Saturday, May 11, 2013

Semana Santa Travelogues: Galloping into the sunset

Upon our first arrival at the hostel we saw some posters with things to do around Mendoza. One of which being a horseback ride into the sunset at the edge of the Andes. Sound good? Definitely! 

Compared to our other activities that one was kind of expensive though. However, everyone in our hostel who had done that tour came back totally amazed. So obviously we had to go. And after all, the lack of money keeps us from way too many adventures already.  

So we booked the tour for Tuesday and after a day well spent relaxing we packed our freshly charged cameras (still can’t believe I didn’t realize my battery was about to die before I went on the bicicletas&vino tour!) and gathered in the lobby of our hostel, ready to be picked up for yet another adventure. Since the tour was only booked by the hostel, but organized by some other company, we all got picked up by a minibus that went from hostel to hostel and picked up a mixed crowd that would become our horseback company.

After a while we came to a ranch at the edge of the Andes where we got to meet our horses and were instructed by our gauchos (=cowboys) a.k.a. tour guides on how to ride a horse. We pretty much didn’t need much of that knowledge though because the horses were all very calm and well-tempered and kept following the lead of our gauchos. So after some basic instructions our tour started. First we went through the grasslands at the feet of the Andes and then we mounted some of the smaller mountains. Although at that part I personally wouldn’t call them mountains just yet.

At the Ranch

At that point in time it was all very calm and we trotted along in a line in between our gauchos, Diego and Luis. But then one of the company, David from the UK, lost his camera cap and so he dismounted his horse and forgot that he was not supposed to let go of the leash. Of course his horse went off into the grasslands and our gauchos had to get off their horses and play “catch the horsey”.  But with their incredible horse whispering skills they soon caught it and the tour went on.

[Picture courtesy of Izzie Atkinson]

Never ever let go of the leash!

My Horsey and Me

Right when the sun was about to disappear behind the Andes we stopped on a hill/mountain and had a very spectacular view of the setting sun. Of course all documented with pictures. At that point our gauchos also told us to secure our cameras because we were now ready to gallop. That’s right. I never really learned how to ride a horse and now I was supposed to gallop through the grasslands of the Andes. But of course the adventurous part in me was like “what the hell, let’s do this”. And oh the fun I had! I was even a little bit sad when we went back to normal trotting afterwards.

Erin and I

Izzie, Erin and I on our horses

Eventually we got to the destination point, where we got off our horses and said our goodbyes to them before Luis took them back to the ranch. And I truly believe he is some sort of horse whisperer because they followed him without a leash or anything. Or maybe they just know where they belong.

My horsey

So for Luis and the horses the evening had come to an end but for us it was only the beginning. We had a very delicious Asado and a never ending supply of wine. And by that I mean that whenever your glass wasn’t full, Diego would come and fill it up to the brim again.   So obviously it didn’t take very long for us to be slightly tipsy. But none of us cared because it was such a fun experience and we all got to know our fellow travellers better.

 A very fine Asado

And after we all had eaten we went out to the fireside and listened to Diego play the guitar. It was a pretty cool mix of Argentinian gaucho songs and well known ones like “Hey Jude” that we could sing along with. And in this fashion we continued the night for quite a while. Singing, laughing, talking, listening, enjoying.

The whole group 
[Picture courtesy of Izzie Atkinson]

Mendoza in the Moonlight
[Picture courtesy of Izzie Atkinson]

But at some point it all had to come to an end and we all climbed into the bus that would take us back to our hostels. And accompanied by the most random tunes we made our way back to Mendoza. And by random I mean, us and the gauchos rocking out to “P.I.M.P.” and “Insane in the membrane”. But again nobody cared. Cause we are mother***in’ P.I.M.P.s!

And somehow that was a weirdly awesome end to a very incredible experience. But don’t worry, the best part of my Semana Santa Travels is yet to come!

If you missed the previous posts about the trip, the destination and our wine tour, feel free to scroll down or be lazy and click the text. 

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