It is wonderful to be staying in the same hotel in the same town for six nights. It means a lot of free time to enjoy just what you want in this town, even if it is drinking a glass of wine on the town square and watching the world go by!
We had a free morning and then loaded up our van and led by Juan Gibelli we arrived at the Gaucho Festival (just on the edge of town in a very large open space) along with hundreds and hundreds of other people! We first saw the “broncos” (young horses saddled and rode for the first time) and then it was amazing to watch 65 tropiollos enter the arena (each “tropiollo” had at least 8 horses and sometimes up to 16, with a gaucho riding a horse and leading the “bell mare”. All the other young horses-of similar coloring=follow that mare). So we estimated that there were approx. 650 horses in the arena, most of which were loose! Once all in there was a wild ride about trying to mix up the horses and see which could come back together the quickest.
Bear in mind that while all these horses were in the arena, they had actually had to be brought in and taken out again into the staging area with all the cars, trucks, and people milling about. Quite a seen!
This event is totally unique and worth the trip to Argentina. Tomorrow all the gauchos and horses take part in the parade through the town of Areco to the delight of thousands of spectators.
We were joined last evening by our friend (CAA member) Prudencio Hernandez and we all enjoyed a lively evening in a restaurant very near to our hotel. We are getting (finally) into the swing of things here and left the restaurant at 11 pm having had another great meal!
After a lovely leisurely morning in our hotel (with many laughs over breakfast), we all left on our bus with our able drive Leandro for a short trip north of town to the estancia La Victoria.
We knew the mile marker for the location of the estancia and had been told that the road in front is under construction, but the gate we entered by was into a field full of sheep. Unsure we were in the right place (??) we ventured on and saw a small house (turns out we were right and the house was the estancia managers) so we drove through his yard and beyond and eventually found our host Diego Perazzo waiting for us. (The main entrance is blocked at the moment due to the road construction, so we did not make a “wrong” entrance!!)
The fire was going ready for the barbecue and four super Criollo horses (Argentine breed) had been brought in from the field and tied up for us to see. They were great looking horses. Diego was pleased to tell us all about the breed and his estancia and eventually we made our way to the carriage house and enjoyed some refreshments before seeing the vehicles. The weather has been nice for us our entire stay, but today was exceptional with sun and a cool breeze and some lovely fresh air. We all sat while enjoying some wine or beer and gazed over the fields.
Diego showed us his collection and then we all joined Diego on the long table under the overhang beside the carriage house and (thoroughly) enjoyed a barbecue lunch. Diego told my sister, Elizabeth, and I about having read our father’s book ‘On the Box Seat’ (many years ago it had been translated into Spanish) and he produced the book with its well worn pages for Elizabeth and I to sign.
Two carriages were then prepared for us to go driving around the estancia and we finished the day with some light refreshments (there is a theme herre – food and carriages!!) and made our way back to our hotel leaving 7 hours after we had arrived.
Everyone says each day “we cannot top that” and each day we have a new and delightful adventure, seeing new sights and making new friends.
After a leisurely breakfast in the charming and sunny courtyard of our hotel in Areco, we met up at 11 am for a 45 minute drive to Juan Gibelli’s estancia. The sun was shining as our bus pulled into a lay-by to be met by three carriages all put to with pairs! We drove the rest of the way down the dirt road to the estancia, passing by the main house and out into a field and to our surprise there was a Chata waiting to greet us and lead us back to the house. What a wonderful surprise and sight to see a Chata put to with horses and driven by what looked like “a man from the past!” (Go to the CAA Facebook page for lots of photos from today and all our other days.)
After alighting from the vehicles we all had to closely inspect the huge Chata and marvel and the horses and harnessing of it before it moved off and was put away and the horses were turned out for a well deserved rest.
We all then had the chance to browse the large and most interesting carriage collection and then gather in Juan’s house for empanadas and drinks. Hours past as we chatted and laughed and enjoyed the day, finally leaving for Areco at 5ish.
Back to our hotel for a siesta (it is extremely hard work enjoying yourself!) before meeting up at 8 pm to attend an exhibition opening of leather work at the museum conveniently just next door to our hotel. After that we enjoyed a lively dinner at a local restaurant and returned to the hotel at 11 pm (we are finally getting into the Argentine time of eating!!)