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 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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.