Away from the city and the chaos lies land full of history and culture in a setting so relaxing and natural. Estancia Don Silvano, a ranch located in the rural region of the Pampas, blessed us with a day full of food, music, and animals. The beauty of the exotic and native plants, such as the Ombú bush (not tree!) and free-roaming birds made it feel like we were in another world. We were able to spend just spend time to take it all in and explore the land under a sunny, warm autumn day.
The ranch offers a hotel service for accommodations during a peaceful stay. The meals were mouthwatering, including moist empanadas, every type of meat you could think of, and I finally was able to try mate tea. I enjoyed it all. Lunch was served during a show, with a very gifted singer and guitarist who sang a variety of native songs as well as selections from all over the world representing the diversity of the groups visiting. Talented dancers also accompanied, featuring the famous Tango Milonga dance and a quick fun lesson.
Part of Argentinian culture is the history of the gaucho, which is similar to the American cowboy. They wear unique clothing and are rugged as they survive from the farm. A couple of them put on a show for us, participating in competitive games on their horses like a course race and a lasso of a (fake) bird. My favorite was a game designed to compete for a wife. The guacho would quickly ride on the horse and try to capture a small ring with their sticks hanging from a board. You could tell they have had much practice because they only missed a few times. Once they captured the ring, they would choose a lady from the audience, and after a kiss, would give her the ring, as to say “marry me.” Then if she already had a husband or boyfriend, the significant-other would have to kiss the horse in order to win her back. While it may have been an edit from the true custom, I was amazed and almost hoping a wedding would be in my near future here at the ranch with one of the gaucho.
The cultural experiences of this trip have been so fun and interesting to explore. There is so much rich history in the large country that even driving an hour outside of the city was so different and slower paced. I could get used to Sundays like this. Today is also Mother’s Day, and my time on the ranch today reminded me of my mom back home who would have greatly appreciated the pace and peacefulness. As an artist and interior decorator, she would have also loved to see the unique features of the old buildings and surrounding gardens.
If you are looking to learn, immerse, and appreciate a unique and fascinating industry and culture that resides in a beautiful country, then Plus3 Argentina is for you. Between the healthcare site visits, neighborhood walking tours, museums, restaurants, shopping, and cultural experiences, I feel like I have become a different person who not only knows so much more but is able to appreciate it all so much more. Hopefully, my Spanish continues to improve as well. ¡Hasta mañana!