Celebrating A Year

One year down! A whole year since my handsome husband and I officially tied the knot has flown by, and what a year it has been. From mid May of last year to this year I graduated, we got married, we moved a total of 5 times, we’ve flown internationally a total of 8 times, we’ve visited 6 cities or towns in Argentina, we’ve worked on our Spanish, and we’ve strengthened our relationship significantly. It’s amazing to think that only one year ago we were trekking around  Vietnam, stuffing our faces with street food. To celebrate the year and everything that filled it, we took a trip to a small town in the province of Buenos Aires called Tandil. We had heard so many good things about the area and the town and we decided it would be the perfect relaxing and romantic trip.

Tandil

Pardon the image (circa 1995). It’s the best one I could find with Tandil marked.

Tandil is located about 4-5 hours south of Buenos Aires, resting in the foothills of the Sierra mountain range. While the city is a lot bigger than I expected, just outside are huge sweeping fields and rolling mountains that give you the room to breath. A couple interesting facts about Tandil: In a country that is known as one of the beef capitals of the world, Tandil is one of the top producers of beef. They are also known for their stellar fiambres (the cured meats and cheeses) and, interestingly enough, for being the home to many of the top Argentine tennis stars like Juan Martin del Potro, who won the US Open in 2009. (A little side note: Jesse has convinced me that when we get a dog his or her name must be Juan Martin(a) del Perro. That guy cracks me up sometimes.)

We stayed at a beautiful and very traditional estancia just outside the city.  An estancia is like a ranch and a farm combined. Back in the day, estancias produced food and raised livestock and were managed by the gauchos or families that owned them. Nowadays with the changing economy in the country, most estancias have had to take on an additional source of income and most have transformed the homes attached to the estancias into hotels, resorts and spas or classic B&Bs. We’ve had so many recommendations to check them out and finally we had the chance!

We stayed and the really really lovely Estancia Ave Maria. The estancia itself grows some crops, mostly soybeans like most Argentine farms, and breeds cattle to sell. The house grows a lot of their own food and the rest they get from the local producers. So every meal from breakfast to tea to dinner is as fresh as it can be and all homemade, even the yogurt in the morning.

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The entrance to the estancia. The fields on the right and left are all soy bean, but they are letting the fields lay fallow for the year.

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The house. That’s Jesse sitting there catching up on his reading.

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Fall is slowly overtaking this tree.

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Pick a book, find a tree, and just relax.

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The back of the property has more crops and pathways.

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Rosemary bushes

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One of their vegetable patches.

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They have about 20 little citrus trees. One of the attendants who works in the hotel said we could take some fruit if we wanted. We kind of felt bad.

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All the wood and kindling comes from the trees on the grounds. They are constantly planting new trees. You can see these trees are stripped of some of their bark.

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There were some lovely rose bushes in this garden along with other flowers and some berries. I imagine in the summer its just beautiful.

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Our amazing room. I am in love! I always wanted a canopy bed. So cozy!

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Amazing little details in the room.

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When we got in on the first night it was about midnight and we were so freezing and tired. We walked into our room to see a roaring fire and the bed turned down. I think the estancia could have done anything after that and we would still have loved it. All the firewood was from the estancia and was readily available right outside our room.

Biking!

Our first day, we decided to take a little bike adventure on the hills around the estancia. Unfortunately Jesse’s bike had a flat tire so we couldn’t stay out long. But it was really beautiful.

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Leaving the estancia.

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Random building. Looks like it should be in Miami.

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Like Uribe, Tandil also has an agricultural school. This is the little store where you can buy fiambres. Bummer that it was closed.

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Poor guy trudging up the hills with a flat tire. 😦

El Centinela! 

There’s a really cool, but quite touristy, area pretty close to our estancia. It’s a really tall hill with different activities, stores, restaurants, artesanal products. It also has a ski lift that takes you to the highest point where you can look around the countryside and see the city of Tandil. After our biking adventure, we trekked over to el Centinela and we weren’t disappointed.

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Horses ready for a ride. Took a lot of restraint not to go hop on one. 🙂

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This is open in the summer but is a little scary. The pool at the bottom of the slides is quite small.

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Tandil in the distance.

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I spy a little owl!

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Horseback riding!

After a little rest, we decided to go horseback riding. The estancia has 12 horses and riding is included. You can go every day! (Surprise surprise, I did.)

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I don’t know who is more excited…

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He’s in heaven!

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My horse. He looks calm here, but he was a spit fire! I’ve never been on a horse so eager to run, but it took a lot of strength to hold him back. He wouldn’t let anyone get ahead of us and even just a little nudge from me would get him galloping. It was, in a word, wonderful. The 10 year old inside me was giggling with glee. Let’s be honest, the 28 year old in me was giggling with glee.

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I can’t believe I got him still for long enough to take a picture.

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The little doggies came with us around the grounds. This little guy here reminded me of my dog at home. He had soo much energy it was amazing. At one point he had jetted off halfway across a field to chase a rabbit. I don’t think he caught it, but he was very happy with the chase.

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A little R&R before dinner in front of the fire in the common room. Jesse watched the NBA playoffs and I knitted.

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Chilling on a sunday, reading on the terrace.

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We got some friends who joined us!


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Lunch of homemade savory tarts, fresh salad, and a chicken lasagna.

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Homemade fig ice cream made from figs grown on the grounds. Fig trees are kind of creepy looking btw.

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I took another horseback riding trip the next day. This horse was the opposite of my horse the previous day. It was almost impossible to get him into a trot even.

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But the gaucho took me to see their cows which was really cool.

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The horses were out in the pasture with the cattle. When we came, the cows started freaking out, but the horses came up to hang out with us.

A fact I learned. When the cows start mooing, they are calling for their young. Each cow has a slightly different moo and their calf knows their call and will come running.

Epoca de Quesos

Our last day in Tandil, on the way to the bus station, we stopped at a very well known restaurant in the city of Tandil. Epoca de Quesos has cured meats and cheeses from all around Tandil. It’s almost overwhelming. The restaurant is run out of an historic house that they’ve worked hard to preserve.

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Jesse is slightly taller than South Americans from the 1800s.

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Our lunch, with some salad. We had to pack half of it up for the trip.

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The chickens were eating their lunch next to us outside. I feel like this would 100% be some health code violation in the States. I loved it though!

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