This morning Augustino is back in action to take us to the airport for our flight to El Calafate and El Gapon, a working sheep ranch. We arrive easily and a guide picks us up at the airport to drive us the 30 minutes outside of the city to Estancia El Gapon where we will stay for two days. Arriving at 5:30 pm we are given a very nice room with a separate sitting area, and are just in time to sign up for the sheep handling and shearing demonstration at 6:30. Other tourists arrive just for the dinner and show alone, so we all wait expectantly as the Gaucho arrives, complete with jaunty beret, to herd 15 or so sheep around the pasture in front of us. He looks like a ballet master as he signals his two dogs, a kelpie and a border collie, to drive the sheep wherever he wants them to go. Occasionally a sheep breaks free only to quickly be brought back to the herd by his hard working dogs who are enjoying every minute of the chase. After a guided walk through the pastures to the edge of Lago (lake) Argentino we find Calafate bushes with edible berries. They taste similar to our blueberries, and eating one guarantees a return to Patagonia. We all eat a handful. Then we go back to the shed for a sheep shearing demonstration and discussion of the various breeds of sheep and some more history of Patagonia. We've worked up quite an appetite watching those dogs work so hard, and now we head into the banquet hall for a BBQ dinner with lamb, chicken, sausage, and beef with the Argentinian Malbec wine we have learned to enjoy. A local folkdance and tango show ends the evening, and we all roll off to bed.
Inspired by Kenneth's trip?
Check out these links