This section of our blog is going to be fairly short and sweet. Our plan was to volunteer at a vineyard for two weeks with our hosts Nati & Leo. We wanted to do this for three main reasons: to experience South American culture up close & personal, save money, and after five weeks of travelling we relished the idea of being in the same spot for an extended period of time. In the following pros and cons list you will see that we achieved these three things, but really didn’t enjoy our time there.
*Nati and Leo were a very nice couple. They traveled around the world on a motorcycle previous to buying the vineyard and had some good advice for us.
*Leo was a spunky German guy about our age and was very knowledgeable about grape growing (Drew had lots of questions for him).
*Nati was a fabulous cook! She made us many delicious meals and they were always plentiful. She even made crepes filled with dulche de leche (carmel) and cream. SOOOO GOOD!
*We had the chance to taste authentic Argentinian asada (aka bbq). Surprisingly enough we both really enjoyed the lamb…which has never been a favorite for either of us!
*They had a cute smiley baby we could coo at.
*The weather was nice 75% of the time. The sun shines a lot in this area and we were grateful for that.
*We got up every day at 7:00 and were usually rewarded with a blazingly bright sunrise.
*They had three dogs and two cats for us to love on!
*We were able to experience what rural living is like in Argentina.
*Quiet walks around the farm lead us to some sweet horses to pet and feed.
*There was a store in walking distance for us to get beer, chocolate, ice cream and whatever other little things we might want.
*After travelling for five weeks straight it was nice to not have to plan out our day and/or the next day or the day after that.
*Cement floors and walls
*No heat (the nights were between 40-50 degrees)
*Only two small blankets for the bed (I wore two pairs of pants and two long sleeve shirts most nights)
*Gaps around the doors and windows
*The toilet had no running water attached to it, so we had to fill a bucket with water from the stream and pour it down the bowl.
*Anytime the windows were closed the whole room smelled like sewer…we don’t know why and air freshener didn’t do a great job of covering it up.
*For five days straight we dug “marones” which basically means we dug holes, replanted vines, and covered them up again. Luckily it was only for 5 hours a day.
*We worked for 9 days straight. This was self-inflicted…we were originally planning to stay two weeks with 4 days off, but disliked the accommodations so much we decided to adjust our arrangement.
*We were in charge of dishes and had the unfortunate view of the terribly old dirty sponge and wash rag that never seemed to be replaced.
*The shower was a joke. Sometimes it dribbled and sometimes it didn’t.
*Last but not least: WE WERE ON A VINEYARD AND THERE WAS NO WINE!
In all we’ve decided that being American has made us soft, spoiled, and grateful for the way we are able to live at home. It’d be pushing it to say that the experience was great, but we learned a lot about ourselves, the way other people live, and I think it will help us see other places (i.e. hostels) in a better light. Peace out San Rafael. HEEEELLLLOOOO Chile 🙂