Christmas morning the alarm was set for 8am and boy was it sunny . Not a cloud in the sky . As usual , we had to wake our kids up to let them know Senor Claus had been and not forgotten . Once awake they couldn’t get dressed quickly enough. Both of them were very good in what it was they had asked for. Axel was aware we were traveling and knew he couldn’t ask for anything too big. He got his replacement Nintendo DS, his Star Wars figures and a few other bits and pieces and was genuinely happy, I was happy too knowing this. Elka was delighted with her Barbie and Mermaid and all the other girlie things she had been left, even though she doesn’t like Santa too much, ‘hee scaaawy’, she said when we visited the Chilean version.
That morning after breakfast we all went horse riding , Elka perched happily on Lisa’s lap . We rode for about 3 hours through crocodile filled lagoons, across open pampas and we even got to practice galloping on the sandy soft trails in between . By midday the hot sun was belting down on us and it was time to get back for a dip in the pool to cool off . The horses up to this needed a good few kicks to get them moving but as soon as we turned back in the direction of the ranch they needed very little encouragement . Axels horse Picasso was so looking forward to getting out of the sun and into the shade that he took off at a gallop . Thankfully he held on tight while the Gauchos caught up to slow him down . His expression was full of excitement and he turned around and said “ that’s the way I want to ride a horse “
By the time we returned to the estancia , two more guest had arrived from Buenos Aires , the affable Marcello and Thorsten . If Marcello and Thorsten had any preconceptions that they would be having a romantic couple of days then their plans were quickly dashed . Now we were a group of 13 people “ one for all and all for one “ as they say . Short of sleeping in the same bed , we ate together and played together . Thankfully , the chemistry worked and we all enjoyed our time .
After some nice red wine , crater size stakes and more dessert myself and Lisa saddled up for a few more hours of galloping lessons with the gaucho’s Jose and Fabian but this time without the kids .
Axel went fishing with the boys and Lisa had left Elka after some persuading, with Diego, Josephina and the housekeeping girls, the first time she had left her with someone other than me on our entire trip. I think this goes to show how comfortable and welcome we felt with everyone on the farm. When we got back she hadn’t even noticed we were gone, enough said.
The next couple of days continued on in a similar vein, a slow paced rural idyll, with the odd activity between meals.
When it came time to say goodbye we were all very upset. Axel at the thought of never catching a dorado, Elka because we were on the move again, Lisa and I because we had made two great new/old friends in Diego and Angeles.
On the way to the bus Lisa was very teary in the back of the car and I must admit I very nearly was too. We were really allowed into the lives of this family and will never forget them or the experience.
So Angeles and Diego, we love you both dearly. Josephina, you are Elka’s princess. Ramone and Diego you are Axel’s heroes.
To Roque, Jose, Tito and Fabian, ride on.
Sylvina, Maria, and Miriam, keep making people fat.
Sorry to any anybody we forgot.
You all made our stay unforgettable.