After a full week of working with clients, we were all able to get some much-needed R&R at our choice of the largest winery in Mendoza, Zaccardi Winery, or at Cacheuta, a luxurious spa about an hour from our hotel.
Looking at the sign-up sheet on Thursday night was a throwback to middle school. All nine girls had opted to go to the Winery, leaving an all boys group of 15 at the spa. Some things just don’t change.
Both groups had very different vibes, but had great times all around. After meeting to write a blog post about both, we realized that trying to mash together stories from both trips wouldn’t do either justice, so we divided our own accounts of each and just edited each other. We hope you find reading these accounts as much fun as we did!
The wine tasting started off great. To everyone’s relief, we had a native English speaker as our guide, so there was a sharp decrease in the number of fake nods across the group than usual. In the tour, we learned about the winemaking process, following the grapes from the vineyard as they collect in giant metal tanks, ferment in barrels, and finally get prepared to be bottled. Nobody was more excited about all the cool machinery than Amanda though.
“Look guys! I’m like a cool mom!” – Amanda Crowell
That’s systems for you. Though, ironically, our systems professor, the one and only Reed Bailey seemed to care far more about the wine …
“I’ve never seen bubbles this bubbly!” – Reed Bailey
Regardless, it was a fun and informative day for everyone. Shannon channeled her inner vampire while searching for meaning in a barrel, and Beane couldn’t help but stick out from the crowd, as always.
“I was not expecting this” – Austin Beane
We ended the winery trip with a delicious lunch in the vineyard, where we genuinely finished eating before the main course even came out. The resulting food coma got even the best of us:
“These kids think their life is tough? They don’t even know”
– Reed Bailey
In comparison to our usual 8:15 a.m. departure times, the decision to leave at 10:30 was a welcome relief for everyone in our group. After getting pulled over for taking an illegal right (which at least four other cars made as well while we were parked on the side of the road), we finally got started on the hour-long drive to the Cacheuta spa.
While we had seen a few of the public housing complexes around Mendoza from some of our previous excursions over the previous week and a half, today’s drive to the Cacheuta spa took us past some of the ritzier areas that Mendoza has to offer. High walls and extravagant gates separated our bus from these nice areas and emphasized the class divide that exists in some areas of Mendoza. On the drive out, David English pointed out several landmarks that we passed, including a mountain out in the distance that was involved in the incident that sparked the 1993 movie, Alive.
After arriving, we spread out across the various amenities that the hotel offered, with some heading straight to the saunas while others somewhat comically covered themselves in mud from the mud bath. In the early afternoon, we all donned our bathrobes and headed into the hotel for an extravagant lunch buffet with our pick of chorizo, steak, chicken, pork, and/or blood sausage, which is certainly an acquired taste for many of us, in terms of meat and a variety of sides, fruits, and vegetables. After taking full advantage of the buffet, we returned to the spa and waded around in some of the twenty-some odd pools that the spa had along the river.
After briefly congregating in the game room to watch Jack claim he “usually is good at pool” despite his struggles, we boarded the bus for an uneventful trip home, with many people sleeping after being worn out by a day in the sun.
While some opted to make up for missing their siesta by continuing their naps once they got back, many of us piled into one of our rooms in the hotel to play cards before heading to dinner. The weather in Mendoza had been perfect, albeit hot, up until today, but after sitting down at the taco bar a few blocks from the hotel, the sky opened up, collapsing part of the roof under which we sat. Scrambling inside to escape the rain, we found a new table and dined on tacos, fajitas, and quesadillas. The rain eventually subsided and we were able walk back to the hotel and get some sleep before another busy day on Sunday where the two groups would switch and we would get to spend the day at Zaccardi Winery.