Sunday – Today was the last day of our Tauck Patagonia Tour. Once again, our awesome tour director, Marcos, had a full day planned for us. Again, the weather was great (if a bit warm) so we were able to experience everything the Tauck team had planned. For a last day, it was magical in all respects!
We started out by heading to the countryside outside of Buenos Aires. Our first (non-technical) stop was at the Draghi family silversmith’s museum and shop in San Antonio de Areco. We watched a video on the importance of silver to the gauchos and listened to Mariano, the current lead family artisan on the meanings he imparted to his exquisitely detailed silver work. He was very passionate about his work and the message behind the art.
We then headed to Estancia La Bamba in the Areco countryside for a day full of traditional Argentine cuisine and culture. The estancia is a former ranch which now operates as a hotel and center for showcasing gaucho traditions. I believe they also raise and train polo ponies at the facility. When we arrived, the welcome team from the estancia was all lined up to greet us with cool towels and a chilled glass of wine, along with meat & cheese snacks called”picalitas”.
We were then taken to a huge outside open air dining hall filled with long tables. The La Bamba team had prepared an immense and delicious traditional asado meal, featuring grilled steak, sausages, ribs, pork and veggies, which were grilled before our eyes. Naturally, the meal was paired with some great Argentine wines! Our meal was capped off with a killer dessert of crepes filled with dulce de lechwe, seared with a branding iron and topped with vanilla ice cream. As Meredith would say, ” Nom! Nom! Nom!”
Our afternoon at La Bamba was completed with an authentic demonstration of gaucho horseback riding skills. These guys rode like Valkeries or the knights at the Medieval Times show. After they finished, it was time to board the bus for our ride back to BA. After the huge meat-fest, it was good to be able to nap for over an hour on the ride back. Especially since our day was not yet done!
To conclude our great tour, we had a reception with our Tauck tour “peeps”, and then headed off to a late dinner and a tango show at Gala Tango. It was a tremendous demonstration of the art and music of tango and the costumes were incredible!!!
Then we said our fond farewells to our terrific traveling companions, and crept off to bed. A quick word just to acknowledge how great this group was. We thoroughly enjoyed everyone’s company, and would consider many of them friends after our shared adventures. Once we return to California, we welcome them to come visit, or at least, to let us know when we might get together again for another tour! Buen Viaje, our friends!
Tomorrow, Montevideo, Uruguay!