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Trip Report MarnieWDC: BsAS Trip Report - 4th week

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Side Trip to SAN ANTONIO de ARECO & Estancia EL Ombu

We made internet reservations for 2 nights at PARADORES DRAGHI (triple room) and a day trip to ESTANCIA EL OMBU. The process was easy, they were responsive and efficient. We planned to take the inter-city bus both ways.

We were in a Taxi on the way to the Omnibus Sta. when we got stuck in the 'social problem' -apparently a strike by dock workers? So, Resilience and Patience and Calming DH about the money, I discusssed the problem with the Taxi driver, who had been very decent, and he checked with his company and gave us a reasonable range of price to take us all the way. He used the meter and added the tolls – we added a tip and it was ~ $300 AR. We probably would have done better with a planned Remis, but we were en route, already in a nice Taxi with air-conditioning and a friendly driver.....so, off we went to S A de Areco.

The Pampas is the plains, and kind of flat, but very green with lovely trees; much of the area reminded us of Maryland's folliage with weeping willows and variegated greens, quite lovely, actually. The trip took just a bit over an hour.

We arrived at the Paradores, located right on a small, green, town Plaza. The front rooms of the Paradores are the Draghi Silver Museum, a small but very lovely and interesting display of the kinds of gaucho silverworks historically and currently being made in the workshops at the rear of the first floor. Continuing out through the rear of this building you are in a charming garden with an inviting swimming pool, fountains, and comfortable lawn chairs. There are also small tables so that the homemade, continental breakfast can be taken in the garden. We had a triple room which was a small suite – everything is on one level so there were cross windows and doors. We had quite a confortable room; good bed, good lighting, good bath and a small living/kitchen area (this came in handy as when they say the town closes up between 1 and 4 they really mean it! The crackers and drinks in the fridge were most welcome.

The folks at the Paradores Draghi were professional and exceptionally accomodating. For example, we travelled without our passports - the copies were sufficient. The 2 nights, cost $ 440 pesos. I would definitely recommend it .
paradores@sanantoniodeareco.com

The town has a small-town feel: the people were friendly and the mood gently lively (this was a Thursday and Friday). There is a good Gaucho Museum in Areco Parque (along Areco River, with local folks fishing) a few minutes walk from the Plaza. Very low cost and quite a nice museum…we enjoyed it. (Take and dab on mosquito repellant). We had dinner at the Almacen which was excellent! Slept the sleep of Malbec!

The next morning we were picked up, as pre-arranged with our reservation, by a car from the Estancia El Ombu - reservas@estanciaelombu.com. We are so glad we took the advice of fellow TA enthusiaasts….what a great day! We arrived (it’s about 15 minutes from town) at this working cattle/horse ranch in a beautiful setting, and were given a brief tour and history. Then we selected a shady, charming spot for delicious Empanadas and drinks and were left on our own to roam the ranch, watch the gauchos working with the cattle, lassoing and herding with the help of their horses and sheep dogs. We strolled and watched and took in the sights and smells and sounds – and the sounds were so great: a real cacaphony of birds singing, cows mooing, goats and sheep bleating with sheep dogs barking their orders to the recalcitrant cows and the gauchos alternately whistling and shouting (barking?) too. All this amid the smells of cut grass and …those earthy, farmy odors.

Horseback-riding and or horse-pulled buggy rides followed for those who were interested. Others took walks, swam in the pool, etc. There were a few couples from Buenos Aires, and only one other couple from the US. We had a really very good Assada lunch – each at our own table – under the Ombu tree. The wine was bottled for them and was only a fair Malbec, but the food and atmosphere and service were fabulous. Do we have to leave? ( I always wanted to be a cowgirl…are there cow older ladies?) What a change from the hustle and hubris of the city.

We did take the Chevallier bus back to BsAs. The Paradores staff made a reservation, and we walked to the tiny station. A search on TA will provided links for Long Distance Bus Reviews. The trip took about 1 ½ hours.

Ah, home again in Buenos Aires…that’s how it felt. Now it was Saturday and we made telephone reservations for the same evening for OPERA PAMPA. www.operapampa.com
We took a collectivo to Palermo and La Rural field on Sarmiento. We were welcomed into the barn like, mini-museum/restaurant with empanadas and wine where we took advantage of TA advice and read the libretto, in English, before the show.

We sat in outside, bleacher seats as it got dark and saw the terriffically entertaining show: the early history of Argentina in folkloric song, dance, and dramatization – just great! – and the equestrian feats and frolics were astounding. This was followed (if one opted for the show & dinner) by a pretty darn good salad bar and Assado with wine flowing liberally.
Sunday was drizzly but we walked to the feria at Recoleta (leaving soon – got to think about presents) and bought up some nice craft jewelry etc. as the vendors, trying to protect their goods from the drizzle – now a downpour- covered up. I was an efficient machine, according to DH, and managed to get some nice stuff. Happily for the recipients, we had already bought great belts and some silver in S A de Areco, and bags in San Telmo.

Monday was a sunny day; we went to Puerto Madero and walked around, had a drink by the Puente de la Mujer and walked to Plaza de Majo and then to the Café Tortonni for tickets to Tuesday’s Tango Show. We took a taxi to El Ateneo to learn the horario for their evening music (from 6:30 PM) and had coffee - shared a sweet..

Dinner Monday night at MELO. Tres Bon! We had an excellent, Norton Malbec DOC. We shared Rabas (perfectly and lightly fired calamari) and a salad. DH had delectable, home-made pasta with 4 cheese sauce and I (OK I admit it, I am boring!- I had risotto with funghi – again). But boring can be good, and this risotto was so much better than good!!!

Tuesday we went to the Recoleta Design Center which really makes one want to have a house here to decorate. Strolled to El Sanjuanino for a light lunch and home to relax before taking the collectivo to Plaza de Mayo for the Tango show downstairs in Café Tortonni . There we found small tables crowded into a cellar room (charming and not smokey) where a performance of story, song, dance, comedy and Tango where a really good, live 4-piece music group accompanied the players. I am sure we would have enjoyed the drama/comedy more if we had understood it, but we had fun and it was entertaining and good quality.

Wednesday and it is raining again – feels like tears for our near departure. Tonight we will go to hear music at El Ateneo Book Store – maybe a walk to Casa Museo Carlos Gardel first.

The last part of my trip report will come from WDC :- (

~Marnie

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