28th September 1833

Buenos Ayres to St Fe
We passed it; the town is small & pretty looking, but all the Spanish towns are built on exactly the same model. There is a fine wooden bridge over the R. Luxan, a most unusual luxury in this country. We passed Areco, another small town: The country appears level, but it is not so in fact; for in various places the horizon is extensive. The Estancias are wide apart; for there is little good pasture, the plains being covered by thistles & an acrid clover. The former was two thirds grown, reaching up to the horses back at this period; it grows in clumps & is of a brilliant green, resembling in miniature a fine forest. In many parts where the ground was dry, the thistles had not even sprung from the surface, but all was bare & dusty like a turnpike road. In summer, travelling is sufficiently dangerous for the thistles furnish an excellent retreat & home for numerous robbers, where they can live, rob & cut throats with perfect impunity. There is little interest in passing over this country, few animals except the Biscatche, & fewer birds inhabit these great thistle beds.

In the evening crossed the Arrecife, on a raft made of empty barrels lashed together. We slept at the Post house on the further side. I paid this day for 31 leagues, & with a burning sun, was but little fatigued. When the days are longer, & riding a little faster, 50 leagues, as mentioned by Head, might be managed with no very great difficulty. But then it must especially be remembered that a man, who pays for 50 leagues by the post, by no means rides 150 English miles, the distance is so universally exaggerated. My 31 leagues was only 76 English miles in a straight line; allowing 4 miles for curvatures in the road will give 80 miles; Heads days journey reduced by the same proportion gives 129 miles; a much more credible distance than 150 geographical ones.

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