Blog #20-something: Adios Rio

Jane's Olympic adventure may have finished, but her South American adventures are continuing.

A beautiful horse, just down the road from my hotel in Buenos Aires
A beautiful horse, just down the road from my hotel in Buenos Aires

I’m sitting at yet another airport (Buenos Aires) waiting to board my flight to Cordoba. Impossibly early as my in-built alarm clock went off way before was actually necessary, and the airline said I had to be there two hours early, so here I am, having been processed very efficiently through the system.

I’m off to Estancia del Potreros for a bit of a horsey holiday. It’s a big farm / ranch / estancia and I’ll be writing an article on my adventures there for Horse & Pony magazine. After being a city resident for the last 22 days, I’m really looking forward to some countryside again!

I had a couple of nights in Buenos Aires after Rio, and was most impressed by this lovely city with huge European influences. Getting out of Rio involved another very early start, and queuing at the airport for some time, a number of times. Eventually I was on board my plane, along with a couple of the gold-medal-winning Argentinian hockey players (who got a big ovation on the plane). I was was looking forward to seeing Rio from the air, but no sooner had we taken off, than I fell asleep! So, no nostaglic farewell to Rio from me; I just hope I didn’t snore. I even slept through the food service but the nice man next to me saved me the little picnic box of sandwiches and biscuit.

A couple of birds and a general on this horse!
A couple of birds and a general on this horse!

My first impressions of Buenos Aire were very positive. As we circled in to land, I could see all the Saturday sports happening. Soccer, rugby, hockey, tennis, some other court-based games, and even show jumping! It is also a lot colder here, 11 degrees when I landed. Buenos Aires is completely different from Rio. Rio is in your face with its squalor, its favelas and smells. This city is more subtle, and charming, and with the beautiful parks and European-style buildings, has instant appeal.

The hotel was an older, well-worn but very comfortable one, and with a shower that I had some control over! The softer and far larger bed than I had been in recently was so inviting that an afternoon nap had to be had. I also tuned in to watching some Olympics on TV and laughed when the first sport I came across was synchronised swimming. Those girls really have some skills to pull off those moves and while we all laughed and laughed about it, I do agree with Libby, there is a lot of hard work and talent in action in that pool, pointing and twirling.

Then it went to soccer and things got a bit noisy, as the German man in the next door room was obviously getting very upset about how his team was going, as he was yelling very loudly. That was a good time to go exploring. Germany lost to Brazil, so I’m glad I wasn’t in the room when the final whistle went.

I had my first steak since leaving home at the end of last month, and it was brilliant. The diet lately has been largely cheese and bread with a few muesli bars and salads here and there.

Just a bit of market dancing!
Just a bit of market dancing!

Sunday is market day, so off I went with my camera, getting a bit lost on the way there, but eventually having a blast in the markets. I absolutely adored the music, and spent some time listening to the best classical guitar-playing I have ever heard. If you want to have a listen, check out Gaston Vinelli on You Tube – here’s the link!  I’m looking forward to seeing more of Buenos Aires after my estancia visit, and also really looking forward to getting home again.

Anyone need a saddle?
Anyone need a saddle?

PS:  That photo we posted on our Facebook page of Mark Beever, Nick Skelton’s groom, is breaking all records on both Facebook and Twitter. Here it is again, in case you are one of the few who hasn’t seen it! A special moment; I’m honoured and lucky to have been there to capture it.

Mark Beever and Big Star at the medal ceremony. Mark must have got a bit of sand in his eye. (Image: Jane Thompson)
Mark Beever and Big Star at the medal ceremony. Mark must have got a bit of sand in his eye. (Image: Jane Thompson)