Compared to the other Argentine cities we have been to this trip, Mendoza, the coountry’s fourth largest city, is disappointing and dirty.
Mendoza is one of the oldest cities in Argentina, yet, it doesn’t show. There are just not a lot of attractive old buildings around; what didn’t help, of course, was the 1861 earthquake, that destroyed much of the city, including the only one historical site left, another Jesuit convent called San Francisco. Which is just not very impressive anymore. But where Rosario and Cordoba, and Buenos Aires too, have lots of beautiful early 20th Century architecture, Mendoza seems to lack the grandeur of this era.
It also seems to lack a forceful municipality. The city’s attractive tree-lined avenues and streets are dirty, many buildings are disfigured by ugly graffiti, the acequias, the wide trenches that run along the streets, are full of rubbish. It seems that really every park where we end up is being repaired, or reconstructed, meaning it is closed.
We are looking for the house that General San Martin lived in, clearly marked on our tourist map. We cannot find it, there is only a large sign announcing that we are on the historical town walk dedicated to the great liberator. It transpires that the house itself has been pulled down several years ago. To make place for development – which hasn’t been developed yet, evidenced by the corrugated iron that shields the construction site. The museum dedicated to the general is closed – right, it is siesta time after all -, but is in an ugly new building instead of the original house built by San Martin for his retirement. Nothing is sacred, in this town. Time to move on.
Or, wait! Don’t they have wineries here, too?
indeed, next more wineries