Estancia El Ombu de Areco

We spent two nights at the estancia. From when you check in to when you are leave, you are welcomed with beautiful bird sounds and miles and miles of farm land. The estancia was built in the late 1800’s by an Italian. It was bought in the 1930’s and has been in the family ever since. In the early 1990’s, they decided to be one of the first estancia’s to welcome tourists in Argentina.

You are welcomed by about 10 dogs, shown around and given some empanadas. There are so many dogs that I always feel like there is a dog I haven’t seen yet. They serve lunch around 1:30 in a traditional Argentian asado (or bbq), served by gauchos. I thought I should try every meat for the first lunch and that was a mistake. I was so full from lunch. After lunch, they do some folk music and dances. They offer the guests two hour and half horse rides everyday, one in the morning and one after the dances. The night is capped off with dinner around 8. I was very full the first day so I learned how to pace myself the second day.

I was able to ride horses in the morning and afternoon today. The rides were led by the gauchos. The first horse I had was very content to just follow the pack as long as we were in the back. The second horse I had was complete opposite and had to be in the front. Both were nice horses but I can now say that I’m sore after 3 hours of horse riding. It has been so fun seeing so many different birds here. They have over 30 different species of birds here. My favorite is the pretty green bird that reminds me of a parrot. They are all too quick to get a picture of though.

On way to the estancia

After two nights in Buenos Aires, we had a driver take us an hour and half to an estancia. Estancia is a large ranch. We are staying at estancia that is still a working ranch with different crops, cattle, sheep and chickens. They also have 70 horses that roam the pastures.

The drive was pretty easy since we just got to enjoy the scenery. I was very happy that on the way out of Buenos Aires, it took us by where one of the major soccer teams in Argentina plays (River Plate). I just had to get a picture from as we drove by 🙂

The rest of the ride was mainly farm land. The last 3 miles is down a dirt road that was very bumpy. When it rains, they have a hard time accessing the estancia. After it rains, they need to use special trucks to get the guests in and out. On this day, we did not need one.

Buenos Aires Sights

I could look at trees for a long time in Buenos Aires. I think I have more pictures of a single tree that probably anything else. They are called rubber trees or Gomero in Spanish. They grow up and then the branches will naturally reach for the ground and then keep growing up. They don’t need support but they have added support in places so they can still use space in the parks.

I have also noticed how much they care for their dogs here. There are plenty of dog parks and dog walkers around. I haven’t seen any stray dogs. Here are some miscellaneous pictures for our tour today. When we were at one plaza, they were raising the flag and opening the memorial for all of the lives lost during the Malvinas war (Falkland Islands). (They don’t refer to the islands as Falkland in Argentina.). A couple was also doing the tango in the middle of a park.

Buenos Aires – Cemetery

Our tour ended at the La Recoleta Cemetery which contains over 4,000 vaults. The cemetery is built like a city in that it is contains rows of vaults and tree lined walk ways. It contains some graves of Argentina’s notable people including a past president. Most of the vaults were very well taken care of but some could use a lot of work. The cemetery is often named one of the best in the world and it was definitely worth seeing. A lot of the material that was used in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s were materials from Italy and France.

Architecture of Buenos Aires

I have to keep reminding myself that I’m in South America and not Europe. We did a walking tour of Buenos Aires and a lot of their buildings are very similar to what you would see in Europe. We only saw a fraction of Buenos Aires but I was very impressed by how walkable the city was. Our tour guide was very good and spoke perfect English. There was about 50 people in our group which I think would be hard to keep everyone together. Especially when you try crossing the worlds widest avenue in the world. At one point we crossed 20 lanes of traffic. They say it is hard to make it all the way across at one time so you do have to wait awhile for lights to change again.

We learned a lot about Malvinas (Falkland Islands) and the war between Argentina and UK. The guide also taught us about the history of Argentina and how their currency is fluctuating a lot right now.

Since they have a lot of European influence here, there is a lot of pizza and pasta. Italians were actually the largest group of immigrants here from Europe after World War II. The walking tour was around 3 and half hours, however it wasn’t really spent walking as much as listening to a lot of information.

Argentina Bound

After a cold February, I’m very excited to head to South America for the first time. After looking at a lot of different countries to visit, Argentina was the winner. Of course it probably is the furthest away. It is an overnight flight on the way there and the way home. I’m sure I will be plenty tired since I don’t sleep on planes.

I’m excited to experience a new culture that offers so many different options. From water falls to glaciers to horse riding, I know I will see a lot. Oh and there is the large capital Buenos Aires to explore. It will be a busy two weeks with lots of travel and I’m just hoping for good WiFi so I can post as I go.

We are visiting four different cities but have to fly to get to three of them. This is one of the first times I haven’t really had a car to drive everywhere.

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Iceland

We spent today visiting some sights outside of Reykjavík.  Since it was such beautiful weather (I wish I wore shorts) I thought I would post some pictures.  We had great weather although we did see some rain clouds in the distance.  We were lucky and had sun the entire time we were out.  Pretty sure I even saw a whale this morning in the bay as we walked to our car.

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Last Stop in Ireland

We made it to Kilkenny for our last night in Ireland.  Kilkenny is about 2 hours from Dublin so it was a perfect stop for the night before driving to the airport.  The town was bigger than I anticipated but it was nice to walk around.  I climbed a tower at one of the churches to get a view.  I was expecting a spiral staircase but it was basically a ladder that you had to hold on to a bar to get up and down.  It did make for a good view at the top.

We will be stopping in Iceland for 2 nights before heading home.  I’m looking forward to a little warmer weather 🙂  Ireland was beautiful and scenic.  I highly recommend Ireland to anyone who likes cooler weather and countryside.

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The Rock of Cashel

We stopped in Cashel on our way to Kilkenny.  We visited the rock of Cashel which contained a large church and watch tower on top of the rock.  The oldest of the buildings is the round tower which is from around 1100.  We had a great tour guide who helped explain everything and was very knowledgeable.  Some of the tower blew over in a hurricane in the 1700’s.  The pieces that fell were actually sent to America where a priest built a church out of the stone.  The roof was removed to avoid a roof tax in the 1700’s.  They used the pieces of the roof to help build a new church in town.

They found the original chalice that was used down a well as well as an infant that passed away.  They still use the original chalice today in the church in town.  The graveyard around the church is very old but they just recently had a burial there around the 5 weeks ago.  There are only 2 people left living in town that can be buried there.

We were lucky and had good weather to visit.  I have heard that it is very windy there since it is on top of a hill.

 

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Cobh & Cork

We did a day trip to Cobh and Cork.  Cobh is the port town where the Titanic last stoppped before heading out to sea.  Cobh was actually called Queenstown back when the Titanic left.  We went to the Titanic museum and saw the wood from the old port where passengers would have gotten on a small boat to take them out to the Titanic.  You are giving a ticket that a passenenger would have received when boarding the ship with a name on it.  I received a ticket for a 29 year old female traveling on 3rd class.  At the end of the museum, you look at a board to see if you were saved or lost.  I was one of the lucky 3rd class passengers to survive.

We stopped at Cork on the way back.  Cork is Ireland’s second largest city behind Dublin. It was a nice quick stop but I am happy we aren’t staying in the city.  I generally prefer the smaller towns to the larger cities.  We did go to the Butter Museum to learn about how Ireland exports a lot of butter.  We also learned how Cork has changed over time and it actually used to be a larger harbor but they have infilled it to make a bigger city.

Here are pictures of Cobh.  They had a beautiful large church that was overlooking the town below.

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Cork: