14 May 2017

And all we did today was have lunch - again - and what a lunch!!

Having watched the forecast for a few days we timed our crossing to perfection. Had we delayed another day we would have probably had to stay in Chile for another week. We crossed into Argentina at 3 pm and they told us that at 6 pm the border would be closed until further notice due to snow!

The next night was cold and wet, so we decided that a few nights out of the roof tent were in order and headed for Antigua Residence in Mendoza (a Hostel highly recommended on IOverlander). It was a long day driving and we arrived in the dark (probably the third time we have driven in the dark in 3 years) and we were more than relieved to find that they had room for us.

This place is just amazing. Owned by an Italian family that bought this former champagne producing vineyard 7 years ago in an extremely dilapidated state and have converted it into an amazing hostel. they have even converted the ' tanks' that were used to make champagne have been converted into bedrooms. So, after 49 nights in the roof tent and 2,500 miles in the last 17 days and  we decided we would stay here for a few days.

First we visited a place that makes Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar, then a place the produces lots of different spirits and liquors and then yesterday we visited  a winery and decided we would stay for lunch, a beautiful setting and when we asked for the menu the chef came out and explained each of the courses in great detail. There was a choice of 3 or 5 course set menu and the chef offered to give us a taster of the first 3 courses of the 5 course meal as our first course, amazing and  accompanied by 3 different wines.

This was followed by the tour, followed by wine tasting and when we had finished our guide put the cork in the last bottle and gave it to us to take home - all in all an excellent day.

We have had a lazy day today in preparation for getting back on the road tomorrow and received an email from the Swiss couple we met at Pisco Elqui saying that they are currently stranded in Chile waiting for flood water to subside, where as here it has been gorgeous whether since we arrived in Mendoza.

We head for the hills
and over the pass

We visit this 106 year old olive farm, with the original olive press still in position

and see the olive trees, also 106 ears old, but these are very young as they will keep baring fruit for 2,000 years.

After the press the pulp was put between these mesh plates and squashed and unlike the press, which was replaced many years ago, these will still in operation into the late 1990's. 

all now replaced by this! Which could be anything.

then the olive oil is collected in these large tanks

like wine the balsamic vinegar is aged in oak barrels

Hostel Antigua, converted from a derelict champagne winery
The old champagne tanks have all been converted into rooms. The owner of the property and master mind of the conversion stands in the distance. The Hostel is run by his two daughters, one of which is standing next to Chris giving us the guided tour

The Cellar used for meetings 
and this used to be a large underground champagne tank
the original safe, inside which they found many plans and details of the original business.

Finca Agostino, we are given a welcome glass of champagne on the roof terrace while we wait for the next tour

then we wander over to the restaurant and decide to have lunch first

Our starter

and main course

accompanied by lots of wine

and a picture with the chef (but I really should have taken my napkin off!!!

and then dessert

followed by the wine tour, this vineyard is only 12 years old so all very modern

Mariana, our host and tour guide, she is actually the restaurant manager but by the time we finished lunch the tour guide proper had to go because it was his mothers birthday so Mariana offered to take his place. She told us that she visited the UK one summer and was like autumn in Mendoza

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