Monica and Nick's World Adventure travel blog

Monica prepares to round up the cattle

Our Gaucho. His horse had been drinking far too much.....

El Ombu - the tree that the Estancia is named after

********** Happy Christmas ! Godt Jul ! Feliz Navidad ! **************

We arrived at the Estancia early to make the most of our visit. The Estancia is about an hour an a half outside Buenos Aires near the town of San Antonio de Areco. They gave us breakfast and then unfortunately let us know that they had overbooked and that our room for the first night was a five minute car ride down a dirt track. We were not happy...... until they gave us the first night for half price, happy again !!

We moved rooms to the main Estancia on the 24th in the morning. The room was huge, an old mansion style room with high ceiling made of dark wood, big double bed and wooden floor.

The Estancia was amazing. Acres and acres of land, old Mansion buildings, two swimming pools (quite small), pool table, table tennis table, and lots and lots of horses !

We spent three and a half days on the Estancia and they went something like this:

- Get up and have breakfast (hot croissants, bread, jam, cheese and ham, filtered coffee and orange juice)

- Go out to the stables and wait for the first ride of the day. The Gauchos busy themselves with preparing the horses and then you just jump on. The rides last for 1 - 2 hours. We walked, trotted and cantored, and at times galloped (while clinging on to the horse for dear life..... no helmet or any other protection was provided !!!). Selection of horses was critical, there were slow follower horses and then through varying stages up to mad, moody, up for it horses that galloped at any opportunity, like Monica's favourite horse Spark. Nick's favourite horse (Lunar) was the moody one, which would kick and bite other horses near it.

- At about 1pm Empanadas were served (pastry filled with fresh beef and gravy) as a pre lunch snack. A beer/ sprite usually accompanied this.

- At 2pm the main lunch, bbq (parilla as it is known in Argentina). This consisted of blood sausage, salads, and as much Steak, Pork, Lamb and Chicken as you could eat, all straight off the grill. It was a truely amazing experience !!!

All drinks were free (wines, beer, spirits, soft drinks, water...), so we started on the white wine which was average and swapped to the red wine. By the end Monica was loving the red wine as well !

- The afternoon was nap time, or sitting by the pool time if the weather allowed, or playing table tennis.

- There was another ride late afternoon. By the end we had tried many different horses and hurt our butts and legs on every single one !!! Some of the more memorable rides were when the kids were riding with us. We passed through many fields with cows and bulls in and at every opportunity they would go charging off trying to round up them all up. We would be with them rounding up the stray cows as we couldn't quite keep up with them all of the time !!

- Dinner was served at 9pm and was a lighter meal, but still extremely good. On christmas eve a buffet table was laid and we were all given presents from the owner. We were also given champagne after the meal. One of the other families who were there had brought fireworks, so at about 11pm we set out and had a firework display. After a slightly dodgy start (they stuck the first rocket into the ground too deep and the firework exploded at ground level as we all dived for cover !!!) we managed to have a good display.

The staff were excellent and whatever we wanted all we had to do was pop our heads into the kitchen and ask. Naturally, as everything was free we made the most out of it and ate and drank far too much !!!! We were also introduced to a new after dinner drink called Limoncella which is a strong alcoholic 'shot' (vodka mixed with lemon).

At the end we were sad to leave, and stayed as long as possible, grabbing a last lunch before we left. However, after all the horse riding our bodies were telling us that we needed a rest.


** A big thanks to our famillies as this was a christmas present from them all **


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