Day 36, 05FEB2017
Mendoza – San Rafael.
Today Josh and I rode on CATA lines from Mendoza to San Rafael. The trip was just under four hours, but stopped at some of the most peculiar locations. For instance, on several occasions the bus actually pulled over at an underpass on the highway and picked up people toting their rolling suitcases. There was no bus stop to be seen, but obviously there’s some sort of In-N-Out hidden menu in the cards when it comes to Argentinian buses.
Our bus ride was short enough that no meal service was provided, but long enough that they played a Spanish dubbed version of The Magnificent Seven. The movie was actually a bit better in Spanish than in English. Ha.
We arrived in San Rafael and grabbed a cab to our next AirBnB.
Nothing could have prepared us for the next few days at our AirBnB. At first glance, Josh and I were a bit worried because when we told the cab driver the address of our next home, he looked a little perplexed. The address apparently did not register with him. Furthermore, google maps could not find the place. So the driver agreed to just drive along until we found something that looked like the photo on AirBnB.
Thankfully we did, and when we arrived we were met with the friendly face of Vincent, an American ex-pat who owns his own vineyard and lives the life with his gorgeous wife Betiana and their two kids.
Vincent gave us a quick tour of the home side of the vineyard: our apartment was an addition to their adobe home. The apartment was one room, a couch, bed, kitchen, and bathroom: everything we’d need for our next three days. But the plate of freshly picked grapes, plums, pears, and apples on the kitchen counter paired with a refreshingly chilled beer awaiting us in the fridge indicated to the two of us that this place was going to be amazing!
Before parting ways, Vincent encouraged us to wander and explore his vineyard “me casa es su casa” he then highlighted a local produce store half a klick down the road where Josh and I could procure dinner, and finally, he said the words Josh and I had been itching to hear for days: “You’re invited to join the family later to watch the Super Bowl if you’d like?” OF COURSE WE WOULD! Fast friends indeed.
The proveeduria opened at 1700 after the standard siesta, and so Josh and I having not eater since the snack aboard CATA wandered over immediately. The pleasant woman made all the pizzas and sandwiches herself, and although she didn’t speak English, she was incredibly patient with my broken Spanish. We ordered bread, cheese, salami, pizza, and of course beer: we couldn’t show up to the Super Bowl party without beer for our new neighbors!
After dinner Josh and I took Vincent up on his offer to wander the grounds and wander we did. The family dogs – Sahara, Dakar and Luna – followed us through our adventure as we walked up and down the vineyards of Cab, Pinot, Chardonnay, and Malbec. They then took off at a dead sprint to sniff neighboring dogs when Josh and I strolled into the orchard section of the farm: walnuts, apricots, pears, plums, olives, apples – this place is pure indulgence!
We returned to the main house just before kick off, and thus just in time to be gifted our AirBnB present for the next few days: a momma cat and her five precious less than a week old kittens. My heart melted and I fell in love.
The Patriots versus the Falcons: pure history! Although Josh and I were cheering for Atlanta (honestly, the Patriots have had their heyday, and the Falcons pre-game advert whereby they listed names of 2016s fallen heroes garnered our support). The game, as any American reading this knows, started off looking as though Atlanta would upset New England, but the Super Bowl is definitely not a game to give up on. We stuffed our mouths with fresh baked empanadas paired with cerveza and the Alta Vista wine, and sat cheering and nail biting until Super Bowl history was made: the first ever overtime! What!?
In the end the Patriots beat out the Falcons, but even if we had different hopes at the start, Josh and I were both impressed with the outcome. We were even more impressed however with how awesome our hosts were. The evening ended, however Josh and I knew this was just the beginning of an awesome stay.