My smartphone warned me: I had spent €50 in one day. With some help i managed to see what had been wrong: Mobile Data used 25MB. Was I stupid.
Most of the Sunday I used to search in my computer and with local people for information. I did find quite a number of useful data, to be further examined on Monday.
It was 9 july 1999, when I did arrive here, at el Tambo de Sorzana. I arrived riding one horse. The other horse came to here on a truck, because it had a damaged leg.
Via the kind help of 5 ladies in an office from the local authorities, I did find a farmer where I bought a pregnant horse in 1999. Mr. Sorzana, I remember him and his Tambo (which is not really a farm) very well. I did also find the data necessary to retrace the veterinarian who did help me at that time. On top of that I recovered data about a real estancia, outside Zapala.
The ‘Tambo de Sorzana’ is only a few kilometres outside Zapala, along the route 40 which I covered nearly completely riding my horses in 1999. A taxi took me there.
El Tambo de Sorzana, where I did buy a pregnant horse.
Juan Sorzana and I exchanged the history from that time and also the recent history from Zapala. After lunch, a litre of beer and a very pleasant couple of hours, Juan took me back to the hotel in Zapala.
Horacio Mundano with his friend Bruno.
On Tuesday I found the veterinarian who helped me buying a horse in 1999. He too, remembered me well and after some initial talking we went to an estancia where I stayed during a couple of days: Estancia de Horacio Mundano. Horacio whom I remember as a very friendly and joyful person, appeared to be blind from diabetes. He remembered me well, ‘el Holandès loco’.. Back then I stayed with this family for two days with a lot of fun. His good friend Ruben offered maté and we again shared some of our memories. Later that day Ruben drove me back to Zapala and the bus station, where I boarded the bus to Neuquen.
Patagonian Estancia de Mundano.
At arrival in Neuquen, the bus driver did not tell me to leave the bus where I had asked him. I had to double back after even passing Cipoletti. Back in town I find a small hostel where I book for the day and a night. The next morning is started my search for a family in Cipoletti. I know them from Ushuaia, again 18 years ago. It took me some time and a lot of walking with my trolley following me across bad footpaths and rubble, but eventually I did find the right address and the family still living there.
Breakfast in the bus.
Nearly three very interesting and pleasant days followed. I was welcomed enthusiastically by Valeria, who appeared to be married to Gustavo, with a lovey daughter and a very agreeable baby boy. I was invited to join them to their ‘Campo’. The Campo appeared to have been built by themselves, in the middle of nowhere close to the shores of a large lake. The house they had build was made with clay and manure. Electricity they get from a solar panel. Since both Valeria and Gustavo speak English, we were able to communicate very well. So we discussed many subjects. I did have a wonderful time with them and they invited me back. It would love to do that.
Lookout spot in Campo.
Late on Friday night the whole family board the car to take me to the main road, where we try to stop a regular bus. The bus comes, but no matter our signalling with car lights and a lantern, the bus does not stop. So we drive a fair distance to the village where we bought beer the other day. At the bus stop there, more people who had tried to catch the bus that passed us, where arriving there to take the bus from there to Neuquen. That did work out. We parted with lots of hugs and kisses.
The whole family at their private beach.
At ‘Las Quebraditas’, with reading from ‘El canto del viento’ by Atahualpa Yupanqui.
With the night bus from Neuquen I went to Bariloche, where I did arrive during stormy weather. The lake Nahuel Huapi showed wild waters, fortunately it did not rain. A local bus took me to a ‘backpacker hostel’ at the outskirts of town. I used the day to familiarise with my new situation. I did look for a person locally known as ‘bird watcher’. At the internet I learned that he appears to be sort of famous. I found his office, but that was unattended. I did no further search and went to write my dairy, because I was behind schedule with that.
Cold and stormy in Bariloche.
Cathedral of Bariloche.
Overall, I can say that it was a very successful week.