On my second day in the Cappadocia region I wanted to hike around some of the valleys, observe the rock formations close up and get some good exercise. After only an hour of walking around, my day was kind of hijacked by Faruk, the owner of a cafe in the park who passed by me on a motorbike. He stopped and asked where I was going and asked if I wanted a ride. I thought, “sure, why not!” thinking I’d give him a little tip for taking me to the Red Valley and then be on my way. That little ride turned into five hours of Faruk showing me different places, giving me more and more of his homemade wine, and basically refusing to let me go off on my own. It was a bit frustrating, although not quite as creepy as it might sound written out here. I finally split from Faruk when his car ran out of gas on the way to the Love Valley, although at this point it was nearly sunset so I didn’t get to do the hiking I’d wanted to do.
I spent only 15 days in Argentina, slightly cut short because of the uncertainty crossing the Mendoza – Santiago border during the winter months. Indeed, I got stuck in Mendoza for several days because the border was closed due to snow and flooding. Luckily, I did finally get across without much fuss! It was a bit difficult to calculate the daily budget in Argentina because of what’s known as the blue market rate. If you have US cash in Argentina, you can exchange your money for a much better rate than if you were to simply go to an ATM or use your credit card. So, my blue market budget was about $34 per day, but my real rate was $47 per day. If you are planning to visit Argentina, I highly recommend bringing US cash in crisp, $100 bills!
Wine tasting in Mendoza had been on my bucket list for ages and I’m so glad I finally got the chance to do it on this trip. As it’s winter, the vineyards weren’t quite as impressive as I’d envisioned, but the wine tasted just as nice. It’s easy to book guided tours in Maipu from Mendoza, but the cheaper alternative is to take a bus to Maipu and then rent a bike.