Estancia El Cencerro – www.estanciaelcencerro.com.ar
After a routine 9 ½ hour flight we arrived in Buenos Aires. Lilli and Edwardo, the owners of the estancia were waiting to pick us up. After a about an hour ride we arrived at their home/estancia, a modest home with all the trappings of an authentic Argentinean home. It’s fall here so the leaves are changing color, the air is crisp and cool and as you walk into the house you are welcomed with fireplaces and the smell of a house warmed by wood.
Lilli and Edwardo welcomed us like we were old friends. After a cup of coffee we saddled up a couple of horses and Javier showed us around the property. Javier is a 16 year old who wanted to show us his riding skills as he turned around and rode the horse backwards and then showed us how he could stand on top of the horse. It was fun to watch this young Argentinean try to impress a couple of gringos.
After a wonderful lunch that included barbecue, vegetables, empanadas, and some vino we took a short nap and then walked into town, Capilla del Senor (Chapel of the Lord).
It was really neat to walk around a small, non-touristy Argentinean town and soak in the culture. It also gave me a chance to use my Spanglish to attempt to communicate. After a bit of shopping we decide to sit down and have a cerveza and take a taxi back to the estancia.
As we sat and drank our afternoon cocktails darkness set in and a car drives up someone jumps out and we realize that Edwardo got worried when it got dark and went out looking for us, wow. Lilli’s cooking is excellent and dinner was more of the same, a salad, some eggplant parmagian and a little more vino. The next morning as we got up, breakfast was ready and the horses were saddled, Javier took us out again for a morning ride. Then it was off to Buenos Aires.
If you are looking for a real cultural experience where you are invited into a ranch home, with a personal touch and great home cooking, then book your reservation now but
if you are looking for the Sheraton or the Ritz, then the Estancia El Cencerro is not your place.
The apartment that we are staying in we arranged through homeexchange.com. It is a very nice 2 br apartment on the 17th floor just north of Recoleta. They have a concierge service that will arrange drivers, reservations and tickets to events. It also has a phone that you can call the US for no charge and a cell phone that you can carry around with you. Very cool. Check out BA Apartments, www.apartmentsba.com if you want an experience different then just the standard hotel.
The first stop for us was the Recoleta cemetery where Eva Peron was buried. The cemetery is like no other cemetery I have ever seen. Huge mausoleums with ornate statues, stained glass and other adornments to celebrate the lives of their departed loved ones. It is obvious that the wealth Argentineans take care of their dead. Most of the mausoleums have a locked door with some sort of alter and you can see the caskets sometimes two or three stacked on shelves. Most had a stairway that went underneath the tomb. I have no idea what was downstairs. A little creepy but pretty cool.
Lou and I picked a nice restaurant around the corner and I had my first taste of Argentinean beef. It was delicious. The restaurant called Oviedo and is at 1425 Capital Federal St. The cost for a bottle of wine, one split appetizer and one split meal was about $50. The bartender was a huge help in hooking us up for a local tango place called La Cumparsita Tango Bar in San Telmo.
This was an interesting adventure, the owner would belt out a few songs in Spanish accompanied by a keyboard, accordion and bass player. Then a tango couple would come and do a tango dance and then grab some patrons to test their tango skills. Note, I have no tango skills but got grabbed nonetheless. I did my best as I butchered what is a very sensual and beautiful dance. I felt like El Gordo Hombre trying to dance with Ginger Rogers, not very pretty. This place charged $35 cover which included two mixed drinks or a bottle of wine. This was fun and had the local flare and was quite a bit cheaper than the tango shows which run about $100 for dinner and the show. It was a cool way to end the night.
We got up this morning and started walking and walked a good bit around the city. It seems like everybody in Buenos Aires owns a dog. In fact a whole industry has sprung up for dog walkers in the city. You will see someone walking down the street with 8 to 10 dogs on leashes. Hmmm I never thought about becoming a professional dog walker.
The people of Buenos Aires are very friendly. We have asked directions and had people walk us part of the way we were going to make sure we found our way, one lady walked up to me and warned me not to keep my camera exposed, the guy in the quick store helped me load our cell phone and one lady helped us when the waiter couldn’t understand my wonderful Spanish and then asked us to join her and her husband. Pretty neat. We ducked into a bakery just as they were pulling the empanadas out of the oven so we had to try a fresh hot empanada. Again a helpful Argentinean helped us select the perfect pastry, Mmmmmm.
This afternoon it is off to watch a futbol game. I can’t wait…..