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A Day in Mendoza, Argentina (not Drinking Wine)

Mendoza is known around the world as Malbec wine country but there is much more to it when you get out there and explore. Mendoza has 5 main squares- Plaza Independencia being the biggest and in the center of four other plazas.

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At night there are food and craft vendors and the big shaded trees are the perfect spot to sit and read a book during siesta time. Mendoza residents take siesta seriously! Shops, restaurants, and businesses close around close around 3pm and don’t open back up until 6pm or later. Mendoza has a desert climate so in the summer it is hot, hot, hot and a siesta in some air conditioning or a nice park is such a good idea.

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Prior to siesta I found the Mendoza Mercado and bought some shrimp empanadas for a late lunch. It is key to eat a late lunch in Argentina because restaurants don’t open until 9pm at the earliest! Most people eat around 10pm or later!

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At the end of siesta my group of fellow travelers opted to walk to the Hill of Glory (Cerro de la Gloria) to see the statue honoring General San Miguel, an Argentinian war hero who led his troops again the Spanish leading to an independent Argentina.

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The statue is at the top of the big hill and made for a hot, sweaty climb. Statues, street names, and parks utilizing San Miguel’s name and likeness are in most Argentinian cities. Our fearless tour leader names us San Miguel’s Soldiers after this outing.

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By now it is my dinner time and I have the hungries. Some travel buddies and I each had a little bite of this home-cured ham and homemade bread at the top of the overlook.

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We are on the outskirts of Mendoza providing a perfect view of the start of the Andes mountains.

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The 3 mile walk back to our hotel took us through the sprawling Parque de San Miguel-named after the favorite general. By now it was cooling down a bit and so many Mendoza residents were out jogging, playing soccer, and drinking tea in the park. It was lovely.

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At 9:30pm we were so hungry that we went to dinner even though the restaurant was not technically open yet. The plan was to go to a tango/cultural show at a local restaurant and eat the pre-fix menu. But they don’t start serving dinner til 10:30pm normally. They were nice (and probably used to tourists being starving) so we were able to eat our appetizers and drink unlimited wine while we waited for the main courses to be prepared and the show to start.

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The show was actually really good and I usually hate stuff like this. The singing, dancing, and merriment (plus all the wine) made for a  fantastic night. I’m not going to lie though, we left at 1:20am even though the show wasn’t over yet. It was a long day!

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Mendoza has a lot more to offer than wine tours so make sure on your trip to Mendoza you leave a day free of wine to explore the parks, statues, and shows!

Reader Question: What time do you eat dinner? Would you be able to hold out until 10:30pm?

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