San Antonio de Areco – Gaucho Central 2

The street dogs here have acquired the knack of attaching themselves to hapless visitors walking the streets – that’s us by the way. We had one border-collie-like mutt that doggedly pursued us for at least an hour as we explored the back streets of Areco. He selected his prey after being thrown a desperate morsel of buffet breakfast from a hotel door by his previous victim, but then caught my eye as we wandered past and decided to stalk us-wolf-like, perhaps thinking we’d succumb to the charm offensive, nip into a café and buy him further breakfast treats. Fat chance. It was really funny. When I noticed him following, he’d stop in his tracks and look nonchalantly around – whistling innocently into the wind perhaps – then once I’d turned around, re-commence his stalk. We’d pop into a store and he’d slink into a shady alcove. When we resumed our stroll he’d trail us, but on the other side of the street. Sometimes he’d be ahead of us sitting in the middle of the path staring us down with piercing eyes, ‘come on then, where is it?’ We tried to shake him off by splitting up which he clearly enjoyed – was it a game perhaps? Finally, he gave up and slunk into a cool shady nook and feigned sleep. He was with us long enough to acquire a name – El Lobo – The Wolf.

I guess it goes without saying that the food here was incredible, with sizzling parrillas the order of the day, and no better place than the lovely family-run restaurant Almacen de Ramos Generales. The steaks were juicy and the asado-cooked deboned chicken, possibly the yummiest chook ever served (the skin seared and crisp – Ant)! Needless to say this was all incredibly reasonable. A litre of locally produced Malbec was ARS$100 – that’s about A$4 or just £2 and the steak / chook A$7-9. I mean really…. how do they do this? (Though more and more places are rejecting credit cards – they lose too much on the ever-downward spiralling value of the peso and the length of time it takes the banks to process the transaction– Ant).

And finally, the folks of Areco are amazingly friendly, open and chatty. Everyone knows each other of course – and after just a couple of days, the same faces smiled and greeted us with a ‘Hola buen día. Cómo estás hoy? (I swear the whole town is related – Ant).

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