Saturday was one of those beautifully perfect days that seemed to belong more to spring than winter – the kind of day when you wake up to see the sun shining brightly through your window, the skies are a clear, brilliant blue, and the temperature is warm enough to be out in just a light jacket instead of a thick winter coat.
While I’ve always associated myself with cities – whose bright lights and background noises feel as familiar to me as the palm of my hand – a retreat to the countryside, where tall cramped skyscrapers are non-existent, and instead are replaced by small, squat houses generously spaced out, is always a welcome relief.
On that amazingly sunny day, Juan and I pointed the car north, and after slightly more than an hour, found ourselves within the large vicinity of Jose Luis’ country house in Los Cardales.
We’d first met Jose Luis when we spent a long weekend at a ranch called “La Rica” in the Argentine countryside in April, where a few days of warm autumn sun and vast pastures bonded the few families and couples who had spent the weekend there. Contacts were exchanged; photos passed from my camera to their email inboxes; and Jose Luis casually promised to invite us to his country house sometime.
So there we were last Saturday, prepared with a bottle of wine, some strawberry oatmeal bars I’d made earlier in the week, a small packet of heart-shaped Argentine sweet pastries known as “palmeritas“, and my trusty camera.
Sprawling lawns and rows of trees decorated the estate, whose centerpiece was the main building with a decent-sized pool at the back.
It was the sort of place where you could wander off on your own with nothing but a good book for company, and upon finding a place to sit and read, just enjoy the entire afternoon in pleasure.
After a delicious lunch of asado (barbecued meat) and three cakes to choose from for dessert, the younger kids scrambled off to play in the lawn, climbed trees, and later had a round of football (which Juan eventually joined).
The rest of us took a tour of the house…
And then later we explored its enormous garden, part of which had been dedicated to growing vegetables of all kinds – from strawberries, to sweet potatoes, to grapefruit and arugula.
As the afternoon gradually gave way to the evening, and the sun slowly set, golden sunrays threaded through the canopy of the trees lined up alongside long spacious pathways.
The evening chill soon drove us indoors, and we sat by the fireplace, warm and cozy, sipping warm tea and snacking on sweet delights.
It was such a lovely way to end the day..