There are 150,00 gauchos in Argentina who hunt and herd cattle. Their romanticised lifestyle has turned them into folklore heroes like the American cowboys. To find a real life gaucho you have to visit an estancias or ranch.
The Gaucho Ranch
Luckily this is easy to arrange not far out of the city. So we set of to see the gaucho lifestyle. How authentic the gauchos were I’m not sure, they seemed too handsome and well dressed to be real, but never mind it was fun!
They dress in a boina or beret and wear wide legged pants held up by a wide decorative belt . Our gauchos had black polished boots and they wore a silk scarf or panuelo.
We had a traditional outdoor Argentinian lunch – a parillada or barbecue. This consisted of huge amounts of meat – beef, sausages and a pig roast with chimichurri, a green salsa made with parsley and chilli flakes. This was followed by another famous Argentinian dish – ice cream covered in dulce de leche. You can buy this sauce in all the tourist shops as a souvenir.It’s made from condensed milk cooked until it turns into caramel. It is delicious but incredibly sweet and sickly. We did take some home but a little goes a long way.
Next was a display of horsemanship. To me just being able to get on a horse without help is a skill that defeats me so I’m easily impressed.
Then there was dancing – not really my thing but I was left with little choice,
I get a gaucho to myself and I’m falling over my own feet! JP did considerably better.
Walking Round La Recoleta
Once we were back in the city there was one more thing we had to see. La Recoleta , the public cemetery in Buenos Aires. Strangely there is a top ten of cemeteries in the world and this one makes it onto the list. Many of the tombs are national historic monuments. The place is huge with 6,400 tombs on 13.5 acres. Of course, as usual, we got lost. The narrow alleys are confusing, even with a map, so we couldn’t find Eva Peron but it was an interesting end to the day.