As If They Had Always Been There
Eighty-two-year-old Rodolfo Loretta keeps feeling the same passion he had for horses when he was a child. The same love he inherited from his uncle, back in 1934, when he was only 10.
Rodolfo is one of the fifteen or twenty mateo
drivers who has taken the illusions of thousands of children and tourists around the forest and lakes of the Rosebush Promenade on board the “Palermo Blonde” leaving from the zoo
gate into a different world.
He has ridden horses since he was a little child. Now he knows that his profession will not last long and will not pass from generation to generation. “Today, the youngsters do not appreciate horses and carriages in the same way we do. Therefore, this beautiful trade, typical fromBuenos Aires
, is unfortunately coming to an end”.
“At present, there are about fifteen of us and we all feel a very special atmosphere of comradeship, as we hang about together almost 365 days a year. I can assure we are friends and so are our horses” he expresses at the same time he laughes.
In the past, it would be possible to live on this trade. Today, most drivers must have an extra job. As he is retired, Rodolfo is in a different situation. But this shows us how our passions can keep us alive beyond any matter of age. The Zoo, La Rural, the Rosebush Promenade…
Just looking at them is attractive from the very beginning. These carriages have a careful decoration and keep dozens of souvenirs, most of them left by children after their ride. Baby bottles, suckers, dolls, clowns, T-shirts and drawings, among other things, have become part of each carriage. “Square carriage”, Rodolfo clarifies.
Once we resolved to get on the carriage, and after making ourselves comfortable on the white leather couch, our guide instructed the “Palermo Blonde” to start the ride. She started to trot slowly heading for Del Libertador Avenue and its fountains, at the other end of the local zoo.
As this happened, Rodolfo explained to us every detail about the most important points we would come across during our ride.
“There is La Rural
. This venue is visited by thousands of gauchos
once a year. This happens when the Argentinian countryside moves to the city” he told us almost by heart, even knowning that we were not tourists. What really mattered was to show us what a typical ride was like.
Thus, always trotting, the Blonde left behind the Botanical Garden entrance, the zoo, the Japanese Garden
and the mysterious and silver Planetarium to finally reach the lakes and forests of the beautiful Palermo Rosebush Promenade. Each point had its corresponding description.
Almost one hour had passed since our departure when the Blonde stopped by a beautiful fountain to drink some water. She would drink in such a natural way that it made us think that this was part of her daily routine.
A well-deserved stop. With a firm trot and step by step, along with Rodolfo, she managed to show us through a Palermo that turned out to be totally different from the one we thought we knew so well. Horse and owner taught us that travelling to the past is something we can do even today in the great City of Buenos Aires. We just need to have a break, get on and give free rein to our childhood dreams.
There is simply nothing like a horse-drawn carriage. Contact: Mateos de Plaza Italia
, opposite the city zoo.