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Day 26-28- Estancia El Umbu de Areco-Argentina Pampas
On the final leg of our trip we spend three days at Estancia El Umbu de Areco in the Argentine pampas. This is a colonial-style mansion and working ranch dating back to the 1800's. With only 9 rooms, it is now a secluded tourist destination to ride and enjoy rural Argentina.
Eva Boelcke's family has owned the Estancia since 1934. She often stays at her house in town by comes to the Estancia several times a week. It's easy to know when she is here…she arrives with her car loaded with the stray dogs she has adopted into her "city" family. She brought about six the days we saw her.
We are seated immediately beneath the ancient Umbu tree and served empanadas and wine. This tree dates from 1806. Umbus are native to the pampas and have a large umbrella shape. Gauchos could see them in the distance and would seek them out as shelter from the sun and rain.
Within an hour we are on horseback.
Led by the 66 year old Oscar Periera, who comes from a San Antonio de Areco's legendary gaucho family, we ride into the pampas.
We arrive back at the Estancia in time for lunch. This is a hearty meal of all-you-can eat and drink of their own grilled beef and sheep, vegetables and their own house wine. They have their own organic garden and the meat is cooked slowly in an open fire pit. The aroma at lunchtime is WOW.
The first day we ate in the indoor lunch area. After lunch we have a great surprise--Oscar joins us with his guitar.
He serendades us.
We ride several times each day. Just head for the stables--very unstructured. Riding on the land is magical.
And we see some interesting birds...the burrowing owls sometimes line up on the fence posts.
And the fields are often filled with Campo Flickers that take flight as we approach.
We also meet the flickers' near-relatives, the golden breasted woodpeckers.
Touring the old Estancia is fun...this old well was probably the water source for main house in the 1800's.
The old "parlor" is now a sitting/game room for guests.
One day we had lunch on the outside veranda.
We also had lunch under the trees. (Fortunately, dinner was a bit lighter or we would have left much heavier!)
We found the estancia is a lunchtime tourist destination, so they make the midday meal quite a show. Oscar always sings.
And everyday the gauchos perform with their horses. These men spend their lives in the saddle. They can pick out horses with specific compliant natures and train them to do amazing things.
Our last night we are treated to a full moon...
And a hard-to-see Southern Cross--the upside down kite just above the tree. Tomorrow we head back to the US and try to absorb all we've seen and done as we re-enter our everyday lives.
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