We landed in Buenos Aires on the 8th crossed to Colonia to pick up the truck on the 9th and after resolving a major issue on the truck drove straight across to Maipu, where we have been for the last few days (in mostly gorgeous weather).
We flew Norwegian this time to avoid BA's 'dirty tricks'. monitoring prices for a couple of months they suddenly increased them by 60% across the board, so we booked with Norwegian whose prices were close to the original BA price. I had an email from BA 2 weeks later announcing a huge sale, but in fact they had just put prices back to what they were before! The flight was excellent and landed 45 minutes early, which ultimately was a waste of time as the immigration queue was 45 minutes longer than usual.
Everything went like clockwork until I started the cruiser and the ignition lights did not go off! Luckily I spotted a loose cable to the battery (which must have been broken off from its connector when they re-connected the battery to move it out of the barn) and suspected it might be the feed from the alternator. We stopped in a nearby camp site overnight then went in search of a mechanic the following morning. The mechanic we used last year was closed (probably on holiday) so we headed into Colonia in a huge downpour. My alternator lead suspicions were confirmed as the wipers got slower and slower, the lights went out and eventually even the speedo didn't work. After 3 stops we found an auto electrician who would be back in an hour, so I switched off the engine and everything was completely dead. Fortunately the electrician was back in 10 minutes and all was fixed in 20, but then had to wait an hour for his monster battery charger to charge the batteries, but after that off we went, all sorted.
Our original plan was to drive to Mendoza via Alta Gracia (Che Guevara's birth place) which is a lovely little town with a gorgeous camp site and then through the mountains near Cordoba, but the forecast for that area was rain and thunderstorms, so went straight across to Mendoza (900 miles in 3 days).
So now we are in our 4th day in Maipu, but plan to head south tomorrow (when the current storm will have passed and will be back to wall to wall sunshine). we have stayed longer then originally planned as I pulled a muscle in my back 2 days before the flight and have been struggling to drive (and even more to walk after I have driven), but the rest has done me good and hopefully my back is ready to hit the road.
However, we could not visit Maipu without a visit to Agostino our favourite Winery for lunch, this time with a couple of Dutch ladies staying at Posada Cavieres and later joined by an Irish couple also staying at the Posada. (since we went last year Hans has recommended Angostino to lots of his guests, all of whom have given rave reviews). We went for the 5 course again (5 courses with 5 different wines) and again the chef came out to explain each course.
So far we have been travelling on old ground so I haven't taken any photos yet, but Chris took a photo of each of the 5 courses on her phone so here they are:
First course, based around tomatoes on pancakes made of kale and green vegetables, with a glass (or two) of Rose (in fact prior to this was a tiny glass of cold green soup as a pre course)
Second Course based around Corn and Polenta, with a couple of sweetbreads and a glass of white.
Third Course Shredded Beef cooked in Malbac for 6 hours on a type of pita bread with thin strips of peach and courgette that had been soaked in Malbec for different lengths of time to give different colours and a glass of young Malbec.
Main Course - Filet Mignon with potatoes and onions cooked in a mix of herbs, which we had with a number of glasses of red reserver.
and Desert, which is basically a fruit pizza (which came after a small glass of something like sorbet as a pre desert). I can't remember what we were drinking at this point!
Followed by a coffee in the garden, with Fanny, Laura, Paul and Elizabeth.