Here's why you should come and stay on the Estancia La Margarita ....

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What a Fun Day We had at The Gaucho School

Last week we held another Gaucho School Event and what a time we had. Ceci a true female gaucho and a very good friend of mine came along to help supervise proceedings and what a job she did rounding up the cows with our students. We also had Luis a handsome and dashing gaucho if ever there was one who showed us all how to lasso in true gaucho style. He then proceeded to wrestle the calves to the ground and showed us how to round up calves and pen them. Our students were a mix of English, Argentinean and Australian and they all had a smile on their faces through out the day. Probably y the highlight of the day was when the calves



had to be rounded up. It always looks easy but it was soon apparent that it’s not as easy as it looks as the students had a go at it. Time and time again the calves slipped through posse and the round up had to start again. The barrel racing was fun as student raced against gaucho and Adriana a student from England nearly had a gaucho in tears when he nearly got beat by her! Still he won luckily and saved his pride for another day

We also at the same time had Fabien Couturier on the estancia.  Fabien is a   travel writer for best selling Canadian national newspaper La Presse. She had come all the way from Canada to write an article about La Margarita (our fame has spread far and wide) She had wanted to do an article on an authentic pampas estancia and choose La Margarita. She said on leaving that the gaucho school was one of the most exhilarating horse event she had seen and that our horses were just amazing. Truth is the Argentine criollo horse is a breed apart- they are wonderfully tough but responsive animals so it was no surprise that she loved them. Her article is due out in a coupe of weeks and I am for one looking forward to it.
 
We are planning another Gaucho School Event on the 8th Feb 2015 so if you are interested to know more just send me an email at info@estancialamargarita.com and I will be happy to send you details. It promises to be just as much fun as last time and my very good friends and filmmakers to boot  Gaynor and Brian are coming all the way over from England to film it – can’t wait


This is David Cummings alias The English Gaucho hasta pronto

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Delicious Danish Pasties

Argentina is a country that is full of Spanish descendants isn’t it after all this must be correct since it was the Spanish who conquered this country. Well its not quite correct. Sure there are lots of families here that have Spanish blood in them. But there are many families that count lots other countries as their heritage

Its what I love about Argentine its social history, its different tribes that came and gave Argentina a go, a place to try and make money, to settle down and raise a family.  Have a look at any map of the country and you will find clues of other nationalities that came and settled here.  The country can boast clans of many many countries here from Italy, Wales, Scotland, and Syria to Sweden, England, Ireland (well those Irish pubs get everywhere!) Russia and of course Israel to name but a few



Arne and his friends and family on La Margarita before visiting Tandil 
Many of those that came from these countries keep up the traditions of the mother country.  In some of the Welsh communities in Patagonia they still speak Welsh.   The Scots have strong community in the city of Buenos Aires and bag pipe playing can be heard in some parts of the city on certain nights.  The British dependents play cricket in Hurlingham south of the city and of course the Brits founded the wonder River Plate football team. There is a mosque in the city and the city holds the largest community of Jews in South America. It’s a tolerant country it’s a country mixed up for sure but a country mixing well with different communities.


Recently we had a inquiry from a group of 14 people from Denmark who said they were visiting Tandil about 150 kilometres from us. We were delighted they chose the estancia and when I had dinner with them I asked them why they had come to us and why they were heading to Tandil. They explained that they were visiting the area of Tandil as that is where their great  great great grandfathers had settled after leaving Denmark in search of land to farm . Wow what an experience that was waiting for them. I recalled seeing a programme called En Camino of the area around Tandil. It was about the Danes that had settled there and to this day there is a school that until just few years ago only took pupils who had Danish blood in them, it’s that strong the Danish community in the area.

It was great to talk Arne Rasmussen the group leader and his compatriots about their trip and what they hoped they would find. Certainly I am sure that they had a wonderful experience and I bet they even got to taste Danish pastries in the Tandil area

Thank you Arne and all your friends and family for making La Margarita a part of your experience here in Argentina it was lovely to meet you all

This is David Cummings alias The English Gaucho hasta
Pronto

PS Arne said the reason they had chosen the La Margarita is because they wanted to stay on an authentic estancia not a touristy one – we are so happy they came


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Blink


Louisa out riding with a  lovely group of guest from Holland
I am reading a great book at the moment called Blink by Malcolm Galdwell.  It could just as well  have been called “I Got a Feeling” which come to think of it would make a better title – umm ok only  my opinion. The book is about those moments when we see or do something for the very first time we get an instant feeling that something is just right and it needs to be acted on. I had it a lot of times when I bought a house. I would arrive at a particular house and I would think immediately this is the one - it was a Blink moment. Course then friends would point out that it’s the first house I had looked at and I shouldn’t buy the first one I had seen. They advised me to look at a hundred or so more. Course guess what happened yep the first house was the best and but by the time I got round to realising it the property had been sold.
 
The book Blink goes into depth about this and how we should trust   our instincts more as they had been honed over thousands of years. Our brain the book claims can often compute things in an instant giving us enough info to make a decision almost instantly. Me, I am a firm believer in the authors theory. It just happens to many times for it to be ignored.

The last time it happened to me was when I placed an ad for someone to run the La Margarita on a daily basis for me Raquel who has done a great job wanted to retire and I needed someone to fill her place. I placed the ad and had loads of responses from wonderful and well-qualified people. However, one email I received just stood out. I read the email and I knew this was a Blink moment. I knew that the person who wrote this email was the person for the job. I knew in an instant or as the book says in the blink of an eye. I spoke to the applicant on Skype and I knew after the first few seconds she was the one for job-the chosen one

I spoke to my mates about it and they quite rightly said that of course I should meet her before I give her the job. That was good advice but I knew I didn’t need to. I knew that she had the job even before we got talking. However, I did go and meet her in the North of England but the meeting only confirmed my original Blink moment. That Blink moment   told me in the blink of an eye that Louisa Bowran was going to be running La Margarita

A few weeks after our first contact Louisa was on a plane to Argentina to take control of the estancia. Raquel could now do what she had been asking to do for   ages and that was to retire.  Louisa arrived on a horrible stormy day tired from jet lag but with a huge smile. We set out for the estancia with the storm blowing a gale.  When we arrived on the earth road just before the estancia the car decided it preferred the ditch to the road and we promptly skidded into the ditch. Did she scream or panic not a bit it. She looked at me as if to say ok lets get this sorted. A few minutes later a truck stops and the driver hooks us up and pulls us out of the ditch.

What an induction to life on La Margarita but she is a cool customer is our Louisa and from that very first day she took the estancia to heart. She is doing a mighty fine job. She loves everything about the estancia and it shows. She loves the guest, the animals, the pampas and the life style.  She has already received great comments on Trip Advisor from guests who have enjoyed Louisa wonderful hospitality and professionalism. She sorts out easily what seem un-sortable problems and is a natural with the horses and the gaucho life.
I knew the moment I started to read her email all those months ago that she was the person to run the estancia and it has come to pass. 


I know this is the second blog I have written about Louisa but I am a big fan of hers.  If you come here  you may be to  and you can be assured she will make your stay with us wonderful. She is as they say here “lo mas” the best

This is David Cummings alias The English Gaucho hasta pronto




Saturday, August 30, 2014

A warm welcome to Louise Bowran our new Estancia La Margarita manager

Raquel, my right hand person who has been with me for more years than I care to think has said that she would like to take semi–retirement. For those of you who know her no one
deserves it more than her for sure. She has been a loyal and wonderful manager and chef to La Margarita and will be sorely missed. But the good news is that she will continue to cook part time on the estancia. She has worked for me for ten years and worked for the original family owners before me for seven so nobody knows more than here about the estancia. She is a hard act to follow but I think we have someone who will try very hard.

Taking Raquel’s place in the manager stakes is Louise Bowran from the UK. I am very excited to have Louise working for La Margarita as she brings a lot of experience to the estancia. She worked for many years for Explore as a guide worldwide and has vast experience in the tourism and travel business working with them.  She has travelled worldwide and been in situations that a steady nerve and stamina were needed. The estancia certainty has its moments but from what I have seen so far I doubt that there is nothing she won’t be able to sort out and find a solution for.

She is also a very accomplished horse person having been involved with horses for many years working in various countries with some very well known riding stables She has been involved in the training of horses and she is a qualified riding instructor. She recently worked on one of the most prestige’s tourist ranches in Canada.  If you love horses you will love having a chat with Louise about what she has done and been involved in.

She speaks perfect Spanish and she has said that working and running an estancia was a life long ambition and its great that she has chosen La Margarita. She is very excited about The Gaucho School and getting it up and running and will be a key figure in doing so I am positive about that

I am sure her experience can only benefit the estancia and more importantly the stay of guests who come and visit us.

Welcome Louise.

This is David Cummings alias The English Gaucho  hasta pronto


Monday, August 11, 2014

Good to be back n'est pas



After a great time in the UK with family and friends enjoying the best summer there for 14 years I am now back on La Margarita.  Ok ok lets not talk about the World Cup that I was sure we would win and instead Argentina so nearly did.    Truth is it’s always good to be back to see the beautiful pampas and breath fresh air, see the wonderful staff again, drink mate and say hello to the animals. What a time to be back, the cold weather has gone, the dollar, euro and sterling are now even stronger making Argentina even cheaper and we have some exciting events planned for the coming months on La Margarita

Talking about a weaker peso for those of you thinking of coming to Argentina don’t forget to bring a little bit of cash with you. You can change it on what they call the blue market here for at least 50% more than the official rate. There is a shortage of hard currency here and you will find lots of places to change the cash. But beware where you do change the money as some, not so client friendly hotels, will try to give you a really poor rate. If you want to check the rate more or less buy the Clarin newspaper and on the news the economy pages you will see the rate. It’s called the blue rate. If you are worried about changing the money Adriana in our BA office will do it for you and she will make sure you get a great rate.
 
Over the next few months we will be putting together the events that guests can choose to do in The Gaucho School. Events such as cattle round up, learning to lasso, ride bare back, competition participation on horse back and barrel racing will all be offered. Its looks like it will be an exciting time here on the estancia and I will give more information on forthcoming blogs. To help run The Gaucho School we have some very experienced people coming to the estancia and the whole show will be run by Louise from England and Celia from Argentina two very experienced horse people (more about them in forthcoming blogs)

We also will be buying more cows in the next few weeks to add to out herd to use for The Gaucho School
All in all this is going to be an exciting and interesting time to be on La Margarita and it would be great if you could make it to see us

This is David Cummings alias The English Gaucho hasta la vista