The funny thing in Argentina was that I was walking through streets and squares with the same name in every city. Of course, San Martin was by far the most common but some others like Carlos Pellegrini was also there on a sign at least once in every city.
Carlos Enrique Pellegrini (1846-1906) was the founder of Banco de la Nacion Argentina (the biggest in Argentina) and also the president of the country (1890-1892)
I was passing through this square every day on my way to the center but the most interesting thing was that there were every morning some stands with locals selling some old things like mate glasses from the 60s, some small mirror etc In the past there were big flee markets in Mendoza but now that the authorites shut them down for no reason it’s a good opportunity to see and buy some interesting things… Unfortunatelly the big handcraft market of Independencia square that some tourist guides suggest doesn’t exist anymore.
Even the icy winds that blow up at Puente del Inca aren't enough to keep the hardy souls who set up shop there from making the most of the opportunity to sell to the toursts who come to see the natural arch and the old hotel. Some sell items that have been left in the suphuric water long enough to be turned to golden stone - everything from pottery bowls to Madonnas. Others sell the usual variety of handicrafts - knitwear, leather bags and belts, weavings, pottery, stone carvings, etc. If you want to escape from the cold , venture into the shop where you'll find a terrific range of Argentinian foodie items - jams and sauces, oils, preserves, olives, chocolates and more. Not into food? How about a gaucho hat - they're so stylish. The shop is jammed with stuff, some the usual souveniry items but lots that is good quality - definitely worth a browse
Among the 4 plazas that are located equidistant from Plaza Independencia, my favourite is Plaza Espana. It has lovely ceramic tiles, fountains, wrought-iron street lamps and an Andalusian atmosphere.
What makes it more special is the weekend handicraft market here at Plaza Espana. There are a few other handicraft markets in Plaza Independencia and other places, but personally, the one at Plaza Espana is the most diverse and interesting.
What to buy: Bottles of preserves, wooden craft like furniture, kitchenwares, hand-crafted jewellery, knitwear, etc...
It's a slow but nice trainway that goes through San Martin, Colon, Belgrano and Las Heras Avenue where you'll find lots of shoips to buy whatever you may be looking for. It's really cheap ($0.50 Argentine Pesos) and the trainway has a stop in every corner.
Very nice wine shop with knowledgeable and friendly owners. Alberto offered to open a bottle of good organic wine for me, under no obligation for me to buy if I didn't like it. I had already spotted another wine that I wanted to stock up on so I placed my order and he'll deliver the case to my hostel tomorrow.
They sell other wine-related paraphernalia. Vinos y delicias de Mendoza, regional products, gifts, etc.
What to buy: good wine at comparatively affordable prices
What to pay: all price ranges, everything I saw seemed reasonable
2-3 blocks north of the town center in Mendoza, there are many excellent leather shops.
You can get any kind of jacket, blazer, skirt, trousers, coats you can imagine - at a reasonable price.
What to buy: I did get this cell phone bag - excellent work, soft leather.
Price: 18 Pesos (Jan05)
In Mendoza you can shop until you drop dead.
The best place to buy good artesanal quality is the handicraft market (feria artesanal) on Plaza Independencia.
You can't miss it, there are little shops lining the whole plaza.
The market is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
What to buy: Leather ware for example is quite reasonable, either belts, bags, wallets.
Any kind of artesanal jewelery.
Mirrors, baskets, etc - you name it.
The pic shows a pendant, the sun "cut" out of a 1 Peso coin. I was always looking for a pendant with sun - and this one was just perfect.
Price was 15 Pesos (in jan05)
What to pay: (depends on the articles)
This is either shopping or restaurant, but as we all like to bring home little somethings from our travels, I have added it under shopping :-)
Argentinian cooking has a huge variety.
And argentine sweets are well known worldwide for it's deliciousy.
One of the most famous things to buy are Ajfajores, a kind of cookie cake, with fillings of any kind.
It's available as chocolate, marmelade etc.
What to pay: A set of 3 ajfajores are less than 1 USD, usually.
It took us a while to realize that there were also large indoor malls in the downtown area of Mendoza. These are not all that obvious from the street but, after passing through inconspicuous doors and leaving the heat of the sidewalk behind, you will find yourself in a large high-ceilinged building.
There are shops of all descriptions lining the walls beneath the beautifully glassed-in roof of the rotunda. With the typical hot summers experienced by Mendoza (which was a surprise to me with it being so close to the Andes) it makes sense to take cover when shopping!
During our final Sunday morning walk, we discovered the very pleasant pedestrian walkway called Paseo Sarmiento. This leafy street is lined lots of shops and restaurants and has great ambiance! We wished that we had stumbled onto this place earlier, but I guess we had been too busy with our tours!
Now that we were at the end of our trip, we finally did some looking for a few trinkets to take home with us. Among the the things we bought were two pots for drinking the local's favourite - 'mate', as well as a small bag of the actual tea itself. I also had to have a T-shirt to commemorate the occassion of our fantastic trip to Argentina!