Happy Friday! This has been one heck of a week, and I am more than glad for the long weekend. We don’t have anything big planned for the weekend; I’m hoping to start making some new screen prints and maybe enjoy a sunny day at the beach. What are you up to for Memorial Weekend?
I’m getting close to wrapping up our Patagonia trip. I never expected it to take this long to write about it all! Helloooo busy! But this day….ahhhh this day at the farm….THIS was perhaps our favorite day of the trip. And yes, there are a lot of pictures because, well, these was a whole lot of awesome to take pictures of.
When I went to lunch with a friend and told her about this day of our trip, she said, “You had a Bachelor date! It sounds just like one of those extravagant dates they do on the Bachelor!” And you know what? She was right on.
Have you ever watched the show The Bachelor? They go on these incredible dates in amazing places that would just never happen in real life. They do a fun activity like riding elephants thru the jungles of Thailand or skydiving in the Alps, then walk up to an overlook where a lunch is perfectly prepared on a large blanket with pillows, wine and chocolates. The birds are singing (along with maybe some famous singer-songwriter), romance is in the air and all is right in the world. Who has dates like that? THAT, my friend, was our day!
So about our day I fondly refer to as our Bachelor date…
It was our second full day in El Calafate and one of only a handful of days on our trip that we had nothing planned. I think originally we thought we would just find a good day hike, but El Calafate isn’t really much of a hiking town so that was out. Belen, our precious B&B hostess, first suggested bird-watching on the lake. Not quite what we had in mind. Then I mentioned going to a farm. After all, a lot of the people we’d talked to had enjoyed stays at Estancias (Argentinean farms). “Ahhh!” she said. “I know just the thing.”
Belen suggested one of two day trips. The first included going to a farm to watch sheep shearing and experience other farm-like activities. I spent a couple of years in New Zealand as a kid so I didn’t need to watch any more sheep being sheared. Option two included going to a farm for a day of horseback riding and lunch. That sounded super fun! AND the bonus was that we’d give our feet a day off to recover from all of our hiking and walking. Thankfully J thought that it sounded fun as well, so we told Belen to sign us up!
BEST. DAY. EVER.
Our day started with Luciano, our non-English speaking Goucho (cowboy) picking us up at our B&B and driving us out to his farm which sits on Glacier National Park overlooking the amazing glacier we had trekked on the day before. A double rainbow framed the glacier in the distance while the perfectly shabby and quaint farm was waking up to the bustle of about a half dozen dogs, about 30 horses, 2 cats and a couple of chickens. Luciano rode off to gather his horses, a couple of the dogs following along. J, in photographer heaven, wandered off to take photos while I sipped on hot tea and ate croissants while playing with all of the kittens and dogs.
We immediately were drawn to one of the dogs, a black and gray mut with milky eyes that followed us around, eager for affection. Our blind buddy, appropriately named “Amigo”, was a source of much laughter for the rest of the day.
A while later after Luciano rode back with all the horses (which was amazing to watch), we strapped on some chaps and saddled up for our ride. The trail ride was slow and stunning, the landscape around us just breathtaking! I grew up riding horses so I was dying to take off in a canter, but other than the regular trot my horse did to catch up, it was a steady walk.
Our gaucho led us up to a lookout where we could clearly see the glacier behind us, snapped a couple of photos of us, and continued to lead us around his hills to an opening by a river. Here he had built a small shed, a couple of benches for his guests, and an outhouse for when nature calls. After tying up our horses, Luciano poured us each a glass of wine (in silver cups… perfection) while he started on lunch. Plaid blankets draped the rustic benches and a fire crackled away. We were in HEAVEN! Both of us felt SO happy and relaxed.
On top of the fire was a cast iron shallow bowl where Luciano started sauteing garlic and onions. LOTS of onions. We sipped more wine. Then he added thin strips of beef from his farm. More sipping of wine. By now we were drooling a bit, smelling the beef and the onions sizzle away on the fire. Cutting some crusty bread into 6 inch strips, he prepared a sandwich for each of us.
Let me stop here. THIS was probably the BEST sandwich of our lives. So simple but SO delicious. If we could go back now and eat more of these sandwiches we would. I had 2 sandwiches. J ate three. And, honestly, the third one was the best. By then the onions had been cooking for almost an hour and were perfectly caramelized. YUM.
We finished our meal…and the bottle of wine… with some chocolates, both of us fat, a bit tipsy and agreeing that this was the best day of the trip, then got back up on the horses for the ride back to the farm.
I really don’t feel like I can capture in words the perfection of this day. I was so thankful that J and I didn’t have to share this day with anyone else. It was so fun, romantic, relaxing and memorable. The food was remarkable; Luciano, while barely speaking any English, was the perfect host, and the farm was quaint and homey. It was a day we will never forget.
All photos ©2012 Jason Ward Studios. DO NOT USE WITHOUT PERMISSION.