So, I set the alarm on my phone last night for 7.15am, so that we´d have abut an hour befre horseback riding. Of course, as luck would have it, the battery on the phone died, so we were woken up by a few other people at 8.14am (we had to leave at 8.30am). After wasting another minute ¨panicking¨about how little time we have, we quickly got ready and made it almost in time to the van that came to pick us up.There was 7 of us going on what was supposed to be the best horseback riding in South America. They initially told that that we have to drive for about an hour to get to the horses, but it actually turned out to be a 3 hour drive each way.
The last portion of the road was going through the middle of nowhere (which seems to be a recurring theme these days) on a dirt road past abandoned houses, children that were playing in the road for no apparent reason, sheep and cows that appeared out of nowhere.
Finally, we stopped in this little house… which was the only house for miles all around. The first room was converted to kind of a restaurant where the hostess treated us to tea, coffee and some weird tasting pastries.
At around 12pm, we were taken to our horses. Our guide asked everybody if they were a first timer or not and I had the stupidity to say that I wasn´t. However, truth to be told, when he was was selecting the horses for everybody, I think he just made it seem like he was handpicking them for everybody experience. He didn´t really know their true personalities, so people generally wound up with horses that were wrong for them.
I got a pretty nice looking stallion.
The guide said that he didn´t have a name, so I called him ¨Number 2¨ (Alex´s horse turned out to be called ¨Nipple¨ because … well).
After an informal introduction to the horse and explaining to her how I wanted her to behave, we were on our way.
This was supposed to be a 6 hour horseback riding trip, which is quite a bit compared to the 40 minutes we usually got in New York horseback riding academy.
So, we went on this little trail where you can only go with a horse (and allegedly a 4×4 jeep, although I find it impossible). We were walking for about 2 hours through the trees, up the hills, crossing the rivers, jumping over the rocks, etc. It really seemed that we were in some sort of an enchanted forest far removed from civilization.
All kinds of weird looking bugs and insects were swarming around us. Fortunately, they seemed to be more attracted to the horses, which worked out in our favor… although annoyed the horse quite a bit. We saw man-size bumblebees, weird buzzing mosquitos and god-knows what else.
In about 2 hours, we got to our destination which was a secret waterfall. It was really an awesome sight to view. And part of the awesomeness was the fact that so few people can ever get there to enjoy it.
After hanging out there for a bit, we continued on our way. In about 10 minutes, we came out to this field with 2 small izbushkas. We disembarked our horses and walked in.
It was the craziest thing we´ve ever seen. Truly in the middle of nowhere, this was kind of a restaurant where we were supposed to have lunch.
Of course, there was nobody else there except us, a chef, and 2 other Americans that were doing a 2-day horseback riding and rafting trip.
There were these tables lined up with appetizers and plates. Right away, we were offered wine (a great symbol of Argentinian hospitality) and were told that food is coming.
The 2nd izbuskka was this weird looking kitchen where they were preparing fresh steaks on sand and fire. From what we were told, the beef was 1 day fresh from the next farm over, so you can imagine how amazing it tasted.
We spent about an hour and a half there enjoying our meal and talking to the Americans. It was actually kind of cool to meet them, as you immediately find a connection with them (as there are very few Americans out here). If it wasnt for hundreds of flies and bumblebees swarming around (it was an open restaurant), it would have been really perfect.
After the meal, we got ready to go our way. As it turned out, one woman from our group was having trouble controlling her horse and she mentioned that the horse was acting a little weird. Since mine was fairly placid and I figured I had a wee bit of experience behind my belt, I offered to trade. Man, I regretted that choice afterwards.
Number 3 (as I named her) was quite a rebel without a cause. While I had pretty good control of her, it always wanted to run so I wound up in the front of the group with Alex, Marty (one of the people from our group) and a boy that was assisting our guide.
The way back was quite fun, although I have a feeling that we´ll all be doing a prison walk tomorrow. Alex´s horse got a bit crazy and for no apparent reason, decided to run up a hill ignoring his commands. He had to jump off the horse and walk her down, as it was to steep to ride it on the actual horse.
The way back also took about 2 hours during which we got to enjoy the weird scenery all over again.
We arrived to our original meeting point at around 6pm where a van was waiting to take us back. 3 hours later, we came back to the campsite.
Right now, we got to take care of some packing, as we are leaving tomorrow for Chile. We´ll be camping out in the wilderness (free camp) tomorrow night after which we´ll board a ferry for 4 days. During that time, I won´t have Internet access, so I won´t be able to post. However, I will definitely give you a full update, as soon s I return.