take a tour from your hostel or do the tour yourself which gives you ample time to decide what wineries you want to try. Even though I’m not much of a wine person (or any alcohol actually), I still chose to go for the latter.
I reached Maipu in a bus and two guys immediately came up to me and started explaining about their bike company. I chose “Maipu bikes” only because the price was same for both but this one gave free empanadas and wine on return.
Braced with the tiny map, a water bottle, and my 3 sandwiches, I started pedaling in the scorching sun. Before I even reached the first vineyard, I met with my first bike accident. How you ask? Well, I was so deeply engrossed in appreciating the beautiful canopy of maple trees and wondering how maple syrup is made that I completely missed out on looking at the road. That’s pretty important you know. Anyway, back to wine tasting.
The first winery I tried was Tempus Alba –
The experience was good. I got to taste three wines and walk around their vineyard. The people were very friendly and the lady also explained to me on request, how am I supposed to taste the wine. She also helped me choose three wines out of the many they had.
There I met some more people who were doing the same but most of the people had been staying there and going to wineries every day. I was going to stop after this but meeting these people made me realize the importance of the place and decided to explore more wineries myself. I also stopped by at ‘Mevi’ but it seemed more or less similar to Tempus Alba so I skipped wine tasting there. After speaking to a couple of more people, I decided to try a french winery – ‘Florio’. The wines here were very different (sweet wine) and they gave me a tour of their winery as well for the same price. This was a more old school which is something that I was interested in seeing.
I cycled back all happy and tipsy to return the bike, had my free empanadas and wine.
Here I met these two wonderful women, I joined their table and later we were joined my two of their friends. During the course of the conversation, it came up that today is my birthday. Everyone sang me a song and the cafe owner gave me a wine bottle which was so sweet of him. Although, in total honesty, I didn’t really know what to do with it as I didn’t like that wine so much.
We all went back to Mendoza together to our respective hostels. I cooked myself some horrible pasta and went to sleep after taking one last look at my phone hoping to see some messages I was awaiting. Well, you can’t have everything in the world, Can you?
And that was how I celebrated my first birthday outside my country. In hindsight, that’s the perfect amount of attention I can handle.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could celebrate all our birthdays in a New place?