After months of hiking and exploring in Patagonia (with an Antarctic cruise slipped in!), we finally headed north. We decided to take a break from the constant traveling and save a bit of money by doing a work exchange for 2 weeks. We used workaway.info to find an expat couple living near San Rafael (a town a few hours outside the city of Mendoza) that wanted some help on their farm in exchange for free housing. The “farm” wasn’t really a working farm – they didn’t have crops (besides a small garden and an apricot tree) or animals (except for 2 dogs) but they did have quite a bit of land (it used to be a working vinyard) that needed to be maintained. We actually had a lot of fun doing the manual labor! For 4 hours a day during the week, we pruned trees, burned brush piles, cut wood and cleared the path the ran from one end of the property to the other. My favorite job was burning (I never knew I was a pyro!) but Brandon really liked using the chainsaw and splitter to cut firewood. Here are some action shots of Brandon at work!
When our work was done for the day, we relaxed! San Rafael gets pretty hot during the summer (highs were in the 90s most days we were there) and siestas are part of the culture. Most businesses were closed from 1 – 5pm so everyone can go home and relax during the hottest part of the day. While we didn’t take a nap every afternoon, we always would lay down and at least read. When it gets that hot and there isn’t any air conditioning, there isn’t much else to do. Luckily we had great digs to relax in! Our “free accommodation” was a two bedroom house with a fully equipped kitchen and a projector in the living room. We didn’t have much access to the internet during our stay, but they had a collection of movies and tv shows to watch and we got hooked on the old HBO show Six Feet Under.
One of our favorite parts of the work away was having pets again! They had a 2 month old Rottweiler puppy named Cali who was super cute, but always chewing or biting something (or someone). We had a hard time getting her to stay still for a picture! We really loved their other dog Catorce though. He was the perfect dog! He hung out with us for a lot of the afternoon and evening and really like to cuddle and go on walks.
The farm was smack in the middle of tons of orchards and vineyards and the surrounding area was absolutely beautiful. We had a great time and I think it’s fairly safe to say it was the most relaxing two weeks of our trip!