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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

San Antonio de Areco

San Antonio de Areco is a small town on La Pampa, the plains of Argentina. Along the narrow sidewalks, regional workshops sell silverware, rope and leather crafted using traditional methods originally used by the gauchos. Gauchos are cowboys who roam the plains herding cattle.

Gauchos were romanticized in Argentine literature as symbols of freedom. San Antonio de Areco became famous after resident Ricardo Guiraldes wrote "Don Segundo Sombra," a book set in the area that featured a real-life gaucho named Don Segundo Ramirez.

In reality, gauchos became more and more marginalized as Italian immigrants settled land in the area during the 18th century. The best opportunity to see how gauchos once lived is to visit the town during its November festival which features parades of show horses, creole skills, music and folkloric dances.

Here are a few images from San Antonio de Areco:

Grilling meat over an open flame is considered the gaucho way of doing things. The asado has turned into a national passtime.

The front door of one of the colonial building on the main square of San Antonio de Areco.

The Club River Plate is home to the local soccer team. It also offers camping. Over Easter weekend, I camped here.

The old bridge, El Puente Viejo, leads to the Ricardo Guiraldes museum. The Guiraldes family estancia is separate from the museum and cannot be visited because of a family dispute over the division of the property.

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