11 Aug 2018
Moving on to Argentina

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On Sunday morning, after breakfast, we departed for Santiago airport, and with a heavy heart and more than a few stiff bodies, thanks to the fixtures the day before, we left Chile behind. It was clear to see that after a somewhat hesitant start to life in Chile, we had all grown rather fond of the place, but after a short flight over the Andes, it was onto our next adventure in Mendoza.

It was clear from the get go that Mendoza would be just that. Within a couple of hours of our arrival in Argentina, on our walk to another of our post-flight training session in the park, we experienced first-hand the fabled local football crowds. In coming the other way to us, they gave a rather interesting, if not formidable, ‘welcome to Argentina’ to us. However after a short, sharp session in the park and and very enjoyable dinner at a local restaurant, our first day in Argentina came to a close.

On Monday, it must be said that we were more productive. Beginning with a city bus tour of Mendoza, taking us from the birthplace of Mendoza to the park of General San Martín in the foothills of the Andes, we explored the city a bit more thoroughly than the day before. Much of this exploration came at lunchtime when, allowed to find lunch for ourselves, we ventured into the main shopping streets of the city, only a stone’s throw from our hotel from Sunday night.

In the afternoon our schedule took us to a much more rural part of Mendoza, way out of the centre of the city. The surroundings that greeted us were in stark contrast with the urban centre of Santiago that we had been used to just over 24 hours beforehand. However, when we reached the rugby club that we will be playing on on Tuesday for our training session, the beautiful pitch made us feel very comfortable indeed.

A very productive training session ensued and we left feeling well-prepared for our matches against Mendoza RFC. At the conclusion of the training, we once again were billeted, however this time in twos and threes as opposed to on our own with our hosts. The Mendoza boys have seemed more than hospitable in our time with them so far and this was highlighted in their organisation of a meal at a pizzeria shared by nearly all of both our touring party and their team.

The matches for the second team and the first team on Tuesday are at 3.30 and 5.30 pm respectively, and on Wednesday, there is white-water rafting on the agenda, with a chance to relax on a 12 hour overnight bus journey to Rosario.