We really had no idea what to expect when we arrived at the bus station in San Rafael (Argentina), hoping to be picked up by the man who’s farm we were going to work on for the next 10 days. So far on this trip though, everything has fallen into place so easily and this is yet another example of how perfectly things worked out.
Our friend Gabi, who we were working with at the hostel in Córdoba, travelled with us from Córdoba to San Rafael, as she had also gotten a job on a finca (farm in Spanish) in San Rafael. Her farmer had told her to catch this bus then that bus then walk here and hitch hike there etc. to find her way from the bus station to his farm. Our farmer said he’d be waiting for us at the station. We arrived and waited outside for about 10 minutes. Along comes Mike. Our farmer. As we all know, this world is so small in so many ways, so of course it turns out that Gabi’s farmer, Robbie, is friends with our farmer, Mike, and their farms are opposite each other. Maximum 2km apart. Mike kindly gave Gabi a lift to her farm and saved her the torturous journey of lugging her 3 huge bags across the town… and the rest is history. Visits to each other’s farms every second day. Swims in our pool. Asado’s (an Argentine braai/barbeque). A day trip to Valle Grande, where we got horribly sunburnt (WHY DO US GIRLS NEVER LEARN OUR LESSON EACH TIME THIS HAPPENS TO US?). And apart from all the fun things, we worked, and boy did we work hard.
In the 10 days spent at Finca Andes Lands, I’ve learnt so many new things, gained new skills, and done some arbitrary things that I’ll probably never have to do again in my life. These skills and arbitrary things range from plastering the quincho (the braai area), sanding and varnishing new furniture and learning new ways to live more sustainable to ironing, cooking, herding cows, stripping bamboo, cleaning the pool, watering the lawn, watering the tomatoes, building fires, chopping wood and getting a ridiculous amount of thorns, scratches and nettles in my hands and arms. Life on a farm. We’ve worked long and hard hours, but it’s been great. It’s taught us what we can achieve when we put out minds to it and how much physical strength we really have.
Finca Andes Lands is over 100 years old and is run by an Anglo-Argentine couple, Mike and Vicky. They are the genuinely the most lovely people we’ve ever met. The farm has been in Mike’s family since the beginning of time with a huge old farmhouse that has expanded over the years. The house spreads out onto a huge lawn with a massive pool, The farm runs as a B&B, and then they have volunteers such as ourselves to come and help out with the general upkeep of the property. If you have a moment, go take a look at their website. www.andeslands.com
It has been an absolutely magical soul nourishing experience, and I am so glad that websites such as www.workaway.info and www.helpx.net exist, the help facilitate such opportunities. I wouldn’t change my experience on this finca even slightly.
- You Don’t Have to be Rich to Travel the World (whiletravelingabroad.wordpress.com)
- An impromptu Argentinian homestay – San Rafael, Argentina (travelpod.com)