Oh, dear friends and readers, I apologize from the bottom of my heart for leaving you in the dark for so long. This last month has been a very different kind of adventure for me…one in domesticity and babies and somehow it didn’t seem to have the same blog-entry-allure that so many of our other adventures have. So I left you to your own devices and happily submerged myself with diapers and drool. To most of you that probably sounds horrible…but I tell you now, I was in heaven. Let me rewind a bit.
After Carnival, Cameron and I had decided that we would spend one last beautiful weekend together in N. Argentina’s wine country before we spent a few weeks on our own. I was feeling the need to unpack my backpack and settle in to a routine for a few weeks. And Cameron was feeling the travelers urge to be on the move, seeing as much as he can in the few months we have left.
We decided it would be best for both of us to “do our own thing” for a few weeks and then meet back up. We headed to Cafayate, the second highest producer of wine in Argentina, to spend our 5 year anniversary together before we went our separate ways. In Cafayate we stayed in a delicious little hostel with a grapevine covered courtyard. We did little besides ate local goat cheese and drank local wine….and we had a divine time.
After Cafayate, Cameron headed off on his own route. He has some hilarious and adventure filled stoires, and hopefully one of these days his mom and I will be able to pressure him enough to sit down and write it out. But until then you’re stuck hearing my point of view. 😉
About 6 months ago, Cameron and I were hoping to work on an organic farm hear in Argentina and we joined WWOOF, an organization designed to set people up to work on local farms in exchange for food and lodging. We found a delighful organic winery in N. Argentina, and the first time I wrote to the owner, Maud, she asked if I would be willing to chat with her American friend, Nadia, who was living in Argentina and pregnant with her first baby. Nadia and I became pen pals. sending photos and writing long emails to each other in preparation for her labor. When I mentioned to her I was thinking of settling somewhere for a few weeks, maybe finding some Spanish classes, she immediately offered me her home…and how on earth could I possibly say no to a beautiful 3 month old baby!? Turns out Nadia and I got on wonderfully…she took a risk in inviting a virtual stranger into her home for a month, but I just can’t imagine my life without having met her, her amazing husband Tomas (from Holland) and her beautiful baby boy (who is the proud owner of 3 different passports by 3 months old!) (I never ended up meeting Maud however!). I had an absolutely incredible time with them, doing little more than cooking, washing out diapers, taking walks down country roads, and trying to think of hand-sewing projects.
I thought I might get bored at the country home…it was an hour by public bus to arrive in the city. I was surprised to find that I never wanted to leave the house unless it was to stroll through the country. I felt so completely content and complete out there with this beautiful family. I feel so lucky to have been invited into their lives and I have no doubt that we will remain friends.
After three weeks, I was sad to leave but ready to see Cameron and his beard. Mama Julie Robertson flew down for a visit and I was able to meet up with them (only a 20 hour bus ride, no big deal…) in beautiful Mendoza for a few days. Mendoza was a wonderful reminder for me of the joys of travel.
We soaked in hot springs, rode bikes through the countryside, and drank bottle after bottle of delicious wine. We rented bikes for the day ($6) from the renowned Mr. Hugo. He offers unlimited wine along with his bikes, so we started off the tour
with a high ball of local wine and then proceeded to the Absinthe factory….quite the start to the tour. 5 hours later we had seen/tasted everything from tiny family-run wineries to modern industrial wineries. We had shared countless flights of Cabernet Sauvignon, local varietal Torrontes, Syrah. and of course plenty of Malbec. Our favorite winery was the last on our tour. We sipped on the very best wine I have ever tasted in my life. a Cabernet from 2004, aged in french oak barrels and then in the bottles.
Absolutely mind-blowing. We closed the place down and then climbed back on our cruiser bikes to attempt the ride back to Mr. Hugos. I won’t lie- it took a bit of concentration to ride in a straight line, but we arrived…only to find Mr Hugo pouring us more wine! Somehow we managed to find our way onto the public bus back to town. By 11 pm we were all happily in bed dreaming of wine. It has been an unforgettable month, from babies to bottles of wine. And now we find ourselves on the countdown of our last 2 months of travel (can it be!?). But those two months are packed full of plans and adventure. So stay tuned…I promise not to leave you for so long this time!