Here is Jill’s first report on the CAA group’s visit to Argentina, which is underway now. She was hoping to be able to send regular reports and some photos (depending on the spotty Internet connections throughout the trip), but has been having unexpected trouble with the charger on her laptop!
Day One of the CAA’s 2011 Trip to Argentina:
“Everyone arrived at our hotel in Buenos Aires (known as BA) — with one participant having missed his connection in Atlanta and then being re-routed via Santiago, Chile. We all enjoyed a welcome dinner on Friday night at an Italian restuarant near our hotel (we thought it might be fun to enjoy pasta, knowing that we would be eating a lot of meat on the rest of the trip).
“On Saturday morning, we met our driver for the trip, Leo, and his immaculate fifteen-passenger van, and we were accompanied by Pauline Edbrooke of Biblos Travel, she who was responsible for all our arrangements for this unique trip, and off we set for Quilmos (about an hour’s drive away). There, we were warmly greeted by Marcielo Decoud and were shown the most beautiful stable, which was built in 1912 and had all its stable fixtures brought from France. Then we were shown the harness room with its set of four-in-hand Hermes harness. And then it was on to the carriage house to see the many vehicles by Holland & Holland, Binder, and some Argentine makers.
“Then, sitting on a long table under the trees, we enjoyed our first asada (barbecue). Meat after meat was brought to us on large trays, all washed down with red wine! We were joined by several Argentine carriage enthusiasts, including Rodolfo, the president of the Argentine Commercial (Trade) Vehicle Association. Conversation was lively and after two hours or so, we boarded our van, having made new friends and with promises of visits to the U.S. What a great start to the trip!”
Day Two (Sunday):
“At 8:30 a.m., the entire group was ready with their luggage for a new adventure. Leo arrived, the van was loaded, and off we went for a two-and-a-half-hour drive south /southwest of the city to the town of General Belgrano. We were headed to the estancia (farm) of Guillermo Gibelli and his family. Once there, we were warmly greeted by Guillermo and Christine Gibelli and eventually his two daughers, one of his sons, his daugher-in-law, and several grandchildren. We talked and looked around the beautiful house, and then we were asked to follow Dr. Gibelli into the garden. There, he unveiled a statue of a coachman that he had commisioned several years ago.
“Dr. Gibelli had gone to England earlier this year to attend the South of England Hackney Show and while there had met one of the judges, Roland Connelly of Scotland. From that meeting, Dr. Gibelli had asked Roland to come to Argentina and show the Hackney enthusiasts here how to show Hackneys. So Roland and his wife, Tracey, were there with us, and Roland produced several of the Argentine Hackney horses for us to see in-hand.
“We gathered in the house for lunch and enjoyed the fun company. Then it was off to see the carriages while Roland and the gauchos got four carriages ready to take everyone out on a drive around the estancia. The sun was shining, and it was simply a perfect day.
“After enjoying an afternoon tea with the Gibelli family, it was time to thank them for their tremendous hospìtality and bid them farewell until we will see most of them again in Areco. A two-hour drive followed, until we reached our overnight accomodation at the Estancia Bella Vista de Guerrero
. It’s hard to believe that we needed dinner, but at 8:30 p.m., there we all were, enjoying a super dinner at the estancia. Then it was early to bed for everyone; after all, it’s exhausting eating so much!”
Day Three (Monday):
“This morning we all had the choice of going riding (several did), or walking and enjoying the beautiful trees and flowers. Remember that is is spring here in Argentina. Some have seen hundreds of parrots in the trees, and E. G. Moody reports that he has taken more than three hundred photos so far!”