Travel

Horseback Riding in Patagonia

In between all the glacier viewing and mountain hiking we experienced in Patagonia, we relaxed one day with a horseback ride outside of El Calafate. We spent a day on a ranch there, seeing how the ranch worked and how the few people that live in Patagonia year-round survived. It was really beautiful.

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It was still quite early when we got there, so we were served breakfast, which was a simple hearty bread and a gourd of yerba mate that was passed around as we learned about the farm by the fire.  Yerba mate (mah-tay) is a traditional drink made of pressed caá leaves and drank with a group out of a single gourd and a metal straw. It’s very traditional and considered a social equalizer in Argentinian (and Brazilian, apparently) culture: Around a fire with a gourd of yerba mate, race, income, gender, etc all stop mattering.

The host always takes the first sip (it’s the most bitter) and then passes the drink. I found it extremely bitter, but a lot of people really liked it and I think it’s something you have to learn to like. If you’re interested, it’s easy to buy online – the traditional way to drink it is loose-leaf in a gourd.*

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This isn’t a form of punishment. They had to tie the calve’s heads to keep them from trying to drink their mother’s milk while the farmer was milking them.

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View from the horseback ride. I don’t have any photos of me horseback riding because I was carrying the camera, but I assure you it happened.

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The trip to the farm was a relaxing and wonderful day, and it was a really beautiful place nestled in the mountains in Patagonia that way. If you’re looking to book a trip out of the cold northern hemisphere, Patagonia is a great place to head south and start adventuring! Check out more photos from hiking the glaciers in Patagonia or tell me below about your favorite adventure travel escape!

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