Title: Not the best trip from BA to Cordoba
Location: Cordoba, Argentina
This was the question posed to me as we arrived in Cordoba, a mere nine hours by bus (Chevallier) from Buenos Aires, but given that the movies and lights were on most of the night and then we were woken early by music, not the best trip. This wasn't good...How the 'eck were we going to get back to BA, walk?! I decided to let the issue lie for a while to allow the water to cool...
And so to Cordoba. Centre of Argentina really, right next to these small hills they call the Sierras, and second largest city in the country. Very like its namesake in Spain. And hot, very hot...42+ degrees Celcius for the three days we were there. We checked into a hotel recommended by our friends, who had reconnoitered the place the previous week, which thankfully had air-con.
That afternoon we ventured outside to sort out the next few days activity with plans of city tours, walking tours in the parks etc, etc, only to discover that almost everywhere was shut either because they had all gone down to the river to cool off, or had gone on holiday for the month, Jan being the major holiday
Happy anniversary Full Image
month for Argies, or were just hiding. We had wanted to go walking but the tour companies said it was too hot and the parks didn't have enough shade to stop gringo walkers suffering from heat exhaustion before the first hour was up. The pavements were melting and it was too much to even walk around. We found an open empanada (mini-pasty) bakery, grabbed some while having a lovely chat with the owners from northern Argentina, using our Spanish, then retreated to the aircon in our hotel room. Not a good start then, it seemed we would be trapped here until we could get the first night bus back to ..... oh oh, not time to bring that subject up yet!
That evening we went along to a tango show that the lying planet had said we worthwhile at the El Arrobal restaurant. Without reservation they just managed to squeeze us in behind a pillar, but we food was ok and the show was fun, not just tango dancing but singing and music too. A couple of bottle of fine argentinian red later we were well into it, along with a large family party who had taken 80% of the restaurant (hence the being squeezed in) because of the grandparents wedding anniversary. We managed to sort of get ourselves involved to the extent that champagne and cake came our way at the appropriate moment and a couple of the old ladies came over to talk to us about either their visit to London once or just to pass the time of night. Good fun had by all.
Realising we couldn't be in the city because of the heat, we booked a day tour on a (air-con equipped) bus around the local sights and into the hills, figuring it would be cooler there. Sure enough, the next day we had a great trip to a little place called Mina Clavero. Literally - the trip there was great, over the hills, along the Camino de Las Altas Cumbres (although if they think these are 'high peaks' then they dont get out much in their own continent), stopping off at a couple of great viewpoints where a cooling wind blew and we were higher enough to notice a temperature drop. Then back into the heat to Mina itself, where we were deposited in the town and pointed at the river before being told the bus would pick us up three hours later. Now for the locals this was bliss - they have a lot of shallow slow flowing, rock filled or beach edged rivers which they love to come down to in the heat and wallow. Cordobans come for day trips and the locals join them, like hippos lying in six inches of water with just enough skin above water to breath and/or catch the sun. Safe sun is unheard of here and we saw soooo many people with a lovely red colour, still lying around in the blazing sun - they'll regret it...
So we took our meager picnic and newspaper down to the river and sat in the shade watching the world go by, and after a while you can understand why they all do it. Its the only cool place around and they can have this sort of weather for weeks at a time in Jan and Feb, although I understand it isn't usually this bad, they have dammed the river a way up to create a sort of pool so that it is chest height, otherwise its all ankle depth.
After this we went to a museum called the Museo Rocsen (in your Lying Planet ), which was vaguely organized but fascinating museum of virtually any subject you could think of, not claiming to be comprehensive or authoritative but actually just fun to look around. From Catholic relics to cinema projectors, to printing machines, gemstones, and dead beetles, it was all there, including a shrunken head - cool.
On the journey back we stumbled across the entire city of Cordoba, who had raised themselves from their wallowing, in their cars trying to go home, and so it was we got into the first traffic jam of the last nine months and got back to the hotel four hours later than expected and collapsed gratefully into our air-conned bed.
Besides all the adventures, the immersion classes are going great. It is challenging, but very interesting. All our outings allow us to use our Spanish here in Cordoba, Argentina. And that's the best way.