Sunday Special – Mendoza, Argentina


I’m going to get straight to the point – for this Sunday Special post, Mendoza = wine.

Wine, that delicious libation that is revered by millions. Now I am mainly a beer drinker and love me a decent craft beer to savour most anywhere, however, that does not mean I don’t enjoy wine. In fact, I drank wine more frequently than beer years ago. But as time went on wine decided to not like me. It chose to cause a great deal of congestion and discomfort in my sinuses. And not just a little. If I had more than 2 glasses of the sweet elixir I turned into a snotty-nosed mess for at least a 24-hour period and no amount of decongestants or antihistamines could help. It’s some sort of allergy I guess. So I turned to beer and found my drink (after tea). Now I have found some wine that I react to far less, if at all. Perhaps my allergy/mystery is changing (as some allergies do) or some wines do not contain the item(s) that command my sinuses to over react.  I don’t know but I am glad I have been able to enjoy wine now and again. Some of these “forgiving” wines are from Argentina, so let’s take at look at Mendoza!

The Argentinian province of Mendoza is located in the west-central part of the country along the Chilean border in the shadow of the Andes Mountains, near Mount Aconcagua. It is the most important wine region in the country (yay!) producing nearly two-thirds of all the wine produced in Argentina. Some of the varietals that are produced in the region include chardonnay, malbec, torrontĂŠs, tempranillo, syrah, and several more. The province’s capital city of the same name is filled with tasting rooms, (wine) tour operators, and restaurants that pair well with whichever wine you sip. 

Now to be fair, the region does offer much more than just wine and wineries. It is a great spot to enjoy the outdoors by way of hiking and trekking, cycling, ice climbing, skiing and snowboarding, and golfing. Adventure seekers can partake in kite surfing, hand-gliding, ziplining, paragliding, kayaking, rock climbing and rappelling, and more. Of course there are spas, hot springs, shopping, and museums. So any way you look at it, Mendoza seems to offer quite a bit and all with a glass of wine if you like. 

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Diamandes Winery, Mendoza – Photo credit: Bormidayanzon, Diamandes Winery, CC BY-SA 4.0

 

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Bodega Salentein Winery, Mendoza – Photo credit: ArgentinaWineTourism…, ALTURA Argentina Wine Tourism – Bodega Salentein – panoramio, CC BY-SA 3.0

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Sunday Special – La Mano de Punta del Este (or The Hand of Punta del Este) – Uruguay


Since February 1982, Uruguay’s Punta del Este has been home to this famous sculpture by Chilean artist Mario IrarrĂĄzabal. Located on Brava Beach, in the popular resort town, stands the concrete and plastic statue of fingers struggling out of its sandy location. IrarrĂĄzabal created the iconic artwork during the first International Meeting of Modern Sculpture in the Open Air. La Mano has become one of the most recognized pieces of beach art and has been photographed by media and tourists alike. In fact, the popularity of La Mano prompted IrarrĂĄzabal to create similar works of art in Madrid, The Atacama Dessert (Chile) and Venice.

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La Mano de Punta del Este – Photo credit:  Wikimedia Commons – Photo taken and owned by Rosina Piexoto 

By Rosina Peixoto (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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La Mano / The Hand at night – Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – Photo taken and owned by Marcelo Campi

By Marcelo Campi from MVD, Uruguay (The hand) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

Sunday Special – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


In honour of the 31st Olympics we will focus on the host city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The second largest city in Brazil, Rio is known around the world for being a beach city, it’s famous Carnival and Christ the Redeemer statue overseeing this vibrant metropolis.

With a population of over 10 million in its metropolitan area this South American city has much to see so several days would be needed. Do pack your sunscreen as temperatures can be hot in the summer months (December to March). Winters are cooler but it is still tropical. Aside from Carnival and the beaches there is music, food, sport and museums to fill your days. Not to mention some great views from surrounding mountains and lookouts.

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Sugar Loaf Mountain, Rio de Janeiro – Photo Credit: Owned by Travelbusy.com – via Wikimedia Commons

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Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro – Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons – Taken and Owned by Zinneke

 

Sunday Special – Dakar Rally, South America


Growing up I sometimes watched car racing with my dad. He particularly enjoyed Formula 1 racing but sometimes watched NASCAR. Although I do not fully understand it all it was a time for him to tell me a little bit of what he knew about these races he occasionally watched. Of course, when you watch racing you hear about some other races as well. That is where I heard about the The Dakar Rally (formerly the Paris-Dakar Rally), which as its name implies ran from Paris, France to Dakar, Senegal. This race began in 1978 and participants drove tough off-road routes through Africa until late 2000s due to security reasons in Mauritania. Now the race (or more accurately Rally Raid) is held in South America. Open to both professionals and amateur drivers it sees participants careening the at times insane route in cars, trucks, motorcycles and quads. Although I have never watched it in its entirety I do catch it now and again. I think these drivers are all crazy yet admire their adventurous streak.

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Dakar 2006

Photo Attribution: MAINDRU PHOTO via Wikimedia Commons