Panagea ... the gaucho experience

Trip Start Mar 05, 2008
Trip End Jan 11, 2009

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Flag of Uruguay  , Tacuarembo,
Monday, May 19, 2008

Ola Chikos! ... We have just finished the most amazing couple of days on the cowboy ranch - and wish that it had been longer! The ranch was called Panagea, and it is about one hour outside Tacuarembo, Uruguay. Juan Manuel and Susanna are the owners and they were just awesome. Heīs Uruguayan and sheīs actually Swiss!

When we arrived we were put into our rooms to get ourselves sorted out. It was early evening, so we got the run down for how everything works, had an excellent meal (we were warned that the food would be really ībasicī, but I tell you what, I wish we could eat that BASIC all the time! It was some of the best food weīve had in the last few weeks!) and then had a few vinos ... all before the 3 hours of electricity stopped at 10pm!

We got up at 7.30am, had breakfast, then got ready for a busy day on the ranch. First we learnt how to saddle our own horses, I had a lovely grey called Tordicio, and Ianīs horse was called Bocho. We all rode off with Juan Manuel & another gaucho to round up & bring in a herd of cattle. The dogs and the gauchos did most of the work, but weīd like to think that we did our bit ... you know, moving in front of a calf about to make a break and giving him the hairy eyeball til he rejoined the group!

We were back at the ranch by 12pm for for a bbq snag lunch. Once again, the food was pretty good (for basic!)

At 2pm we went to help with the cattle again. We had to separate the adult cattle from the calves, and then there were extra surprises for the poor calves! Rachel and I were personal assistants in the pen, separating them, then preparing and passing the instruments as they knackered and tagged the boys. I was in charge of reloading the rubberbands! Serious job!!! They were also branded ... but I just couldnīt get into that one.

Then we resaddled our horses again and took the cattle back to their paddock (some moving a little slower than others!)

After showering up (I've trodden in enough cow dung to last me a lifetime!), we had another great dinner and once again enjoyed the 3 hours of power over some Caprihinas and vino (Ian says itīs no mojito, but it will do!).

We were up at 8.30am on the last day. We had the option of walking to the main road, rather than waiting for the truck, so we walked. When we got in the truck, we had a three hour drive to a place called Salto. Basically itīs just a tourist town centred wholly around hot springs pools.

We had a nice dip, then Juan Manuel drpped us off at the bus station. We caught taxis from the bus station to the border. We cleared immigration, then back into the taxis to another bus station to catch our overnight bus to the Iguazu Falls ... we are back in Argentina ... but not for long!
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