Emily came to visit and we did lots of fun and exciting things like eating steak, and eating ice cream, and eating Peruvian ceviche, and eating facturas, and eating empanadas, and looking at lots of museums and having fun exploring the city despite a bit of rain. We went to visit Estancia Santa Rita, about two hours outside of the city in Buenos Aires Province. In the summertime estancias are a common way for middle-class Porteños to spend a day or a weekend in the sunshine and fresh air, riding horses or lounging by the pool. There is a crowd of Estancias all around the city, and most are still working ranches, as well as weekend destinations for city-dwellers and tourists. Buenos Aires and its residents seem to really celebrate horses and gaucho culture. In addition to riding, the estancias offer colonial architecture (sometimes overnight accomodations), beautiful lawns and walking paths around the grounds, and tasty asado (traditional Argentinian feasts of grilled meat).
Estancia Santa Rita was built in 1790; another guest told us that the current owner is an architect and together with his creative wife and daughters, he made some fanciful renovations and additions in the past 15 years, resulting in the sort of art-nouveau-castle pink tower complete with swirls and mythical sylvan statues decorating the outside. The result is a little bit silly and weird but I admire the creative spirit that went into it. There seems to be some construction going on to one side of the house, so I guess more imaginative additions are coming soon.
We shared the estate with just six other ladies, all visiting from either New York or London. We enjoyed such ladylike activities as eating super tasty meals of home-grown meats and roasted vegetables, wandering the lawns and gardens in front of the pink castle, lounging about drinking wine or tea, riding horses, knitting and reading by the fireside. The paths were pretty muddy and the mosquitos were ferocious so we didn’t go for a hike in the woods but we did get to see the grounds on horseback. I’d never been on a horse before and it was fun! My horse knew that I wasn’t really in charge of him so he kept trying to wander off and munch on tasty bushes and trees, but he was otherwise a nice relaxed fellow and it was not scary at all and our rides were really the highlight of the trip. It was a very girly, deluxe way to spend a few days, and sauntering around the pampas on a horse made me feel like a little Argentinian gaucha.