San Antonio De Areco - Gaucho Experience

Trip Start Nov 01, 2004
Trip End Nov 01, 2005

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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Day 243 Thursday 30/06/05 Puerto Madryn to San Antonio De Areco

We arrive in Buenos Aires at 12.40 and 10 minutes later we are on another bus to San Antonio De Areco - another 2 hours. We arrive at 3ish and check into the San Carlos Hotel - a cheap lovely hotel - itīs nice to be back into a hotel style place again - with an ensuite and fresh towels! After a quick freshen up we head out to the famous gaucho museum. This town is the cultural home of the gaucho - the cowboy of Patagonia. The museum has some excellent stuff on the gauchos including some saddles belonging to famous gauchos. It is set in an old ranch building that even has it`s own moat round it for additional protection. The collection of branding irons is superb - and they have some big ones that must have hurt the cows a lot. After the museum we wandered back over the old pink bridge (very famous - used in a gaucho film) and went through the old town which has cobbled roads and some nice buildings. We had a nice evening meal in a local restaurant where the most expensive wine was about 5 euros. We only went for a 3 euro bottle but it was superb. The dessert was the only oddity - Stewart went for the Lemon Champ which turned out to be a glass of champagne with a ball of lemon sorbet floating in it....... a very posh ice cream floater!

Day 244 Friday 01/07/05 San Antonio De Areco

We had a very weird breakfast. The cafe didn`t have much available from its menu so we opted to try a couple of things we didnīt know. Gillian ended up with deep fried pastried things with jam in the centre and Stewart ended up with very crunchy toasted french style bread. We then headed over to the La Cinacina ranch for our gaucho day. We were greeted with empanadas (think cornish pasty) and some drinks. We seemed to be the only people there but they said more were coming from Buenos Aires. We toured the museum and then the lovely little chapel (with the pussy cat that had black and pink coloured fur). Gillian then headed out for a gaucho style horse ride with one of the gauchos. Itīs just as well she can ride a horse as at one point the gaucho took off cantering without asking if she was ok to go fast. As it turned out her horse didnīt want to canter anyway and needed a lot of persuasion to switch from trotting faster and faster and faster to actually cantering. Meanwhile, Stewart sat by the bar and waited and while she was gone the others turned up....8 of them plus a guide. They had a shot at horseriding though much shorter than Gillian had and then we went into the meal. The meal was a typical Argentinian Parrilla (BBQ). We had the chance to try various cuts of beef, sausage, blood sausage, intestines, etc all done on the grill - Stewart tried a few (and we kept a sausage for the street dogs) but ate a lot more of the salad, potatoes and crisps that they kept topping up. We had a lovely bottle of wine too which was very very drinkable. We were then treated to a concert - with a singer who played the guitar and a drummer with a nice hat. The music was from all over the gaucho areas and was excellent. We then headed outside for the display of horsemanship - this was the thing we really wanted to see. Sadly it was very short and they only did one type of event - galloping at very high speed and plucking a ring that was hanging above them. This was how gauchos would win a female! Afterwards we had some mate and another deep fried pastry before heading back into town. It was great value (46 peso/13euro) but more horsemanship would have been better. We chilled that night and treated ourselves to strawberries from the supermarket.
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