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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

La Oriental, Estancia

During my mom's visit, we decided to spend a few days outside of the city. There are plenty of places to travel to in Argentina but it is a HUGE country and most places are mainly accessible by plane or an extremely long road trip. For example, to get to Mendoza (wine country) from our house would take about 12 hours in a car. No thank you. We wanted to spend a few days outside the city but not bother with flights, and the popular option recommended to me was to visit an Estancia.

An Estancia is best described as a ranch, although I have never heard of ranches in the US that are travel destinations like this. Argentina has long had a strong cattle ranching culture and there are still plenty of working ranches out there, but there are also a number of ranches that have been sold by their original owners. The economy for ranchers has been in flux over the last 70 years or so, and when many of these ranches were sold, they were bought and converted into bed and breakfast-type hotels. These are now popular places for people to visit for a relaxing weekend away from the big city. Being that my mom and her friend Pat are horse lovers, this was an ideal destination during their visit.

We drove 4 hours out to La Oriental, a converted Estancia near the small town of Junin. This amazing place consists of one main house, built in the late 1800s, that has all original furniture, dishes and fixtures, which is where the premium rooms are located. There are also countless other buildings on the property that started out as racehorse stables, now converted into houses that are either rented out or used for miscellaneous reasons related to the Estancia. Once we arrived, Estela, the owner, had a delicious lunch prepared for us. We had steak, tuna and salad accompanied with our choice of water, wine, beer or soda served on a large outdoor porch. After lunch, Miguel took us for a horse drawn carriage ride to show us the grounds. The carriage ride was really nice, I haven't been on a carriage ride in ages, but there were more mosquitoes than I could count. My mom and I had were spraying constantly, but we all walked away littered with bites.
La Oriental has plenty of ways to keep busy during your stay. You can swim in or lay out by the pool, go horseback riding, biking, hiking, or just sit outside and read. It was an incredibly relaxing few days filled with great food, beautiful scenery and lots of free time. I highly recommend La Oriental for a nice weekend away from city life. Here are some other photos that we took, for your viewing enjoyment:

Mom and Miguel taking a break from the group ride

Miguel preparing some delicious meat for lunch

One of the many ranch horses

Miguel is the happiest guy in town.

Me and Mom on our last day at La Oriental

1 comment:

  1. I think I'd like to poke at some meat with a stick! Miguel looks awesome!