Trip Start Jan 29, 2010
34Trip End Oct 14, 2010
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Where I stayed
One of the mildly frustrating things about bus travel in Argentina (and Chile, for that matter) is that some of the bus stations take up several city blocks and have many exit and entry points, and it can be very confusing to figure out how the bus station is oriented relative to the city. The bus station in Tucumán, which is Argentina’s fifth largest city, is no exception. After attempting three different exits and examining my Lonely Planet map of Tucumán in excruciating detail to no avail, I finally decided to ask someone how to walk to the center of town.
That is how I met Federico, the nicest, most accommodating Argentine I have encountered during my time here
Of course, I was at first a bit suspicious of Federico’s true intentions, but he could not have been more well-intentioned. It turns out that Federico spent several months in Colorado Springs, working as a waiter. Because he was treated so well by Americans throughout his stay in the U.S., Federico told me that he likes to help tourists, especially Americans, feel just as welcome in his hometown of Tucumán. Lesson learned: Go out of your way to help tourists back home because you never know when they might return the favor.
Tucumán’s claim to fame is that it is the city where Argentina officially declared its independence from Spain in 1816. As Federico put it, Tucumán is to Argentina what Philadelphia is to the U.S. Aside from the Casa Histórica, which is the original, albeit restored, home where independence was declared, Tucumán has a number of other beautiful and historic buildings, including the aforementioned Casa de Gobierno, the Cathedral, and the former Plaza hotel. It also has a huge city park, complete with rose garden, floral clock, and of all things, a go-kart track. All these sights made for a nice afternoon of exploration, topped off by a delicious authentic Argentine dinner in my hostel.