Cordoba

Trip Start Jan 10, 2008
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42
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Trip End May 29, 2008


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Cordoba Backpackers

Flag of Argentina  , Central Argentina,
Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Asaf

After we found out it took two whole days to make it deep into Patagonia we broke down and bought a flight.  This was an expensive alternative but on the positive side gave us an extra two days that we decided to spend in Cordoba, Argentinaīs colonial capital.  Cordoba is the second largest city in the country but since half the country lives in greater Buenos Aires, that comparison doesnīt describe the city well; itīs actually not too big.  Most of the sights are within walking distance of the center and it was a big relief from the subways and taxis we were forced to take in BA.  We woke up around midday after recovering from the overnight bus and since we missed breakfast we decided that it would be a good opportunity to go to a parilla libre, AKA buffet lunch.  Besides being a gateway into Argentine cuisine this was one of the best buffet lunches I have ever had, ever.  The main attraction of course, is the parilla (grill) that featured many different cuts of meat or veal but also had chorizos, pork and chicken.  Next up was salads, sushi, bread, spanish style tapas (olives, cured meats, cheeses), things with cheese melted on them, international and typical dishes, make your own pasta, make your own seafood and of course the potato isle.  Lastly was the desert section that had freshly made crepes, fresh fruit, different cakes and of course ice cream.  As you might imagine we walked out about 200 pounds heavier. 
Right afterwards we started waddling through the streets of Cordoba.  The colonial center turned out to be quite small and compact.  We were a little dissapointed there wasnīt more after what we had read about the city but were pleasently surprised by the endless pedestrian streets.  European style, cobble lined streets free of cars that are filled with stores, restaurants, artisans and performers.  Nearly the entire center and almost everywhere that was the colonial heart of the city is now on a pedestrian street.  After exhausting nearly everything there was to see in the center we went to the gigantic Parque Sarmiento.  Even though the park is interlaced with streets we still found a relaxing spot to rest our feet and relax during our afternoon buzz; I love giant Argentinian beers.  On our last day there we needed to kill some significant time before our night bus and we headed an hour outside the city to Alta Gracia, Ernesto "Che" Gueveraīs childhood home. 
The peaceful mountain town is one of several Jesuit Estancias in the Cordoba region that were settled by the group during the colonial period and as such contains some modest jesuit architecture.  For us though, the real draw was the small "Che" museum located in his former home.  Before this trip started I knew nothing behind the ubiquitess Che image.  If youīre not sure what Iīm referring to, itīs the head of a bearded man wearing a beret usually in black and white.  Our interest with his life first started after reading the Motorcycle Diaries (thanks Wirt) but the museum taught us a much more detailed history of his entire life.  It was interesting to see the evolution from a young asthmatic child turn into a young traveler like ourselves.  During his travels he witnessed life changing events that launched his political career, beginning with the Cuban Revolution.  Today with communism and revolutions all but instinct, his ideas and philosophy seem incredibly radicle but I canīt help thinking how much he contributed to the spirit of the time (Beatles-Revolution, comes to mind).  Itīs no wonder that his young spirit lives on forever in that famous pose.

Becca

Cordoba has a ton of universities so one of the first things I noticed about the city is that it is FULL of young people, which is cool. I really loved wandering around the pedestrian streets and think that is such a brilliant idea for a city center - I wish cities in the US had this. It makes shopping and errands so much more pleasant without blaring horns in your face...though I was perplexed how it was packed at all hours of the day...do people just not work, ever? Who knows. The buffet lunch was too much for me personally...I always leave those places just feeling bad. But it was quite a sight to see, one of the biggest buffets ever, and it was fun to watch Asaf stuff his face with meat. And yes, for the record I have been trying meat along my travels (especially here in Argentina)....and while I admit that it is pretty good, I donīt think I could or would ever be able to eat an entire steak persay. But I suppose my days of vegetarianism are over for good. The park was also very pretty and I had a blast playing on the swing...ah the simple things in life. We had great weather while we were here, too - sunny and a little cool, but not too cool. Iīm glad we went to Alta Gracia for our last day because it was very quaint and a little more quiet there. Plus, it was interesting to see Cheīs house museum, because as Asaf said we have read alot about him (and saw the movie), and  of course seen his image all over South America.
Overall, was a nice pleasant stay here but I was even more excited for our next destination...the wine country....
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