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An unforgettable experience

A very special experience and close contact with the local culture, is to live a country day at Don Pedro Soto's house, inside the Leones Valley. He and his wife have lived in the same place for more than 40 years, a simple house, fruit trees, orchards, chickens, sheep, cattle and horses, some pens for animals and more than 1000 hectares of valley, mountains and glaciers complete the landscape that has surrounded them all his life.

Visiting them is a pleasure. Cozy and cheerful, they welcome the tourist simply in their own house, a little room with the wood-burning stove in the middle, where they always boil the teterite for the mate and the hostess has something to offer.

They have a lot to tell about all this life living in the isolation of Aysén and they like to share with the tourist their daily life, where every day has a surprise.

In March we were witnessing and participating in the sign of the new cattle, where they marked them in the ear and so Don Pelluco and his neighbors know who are the animals that during the winter will seek to feed in the open field.

Everything started with Don Germán Fuentes who prepared a room of beef for the diners of that day. On the other hand, in the kitchen, the housewife and other women cooked potatoes, chopped lettuce, onion and tomato, as well as being attentive to the arrival of the owner of the farm with the animals to the corral. After half a day, the troop arrives, about five horsemen on horseback, and about sixty cattle, big and small, all enter the corral. First stage of the day, animals are already surrounded. Don Pelluco closes the corral and arranges with the helpers and their families to the lunch.

Around the fire, and the meat, people have gathered, mostly young families, relatives of the owners and some friends, like us who have been with a couple of Australians. Little by little the salads arrive, the boot with the red wine that begins to walk from man to man, making the stream of wine enters direct from long distance and finally mister Pelluco, the head of the affair, cleans a sharp knife and begins to cut the meat roasted to the fire.

They all take their plates and receive their ration, boiling, greasy and tasty like no other meat in the world. Good wine and salad, hot new potatoes complete an unforgettable dish in Patagonia. Amena talks and many "cheers" to celebrate such a pleasant encounter.

After eating and drinking, the gauchos are arranged to make the catch of the day. You have to separate the calves from the cows to mark the new ones. They know what their patterns are and they refuse to be marked. Two knife cuts in the right ear differentiate them from neighboring animals. The job takes more than a couple of hours, until everyone is left with their marks. Meanwhile, the group of gauchos, naturally alert to any unforeseen actions, remain awake and playful.

Finish the day early and the owner retire to rest, after taking his mate of the afternoon, this time with bread and jam, a sweet mate. We retired also having witnessed an unforgettable day, which perhaps few Chileans and certainly many less Australians will have again in their life.

Before making a reservation, check the date for this field day in Aysén.