At Hostal Estacion Mendoza, we found everything we wanted: a quiet place with a swimming pool, which we actually never used, Internet and kitchen use, plus a little garden, a friendly staff and lots of common areas to relax or mingle with other travellers! We had also a large and quiet room on the top floor.
But what made our stay in this place so special were the other guests, all from Argentina and Brazil. Almost every night, we met someone different and had the opportunity to chat and share experiences.
Of course, every evening people would seat in the garden and share a Mate, before going out for dinner or cooking at a reasonable time, which is in Argentina never earlier than 10:00 pm, often a lot later!
Once we started talking to three soccer fans from La Pampa who came to Mendoza for a major league game between La Boca and another major team from Buenos Aires. Of course, they had prepared a Parilla and cooked tons of meat and were happy to share the huge quantity of leftovers with others. The best part was watching them handling the barbecue: you could tell from the distance that they were real experts. Unfortunately, they talked very fast and with a strong accent at that, so we had major problems understanding them.
But the climax was reached the last evening of our stay in Argentina. A couple from Buenos Aires, Xavier and Paola, invited us plus a senor from Spain, Francesco, to sample some of the products they had bought during a tour of Bodegas. So we sat down and started eating, drinking rosé, talking, one bottle of wine chasing the other. At around midnight, when wine reserves were getting dangerously low, another group joined us and allowed us to discover a different version of Mate: a melon, filled with cheap chilled red wine that we drank with a Mate straw, handing the melon around to the next person.
What amazed us the most? We were able to integrate in the group and take part in the conversation, all in Spanish, which sometimes turned really philosophical.
All in all, this stay at the Hostal Mendoza was one of the highlights of our trip. This was one of the most sociable hostels we have seen so far in South America!