I’m a big city girl at heart, but once in a while I like escaping to the countryside, far away from the bright lights, neon billboards and unending flow of traffic.
It’d been a long while since Juan and I left Buenos Aires for a trip into the outskirts, and when the long weekend approached in mid-August, I was hoping we would be able to get out of town for a while.
When one of my best friends in Buenos Aires, Rosanna, texted to say “vamos al campo!” (let’s go to the countryside), I couldn’t wait.
Rosanna’s husband Mariano has a family ranch in the town of Rauch, located in the province of Buenos Aires, some 250km away from the capital. Since no one from Mariano’s family was going to be there for the long weekend, Rosanna and Mariano invited Juan and myself along with Charlyse and her husband Gonzalo for a getaway.
Just driving along the highway to get out of Buenos Aires was refreshing, and as we left the capital city behind us, heading towards the ranch, I couldn’t help smiling and singing to the music on the radio. After about three hours of driving, we arrived at La Chela in the dark of the night, around 8pm that Saturday, where Rosanna, Mariano, Charlyse and Gonzalo were waiting for us.
Entering the house with the fireplace already set up to keep us warm, I forgot about the city and work immediately. We didn’t have any signal for our phones and neither was there internet, so you could say that it was definitely a break from everything else.
Dinner was eaten as we huddled by the fireplace that night – we’d gathered together a mix of snacks including guacamole and chips, bacon and cheese quiche, garlic bread and hummus – and Mariano told us the story of his family ranch, showing us photos of his great grandparents and the books they’d left behind. Being in the countryside completely relaxed us, and before midnight, we were yawning and soon we returned to our individual rooms to rest for the night.
The next morning, with the sun beams streaming through the tall farmhouse windows, we were woken up by the roosters crowing. After a hearty breakfast of toast, marmalade, cereal and tea, Mariano showed us around the ranch.
Tall, beautiful trees surrounded us, and we strolled under the shady canopy. The weather was behaving and even though we were in the thick of winter, we didn’t need too many layers of clothes to keep us warm.
The part I was most excited about was riding the horses. It’d been almost three years since I rode one, and I was yearning to be on horseback again, galloping through the wild fields.
There were fifteen horses in total, and after Mariano and Rosanna saddled the horses, we got on them and started riding, slowly at first before entering into a quick trot and then eventually galloping from one end to the other.
I’ve never been a big fan of animals, but that weekend was special. I rode Tormenta, an 8-year old grey-white horse which had a steady gallop and beautiful heart.
When we first started galloping, I had my heart in my mouth, fearful of not being able to control her. But eventually, after about half an hour, I relaxed totally, holding the reins with confidence and letting the wind blow against my face. I can’t quite describe the sensation I had in that moment, but it was breathtaking and being able to just let go was refreshing.
Perhaps it was the first time in my life that I connected so much with nature, and it was such an amazing feeling.
The experience also taught me to be completely in the present, and instead of worrying about not being able to control the situation, I learnt to flow with it instead.
We were there for merely two full days, but it felt much longer than that. Being in the countryside and breathing in the fresh air certainly is therapy for the soul, and while we were physically tired from all the ranch activities, we were mentally refreshed.
Now it’s back to the city again.
Gracias Rosanna, Mariano and La Chela for these beautiful memories!