After much anticipation and a bus delay in the morning, we made it to San Antonio de Areco for the Dia de la Tradicion. This town is in the center of the ranch (estancia) and cowboy (gaucho) area of Argentina, las Pampas. We had been there last year, on a regular day in March. It was a sleepy little town; pretty but not much to do. During this festival, however, it draws gauchos from all over the county with their horses, families and many spectators. We arrived at midday and walked to the center of town, in time to see most of the parade of gauchos and horses. It went on for at least 2 hours. The gauchos were of all ages from little boys of 2 or 3, some on their own large horse, to older men.
There were a few female gauchos (gauchas?); but mostly the females were young and rode with a Gaucho. The horses were beautiful and we enjoyed the different costumes and hats of the gauchos. One group from Salta (where we are headed next week) had prancing horses with large cowhide shields for their legs. We were able to find a table in a cafe with window view of the parade where it turned at the plaza; to have lunch and watch the last hour of the parade. Unfortunately for Jim, he was taking his turn in “el bano” when the only marching band passed by. It was quick and I only got a picture through the window. They were a military academy (Argentina’s West Point) band and he was able to talk with the conductor for a few minutes.
Afterwords, we walked to the river and saw hundreds of families picnicking and playing in the river. There was supposed to be a show and contest in the large Parque Criollo; so we walked that way. It was pretty hot, 85o and very dusty with all the dirt roads and horses stirring it up. We never made it to the large Park, but stopped at the river to enjoy the people watching and rest in the shade. We had scheduled our bus ride home to be in the evening, 8:00 p.m. in order to have time to see everything. So, we found food and drink to fill the time. And many laughs with Doug and Dianne (I have added pix to the photo album also.) Muchas sonrisas, Cheryl