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Lavender Farm

 

 

 

We walked along, looking down at the north shore of the Lago Perito Moreno in Argentina’s lake district. The road first descended and then rose between two mountains and as the hills grew steeper, we caught sight of a small, open space—a green clearing with a dusting of purple along the top. A sign by the road read, “Meli Hue Finca Lavanda” in small, purple letters. It was a lavender farm. Intrigued and curious, my friend and I decided to explore this mysterious farm in the middle of the mountains.

 

 

A narrow, dirt driveway divided the field in two, the wind making purple waves as it blew through rows and rows of lavender bushes. As the drive began to curve, the purple fields gave way to a large stone house. A girl appeared at the door and led us into the small, sweet-smelling shop where the wooden shelves were stocked with lavender oils, soaps and candles. As she put a droplet of oil on each of our wrists, she explained that the farm was run by a retired couple, as a sort of hobby and a way to make some extra money.  She told us to rub the oil in slowly I held my wrist to my nose and took a deep breath, feeling my face relax as the essence fell deep into my lungs. We each bought a small bottle for the road.

 

 

Next to the shop, there was a small tea room.  It had sturdy-looking wooden chairs and tables, a fireplace and a big bay window looking out onto the wildflower garden set against an unforgettable view of the lake. We walked outside and sat among the flowers in two Adirondack chairs at a small wicker table. Across the glassy blue water, the Hotel Llao Llao beamed back at us: a large, elegant old estate that sat between two of the seven lakes that surround Bariloche and that is said to be Argentina’s most luxurious hotel. A few minutes later, the young girl returned with a steaming pot of lavender tea, a basket of tiny but hearty scones and two ramekins of homemade jam. She told us that the jams were made of local raspberries and guinda, a berry that is native to Patagonia and similar to a cherry.  I took a scone and spread a thin layer of guinda jam on top. The scone was buttery and the jam tasted tart and sweet. The tea steeped a minute longer and then we poured and sat, breathing in the steam off the tops of our little cups and enjoying a perfect moment of release before we began our big hike through Patagonia for the day.



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