G is for Gaucho and Great Gardens

Gaucho culture comes to Buenos Aires during the Feria de Matadores, when these Argentine cowboys come from the countryside with their displays of horsemanship (the Race of the Ring event, for example), handicrafts, live music, folk dancing and lots and lots of empanadas. Held in the authentic Matadores neighborhood, where cattle were traditionally brought in from around the country to be slaughtered, the fair also mixes in local Portenos and migrant workers from Bolivia and Paraguay to produce a colorful combination of customs, folk dancing, and artwork. Along four blocks you find stalls full of good buys: leather goods, mate gourds, stone and silver jewelry, wind chimes, trinkets and good-luck charms molded from clay or other natural materials. The fair is a weekly event held on Sundays April to December; January to March, it’s a Saturday evening event: 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.    For a hands-on Gaucho experience, visitors discover that cowboy life is very much alive and well at the estancias, working ranches roughly an hour from B.A. They welcome guests to learn of the traditions of the gauchos and their skills on horseback. Then perhaps, saddle-up and ride out on the pampas range, then join in a gaucho-prepared asado feast—as well as take a dip in the pool or join in a bit of polo. They range from the gorgeous and romantic La Bamba to the fine and cozier El Cancerro. Most estancias are not too far from San Antonio de Areco, founded in 1730. This prettiest town in the pampas, preserving many gaucho and criollo traditions, is the place to buy artisan silverwork and saddlery, and the place to be on November 10, 2018 for the annual Dia de la Tradicion, the country’s biggest gaucho celebration.

Great Gardens are in the Palermo neighborhood:  The Rose Garden is abloom in October, November, March or April. The Botanical Garden is lovely year-round; flora from throughout South America fills this garden, with more than 8,000 plant species from around he world.  The Japanese Garden, the largest in the world outside Japan, is designed with bridges connecting the classical Japanese gardens that surround the artificial lake

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