Christmas Eve is one of my favorite nights of the year at home. Its one of the few times during the winter that it is just the four of us in our Vermont house, so we get to spend a nice quiet holiday together. My favorite meal (even more than Thanksgiving) is our Christmas Eve dinner (I’ve already requested it as my welcome home meal)… stuffed mushrooms, crabcakes, shrimp scampi, and lobster ravioli in a pink sauce. I of course knew that it would be very difficult to match this night, but I did want to make a point to have a delicious meal on Christmas Eve in Mendoza. When we woke up on the 24th, we decided to visit Parque General San Martin for the afternoon. After a twenty-minute walk, we made it to the beautiful gates of the park. Once inside, we explored the rose garden, which was on the edge of a huge man-made lake. We sat for a while and relaxed, enjoying the view of the Andes from the park.
We eventually started back towards town in hopes that we would come across a restaurant that we could eat at later on that night. As we walked down the main road of the city, almost every restaurant was closing up, putting away all of their outdoor seating and pulling the gates down for the evening (not a good sign). We also noticed that the wind had picked up significantly since we had started the walk, blowing dirt and leaves all over the streets of the city…we were told later that it was a once a year windstorm that hits Mendoza and makes it almost unbearable to walk around town for twenty-four hours. With the weather and restaurant situation working against us, we got ready and went out hoping we’d find somewhere to eat.
We did find one place open…a kiosco. After wandering the city for a half hour we came to terms with the fact that our meal would be nothing like our respective family dinners at home. We bought sandwiches, snacks, and champagne from the kiosco, and sat outside together (as the wind was violently whipping around us). We shared each of our family’s Christmas traditions and laughed about how this year’s holiday was one for the books. After our very classy kiosco dinner, we walked back to Hostel Independencia where our friends were starting to celebrate. We shared the remainder of our snacks and played drinking games with the group using a mixture of international rules, which made the games unlike any I’ve ever played before.
Once it was officially Christmas, we walked to Plaza Independencia to try and catch some fireworks before heading out for the night (Argentines usually spend Christmas Eve with their family, but once dinner is over and its Christmas, they go out and party). Although unorthodox, it ended up being a very fun Christmas with good company and lots of laughs.