San Antanio de Areco
Trip Start Jan 09, 2007
22Trip End Feb 01, 2007
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I was seated next to a couple from New York who just arrived in the city a day ago. They were very nice and we chatted off and on throughout the evening. Its clear that they did not do any research before arriving. They seemed to be full of questions.
I have to say, if there is one thing that makes me happy is a good meal. And well, I got everything I wanted in life last night. The waiter recommended a nice Argentinean Malbec wine and served bread with a ricotta cheese spread (instead of butter).
So my meal came and I was blown away with what was served. First of there 12 side dishes served in little dishes. There were potatoes, squash, apple sauce, roasted garlic, wild mushrooms, and whole bunch of other yummy items.
Then the steak itself was amazing. I swear it was half a cow! It was cooked perfectly (medium rare) and devoured every piece of it. I made a serious dent in all of the side dishes but couldn't finish them. Together with the wine, I think it was one of the best steak dinners I have ever had! To top it all off, they bring the bill with a complimentary glass of Champaign. Fantastic!
Today's adventure is another short day trip to a small town called San Antanio de Areco. This town is famous for the gaucho cowboys. It is an hour bus ride out of the city. The bus is very comfortable. My seat folds down into a bed!
So I get to the town, jump off the bus and look around... There is nothing. All I see is a boarded up building that has a tourism info sign and a rusty sign which says that is a museum ahead. All I can think about is "what the hell have I done". Clearly the lonely planet was out of date. This looks like a dead one horse town!
So, I follow the road to a museum. After walking for 15 minutes, I came across a little restaurant called Café de los Artes and stopped to have something to eat. I walk though the door and an old man with thick glasses rushes up to me. He looks at me and says "You look hungry!". I was surprised that he greeted me in English. I asked him how he knew that I was English, and he said I look American. I politely corrected him and he laughed.
Then from behind me a girl said " would you like to join us". I turned around there were 2 girls sitting at the table. I accepted their initiation and sat down. The girls were Alyssa from New York and Ally from London. Alyssa is here for 6 months working with Habitat for Humanity and Ally is traveling around Argentina for a couple of months.
We ordered a bottle of wine and had a lovely lunch! I explained to the girls my disappointment when I got off the bus about being mislead by the lonely planet. Ally calls the book the "lying planet". I see her point.
After lunch the girls invited me to join them for the afternoon. There wasn't much going on in this town, so I was happy to have the company. We walked along this road for a bit and found a guy renting horses. So we each rented a horse for an hour which only cost 8 pesos each. The horses were rather stubborn and did not take direction well. While I am not equestrian material, I do make a good passenger for a strong willed horse.
After horseback riding he walked along the river and found a boy who was renting canoes. For 25 pesos he gave us a canoe and life jackets. When he asked us if we needed instruction, I cockily said, "I am Canadian.... We invented these things". So we headed out. Well, I think I missed Canoe Day in Physed class as a kid. I for the life of me couldn't steer the boat. We zig- zaged back and forth across the river. On the banks of the river there were Argentineans sunbathing and watching us and laughing. At one point we even hit the river bank in a bend that I couldn't get us around. In the end, it was good fun though and we didn't tip over. I have no pictures because I was scared to take my camera in case the canoe tipped.
After canoeing, there was an hour before the bus left, so we went to a café. I has what is called a "subteranno" which is hot milk served with a chocolate piece. You drop the chocolate into the milk, stir and voila... you have hot chocolate!
So now its 8pm and I am on a bus heading back to Buenos Aries. I am sitting beside a girl who is listening to Celine Dion on where CD walkman. She has those old 80's style headphones that you can hear the music. Too funny. The bus is freezing cold. With regard to air conditioning, it is all or nothing...no happy room temperature.
Overall it has been a great day. At one point it looked like the day had gone off the rails, but it turned out to be fantastic! You never know what can happen.