04.03.2013 - 05.03.2013 30 °C
I feel like it’s been a while, living without internet (so spoiled at home). Two days ago we moved to Leo’s place, where everything is more modern and spacious. And of course not to mention, we have a balcony and an amaaazing pool!!! We just need to find internet and a bike to get to work (a few kilometers from here).
Talking about bikes! On Monday I had my first day of work: a bike tour around the different bodega’s of Maipú. The hostel offers tours around 3 of the main wine regions of Mendoza: Maipú, Luján de Cuyo and Uco Valley. Maipú is the most traditional one. We left the hostel at 10 in the morning with 3 tourists, 2 English girls and 1 Belgian boy. The guide of the day was Juan. We obtained the bikes at Mister Hugo, a very charismatic older Argentinean who gives kisses to every tourist he meets. Even though the bikes quality-wise would never really be approved by Belgians or Dutch people, I think there are few tourists leaving Mister Hugo’s unhappy, just because he treats his clients so warm. And, as for a lot of things here, you always have to keep in mind: I am not in Europe!
It was so peaceful riding the bike between the trees and vineyards, with the sun on our faces (pretty hot day, about 30 °C). We stopped at 3 different wineries where we got a short tour and a tasting. Most of the wineries here are family businesses and the equipment is older than in the other regions. They mostly produce red wines because white wines are produced in the higher areas. This is because those grapes need a lower temperature during the night. After the 3 wineries it was time for lunch, mini pizza and of course empanada’s, in a modern bodega with a magnificent view over the vineyards with the (snowy) Andes on the background. Accompanied by more wine, of course!
After lunch we continued our trip to “the beer garden” where they sold homemade white, dark and red beer. I was surprised that our guests weren’t throwing up yet, being in the sun all day and drinking and mixing that much. We even continued our trip to another place where they let us try red absinth and liquor. Surprisingly, nobody had more than a sip and an extremely funny face We also got to try homemade chocolate and marmalade, I tasted one with pumpkin and cinnamon which I am definitely taking home!
Back at Mister Hugo’s everybody was wildly enthusiast about the day, saying they would recommend it to all of their friends. For those who are interested, the tour costs about $470 which is €72,30. This includes pick-up at your hotel in Mendoza, a bottle of water, the bikes and helmets at Mister Hugo’s, the tours in the wineries and the various glasses of wine, beer, absinth and liquor and the lunch and other artisanal tastings and of course the guidance by one of our super nice Mendoza Andes- guides. The price is a bit higher because the tours are done in small groups and can always be adjusted to the group’s wishes.
Back at the hostel I spent a whole lot of time doing nothing in particular, because it’s so easy to get into conversations with guests at the hostel and just hearing about their trips around South-America. I also received my working hours. For my dear friends and family: I won’t be available between (Belgian time!) 21h and 4h on Monday – Tuesday – Wednesday, not between 14h and 21h on Friday and not between 19h and 2h on Sunday. Thursday and Saturday are my off-days. As you see, I am working until midnight 4 days a week. I will have to get used to that! But on the other side, I can swim in the pool all day because I only start working at 17h (and Sunday at 15h)!
Yesterday was my first day in the office. To start with, Claudia explained all of the tours, the pricing and the combination possibilities. We also offer wine tours by car, high mountain tours, photo safari, gaucho days, nature trips and mountain tours in combination with cooking or wine tasting. Next to that, we cooperate with other companies to extend our offer. These companies offer for example rafting, horseback riding, paragliding and even spa days (definitely will try that one :D).
The rest of the “work day” (17h-24h) was pretty calm. At least it seemed like that, because one of the main tasks is just answering to the questions and needs of the hostel clients. They are always nice and interesting so it’s a very nice job. Of course there were some differences with Belgium. For example we started working around 17:45. Before that I was just sitting a bit, waiting until they would inform me about what I should do. On the other side, Kati had to work about 20 minutes longer because at the last moment one of our bosses asked to send a few more e-mails etcetera. I guess it compensates. If I see what I’ve learned the first day it also wasn’t that much, but I must admit I didn’t push to let them explain some more because I was feeling very woozy because I had been sitting next to the pool all afternoon in the burning sun (poor me, right? haha). Today Kati won’t be working, so I think I’ll have a bit less fun and I’ll be a bit more working!
Sorry guys, have to jump in the pool again! Talk to you soon