As the plane descended into Mendoza, I knew I loved the city already: below, a colorful patchwork of fields and vineyards, with the majestic Andes peeking out in the distance.
Perhaps you can’t always trust first impressions, but when it came to Mendoza, mine were spot on. I wound up thoroughly enjoying my time in town, whether I was lingering over a bottle of Malbec at one of its many restaurants, poking around the bustling market hall, or snapping photos of the colorful murals that were everywhere.
The heart of Mendoza in Plaza Independencia, the main square that we constantly found ourselves crossing back and forth through during our time in the city. In the evenings, it plays host to a small craft market – fun to browse – though it seems to be a hub of activity pretty much any time of day.
At Mercado Central, Mendoza’s bustling indoor market hall, we tried an iconic Argentinian dish, choripan (chorizo + pan, aka sausage and bread). It is incredibly simple – literally, a hunk of sausage sandwiched on a hunk of bread, topped with a bit of lettuce and nothing more – but so, so good! I get why people are obsessed with it.
One afternoon, after working ourselves into a food coma at Apapacho, we made our way to Cerro de la Gloria, or the Hill of Glory. The hill is home to a monument paying tribute to the liberators of Argentina, Chile, and Peru, and also to some excellent views. We took a cab up the hill and then walked ourselves down, stopping to admire the scenery as we went. At the bottom of the hill, we searched in vain for a cab – then wound up befriending some locals, who helped us navigate the jam-packed bus and find our way back downtown.
And at the Melbourne Coffee Co., we encountered something wholly unexpected: a bit of Australia in Argentina. As it turns out, when one is traveling with an Aussie, stopping into an Australian coffee shop is mandatory, and thank goodness – we loved this place. The owners and waiters were absolutely lovely, the space (particularly the back courtyard) was beautiful, and the coffee and cakes were super delicious. I loved it so much I wound up visiting twice!
In a way, the Melbourne Coffee Co. seemed to fit perfectly with my overall Mendoza experience: it was one of many things I hadn’t expected to discover in the city, but it wound up being surprisingly delightful nonetheless.