We spent a few days in Rosario before heading on to a little town called San Antonio de Areco, just an hour out of BA. Sal wanted to go horse riding, and so it seemed foolish not to stop in gaucho country to give it a go. As we had an apartment booked for BA, we decided to blow out on a nice hotel and jumped on the bus.
Unfortunately, when we arrived in tiny San Antonio, it seemed like it wasn’t going to be as easy as we’d thought to get up on a horse of some kind.
“Oh no, you’re too late,” said the man at our hotel, looking at his watch, when we asked about the possibility of horse riding in the morning. “The farm will be closed now. Maybe we can call them tomorrow. But I don’t think so.”
Oh. So off we went to the tourist information office in town.
As my Spanish vocabulary doesn’t quite cover horses and horse riding, and as we were in a tourist information office, my opening gambit to the lady behind the desk was “¿habla usted ingles?” but her reply was just a curt “no”.
So I stumbled through in Spanish trying to explain what we wanted to do. But no, she said, there was no horse riding to be had here. Maybe we could call these ranches out of town. By this point she had switched into the English she didn’t speak, and she went on to tell us that you couldn’t really go horse riding because it’s too dangerous. And the insurance costs too much.
Oh. So off we went away from the world’s least helpful tourist information office. We knew from our hotel search that there was at least one ranch in town (curiously not one of the ones she’d told us to call) so we walked over there.
And there we met a friendly chap called Juan Manual, who laughed at our story and told us that horse riding would be no problem at all, that there’s no such thing as needing insurance in Argentina, and that the reason that the lady at the tourist office hadn’t told us about them was probably because he’d recently interviewed her for a job at the ranch that she’d not been given…
And so off we went the next day.
It turned out to be surprisingly good fun, although after four hours in the saddle, I realised when I got down that there’s a reason why John Wayne walks like that…