Lewis cycles through the vineyards of Mendoza

On a bright and sunny autumnal day, Lewis the Lion, Helen and their friends Kelly and Alessandro decided to go on a bike ride. This was a bike ride with a difference as it would take in some of the world famous Argentinean vineyards in the Mendoza area. Even though Lewis is just a little lion and wasn’t old enough to drink alcohol with the grown ups he still enjoyed getting on a bike and seeing the wonderful, autumnal countryside.

The friends had to catch a local bus ($1,25 Argentine Pesos) to the town of Maipú, about 45 minutes outside of Mendoza. The bus driver called to Lewis the Lion and his friends when they had reached the right bus stop. (Lewis the Lion was discovering that this was a really useful strategy when travelling in new places: you simply had to ask the driver to let you know when you had arrived at your destination as it was not always obvious and it saved you missing your stop!).

Lewis the Lion with Helen at Mr Hugo's bike rental shop

Luckily, the bike-hire shop was directly opposite the bus stop: Mr Hugo’s. Mr Hugo’s bike rental shop had been highly recommended to Lewis the Lion and his friends and when he met Mr Hugo he understood why. He was such a welcoming and affable man and made all of his customers feel really important. ‘This was how you did good business,” Lewis the Lion thought to himself! Mr Hugo made sure that all of the cyclists had exactly the right sized bikes for their height and moreover, Lewis the Lion loved the fact that these bicycles had baskets on them. That way he could comfortably enjoy the ride along the attractive countryside of Mendoza.

Lewis arrives at a closed Wine Museum!

Even though it was Autumn time, it was a beautiful sunny day and Helen made good use of her convertible trousers, unzipping them and turning them into shorts! The friends then headed to their first destination: the wine museum. However when they got there, they discovered that it was closed! Not to worry, as the cycle ride was just delightful. What was great about cycling in Maipù was that the roads were very flat: not at all like the time when Lewis the Lion had hired a bike in Bariloche!

The cyclists taking a quick drink of water

Furthermore, as this town was obviouisly used to cyclists visiting the different wineries, a lot of the roads had cycle paths which divided them off from the main flow of traffic. Therefore, the cyclist felt much safer.

Cycling beside the typical Mendozan trenches

The other thing that Lewis enjoyed seeing were the tree-lined streets which often had deep trenches running alongside them. These trenches were very typical of the Mendozan countryside as they served as irrigation channels for the huge amount of vines used to make the wine.

Lewis breathed in the country air and smiled at the view around him from his basket. He could see the uniformed lines of the autumnal vineyards set against a blue mountain range in the distance. Yes, the region of Mendoza was very pretty indeed.

Lewis the Lion overlooks the vineyards

Helen and her friends were now headed to one of the oldest vineyards in Maipù, the Tommaso Family’s winery or bodega in Spanish.

The uniform lines of the vines

Here the friends met some more people they recognised from their hostel and had lunch with them out in the open-air. Then Lewis observed as the grown-ups did a spot of wine-tasting. How boring!

Lewis watches the sommelier at work

Lewis sees the wine that the grown-ups are sampling

While they tried an Argentinean white wine (vino blanco) called Torrentés and an Argentinean red wine (vino tinto) called Malbec, Lewis the Lion had more fun playing among the wooden barrels of the wine cellar and then jumping in the crunching, golden autumn leaves outside! This was much more fun!

Looking into the wine factory

Lewis sees the big vats for the production of wine

The friends then set off to visit one of the biggest bodegas in Mendoza, Trapiche. Would you believe it but that was closed as well? Lewis the Lion was secretly happy as he was enjoying the ride as much as anything else and it meant that the grown-ups had to cycle on again. This was great exercise even if it was on the flat. By the end of the day, this meant that they had cycled for many kilometres!

The grown-ups managed to visit one more vineyard before the end of the day and Lewis enjoyed overlooking the red, orange and yellow fields from a sunny balcony.

Lewis looks on the autumnal colours of the vineyards

The evening was now starting to close in and the cyclists headed back to Mr Hugo’s bike shop to return their bikes. Yet again they were greeted with a big smile but this time with some orange juice and crisps as well. Lewis the Lion just loved the happy and kind Mr Hugo!

As the friends waited for the bus home, it suddenly felt very cold as the sun set in the sky. Now, Lewis the Lion would look forward to a delicious steak dinner! (He’ll tell you more about Argentine food in one of the next coming blogs).

How do you entertain yourself when your parents or carers do things that you find boring? Or like Lewis the Lion, how do you try to make the best of the situation?

About Helen Molloy

Helen Molloy has been a Primary Learning and Teaching Consultant, leading on the introduction of Primary Languages in the City of Stoke-on-Trent for the past 5 and a half years. She is passionate about language learning and inspiring children into developing a curiosity and awareness of other people's languages and cultures.
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