Lore’s sister married on Saturday. We rode up to Villa Giardino, a small tourist town in the Sierras de Córdoba, for the wedding. They were married in a little chapel by an impatient priest (they were very late). In Argentina all marriages are civil marriages (probably the right way to do it), so after the church wedding everybody rode to the Casa de Municipalidad (city hall) for a civil ceremony by a judge.
The bride and groom rode to and from the church and city hall in a little horse-drawn cart. It was adorable if dilapidated. One spring was partly busted, causing the cart to list slightly, and the wheels wobbled on their axle as if they might fall off at any moment. Nonetheless, the cart’s proprietor was very proud of his vehicle. He adorned both cart and horse in white cloth and ribbons. This is not the usual even for rural Argentina, so I’m told, so as we followed the cart in a car around town, everybody on the streets waved and honked and laughed at the spectacle.
Argentinian weddings start late and last all night. The wedding reception was very similar to American weddings, at least for the first six hours or so. Then around 2:30 a.m., just after cake, it officially became the zaniest wedding I have ever been to. Somebody must have flipped the crazy switch because suddenly people were wearing big funny hats (or in some cases plastic prosthetic boobs) and spraying foam all over, sort of like a wild New Year party. The DJ switched to a local variant of Latin music known as cuarteto. There were no slow dances, only fast and faster. We finished up around 5:00 a.m., shortly after the arrival of la pata (roast leg of a cow).
Lore’s family held the reception at a resort outside the village that had been converted from an estancia (a rural estate or plantation). The reception hall was formerly a pulperia, a saloon for gauchos. Since the busy tourist season hasn’t begun yet, the resort was only open for the wedding. Those of us who stayed at the hotel–friends of the bride and groom–pretty much had the place to ourselves. We took advantage by lounging around in the garden all afternoon after lunch.
After we checked out, Lore and I walked around town and up a rural road known as Camino de los Artesanos, which has many little craft shops, tea houses, and the like. We walked almost all the way to the next village to find a wine and cheese shop. If you’ve ever had a truly beautiful moment that you wanted to freeze so you could return to it at any time, then you know what it was like: we watched the sun set behind the sierras as we sipped wine and nibbled on fresh cheese and bread. A couple of local dogs joined us, lounging under the table and occasionally begging us with their eyes to let them sample a new kind of cheese. As if that wasn’t enough, three gauchos rode past us on horses.