Today I finally took advantage of a prize I won back in December and went for a day at an estancia in San Antonio de Areco. Really, the award had expired after three months, but the manager of Estancia El Ombú de Areco was kind enough to let me take advantage of it. The day was for two people, so I treated my English housemate Rory to the trip. Rory is in Buenos Aires for a couple of months doing volunteer/party work, and hadn’t yet gone into the countryside. We got pretty lucky with a nice day, and the temperature was said to get up to 15 or 16 degrees Celsius.
We left the apartment early in the morning, walking to Retiro to catch a 9:50 am bus. We got there after it was sold out and had to wait for the 10:25, so while we sat around I drank mate and Rory had a croissant and coffee. For our round trip tickets we paid $52 pesos with Chevallier. Once the two hour bus trip was complete and we arrived to the outpost bus stop, we quickly got into a remise (private taxi compay) for $35 and headed to the estancia. The festivities started at 11 am, so we showed up fashionably late, let’s say.
We were given a quick tour of the facilities, which included a pool (out of use for the winter), a living room with a pool table and fireplace, dining room, and stable area where you could sit and enjoy a fried empanada and welcome drink. Rory read a bit while I walked around taking pictures and enjoying the peace and quiet of the country. No cars or horns, and only the sounds of birds and animals which sound so foreign after spending too long in a city. The last time I got into the country was in June.
Lunch was a smorgasbord of meat, with pork, chicken, ribs, steak and sausage. However, we also did a good job on potatoes, coleslaw, salad and bread. I knew from experience to save room for the steak, but put the food to good use and kept my plate clean. It left me feeling a bit puffy after the bottle of wine we killed as well, but it was a challenge worth meeting. Besides, once the gaucho came out with dessert and played guitar and sang love songs, I wasn’t focusing on my stomach.
We were led to the yard where a horse taming demonstration was given, which I saw before in June at Estancia La Bamba de Areco. It’s amazing to see the cowboys get the horses to do whatever they want and without using violence or shouting. This time around I got some photos and videos, which I’ll mix into a video later on. The group of visitors was saddled up and we went for a lengthy horseback ride around the property and to a river, when we started to head back as it got chillier. My horse had a mind of its own and I don’t think it appreciated it when I called it “fatty”, so he sped off faster than I’ve ever been on a horse. After the half a bottle of wine I was holding on for dear life. I’m not sure if drinking and horseback riding is illegal, but it’s definitely not recommended.
We had to get our bus back to the city at 5:25 pm, so unfortunately couldn’t stay any longer once we made it back to the main house. Even though the pampas are fairly boring open plains, it’s a breath of fresh air, and I always enjoy getting out of the city for an afternoon. Maybe when my friends from Ecuador arrive in a week or so we’ll head out again.