Have you ever met somebody for the first time and felt like you had known them forever, or better still have you ever met two people and felt like you had known both of them forever and they both of you. This is exactly what happened when we went to spend Christmas on an Estancia (ranch) in Esquina, which is in the Corrientes province in northern Argentina. We were looking for something a little different for the festive season and something that would be a memorable way for us to spend the holiday on our journey, something where there would be something for each of us to enjoy and also a place where we could really chill. Lisa had been working really hard to find something special and came up with the Estancia Don Joaquin , after a few mails our booking was confirmed and we got really excited .
We arrived a bit disheveled off the overnight bus from Rosario. The bus arrived early at six am, so rather than phone our hosts to get them to pick us up early we decided to wait around in the bus station for the hour. We got to see the town waking up, people arriving in off bus’s, all coming home for the holiday, gaucho’s strolling around in their distinctive style of dress, mothers and fathers welcoming home sons and daughters, the faces, a lot more mixed than those in the southern cities, everybody happy to be home.
At seven am on the nose a pickup pulled into the parking lot of the station and before they had opened their doors I knew it was our hosts, Diego and Angeles who had come to greet and pick us up personally. We loaded our bags onto the flatbed of the truck and we sped off into the town. Angeles had remembered that Lisa wanted to see a doctor and arranged for her to be seen at that hour of the morning by her own doctor. We were talking like old friends almost immediately. After a brief doctor’s visit we headed to the estancia.
On arrival at the ranch we were meet by a picture perfect view. Horses shading themselves under trees, the morning sun blazing across the lagoon and hundreds of cattle doing their thing . We were served a hearty breakfast and sent off for a few hours of well needed rest in crisp cotton sheets , feather pillows and a bed for each of the kids .
After our mid morning siesta we got on with the business of being on a real cattle farm. Lisa went horse riding with Angeles and a couple of the gaucho’s and I stayed behind. Elka got to give out and tell everyone off, except Josephina, her princess, and the daughter of our hosts, who she fell in love with very quickly. Axel got to meet the two son’s, Ramone and Diego and convince them both that they should take him fishing, they agreed and in the process made a friend for life.
When Lisa returned we got ready and went to lunch. The biggest and most amazing Argentine steak was served as the main in a four-course spread after which all I wanted was another siesta. It was not to be. Lisa was going to look after Elka while myself and the three boys were going to drive down to the Rio Corrientes and try and catch some Dorado, well they were going to do the catching I was going to read my book. Before we left Angeles suggested I take a few beers along for the ride, I did. So I got to spend my first afternoon doing what it is I like best, lying in the sun by side of a river, skullin a couple of tinnies, reading a book and listening to someone else do all the work, life’s good. They never caught anything that afternoon.
That evening we after another delicious dinner, a few drinks and some great company we fell into bed, happy and exhausted after our first day on the farm .