Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cordoba, and my empanada reunion

As it turns out, the city of Cordoba is great, and the surrounding mountain towns are even better! It's been a blast exploring with Claire, being together again after so much time, and getting back into the Argentine groove (albeit, with a cordobes accent). I am also thankful for being reunited with (possibly in this order):

1. empanadas de carne (chau, vegetarianism)
2. piropos and the strange tipos that tirar them
3. the word boludo

The 22 hour bus ride from Iguazu to Cordoba actally wasn't so bad, because I splurged on a cama class seat on the bus, which is essentially an enormous leather chair that goes all the way back. Plus, it came with a delicious mystery meat dinner and coffee and a slightly stale medialuna for breakfast... practically perfect! Besides, I was too doped up on dramamine (should I start buying their stock??) to care whether or not I had been sleeping for 5 hours or 22 hours or 100. I slept almost the entire time... basically, I'm Rip Van Winkle with less facial hair.

Sundays in the city of Cordoba, I can assure you, are worth skipping, as the city essentially shuts down. Claire and I were still happy because we had both each other and approximately a million things to catch up on, so the day passed quickly, despite the closed store fronts and quiet streets. We're back now, and looking forward to a day of mid-week city exploration tomorrow, followed by a mate and asado reunion with my cordobes Scout friends I met in Machu Picchu! Can't wait.

(Here's an actual picture of the asado! Because I'm a late picture poster.)

We spent Monday and Tuesday exploring some of the surrounding areas. First we headed to the adorable Villa General Belgrano, a 1.5 hours bus ride from Cordoba (on a bus called Lep, which I would not stop serenading with "to the lep! to the lep!" because not only am I a Beyonce fan, but I am also my father's daughter and never miss a chance for a terrible joke), and home of Oktoberfest and about 10 microbreweries. Needless to say, it was a tiny little slice of small town paradise, and Claire and I had a perfect afternoon strolling the kitschy-but-still-cute streets, popping into shops, sampling some beers, dipping our toes in the river, and climbing 98 stairs of a tower for a nice city view. I would love to get back there someday for their famous Oktoberfest, which I hear is a great one.

We then took another bus about 20 minutes to the nearby Santa Rosa, where we planned to explore and spend the night. The town is also cute, though without half the character and charm of the first. Though we're sure they receive tourism, the spectacle of two redheads walking down the street with backpacks drew a lot of stares, and made for an interesting walk to the tourist office. Turns out, we really should have booked something in advance, and we ended up in a kind of even-when-its-clean-its-dirty type hotel room with a monster truck parked outside (couldn't make that up if I tried) and the smell of mold wafting lazily through the air. No matter, we had dinner, wandered a bit, and got some sleep. Sadly, in the morning, after putting on our bathing suits and planning to head to the river for a dip, it got really cold and started to rain, so we ended up in a cafe drinking coffee and scheming.

We eventually headed to our final destination, La Cumbrecita, another highly recommended town of dirt roads and a no-cars-allowed policy. The plan was to climb Cerro Wank (Wank Hill), or at least take our picture next to the sign (because the name RULES) but we arrived and it was raining torrentially by that point. We tried exploring, but although the town looked adorable, it was really not a rainy day spot, and we heard it would be raining for a couple days, most likely. We ended up enjoying some lunch and beers and heading back to Cordoba early. Though admitedly it is a total bummer that we didn't get to explore the hiking trails as planned, it honestly but still a great little getaway out of the city for us girls, and was not at all time lost.

Should be in Rosario by Thursday and Buenos Aires by Saturday! Can't wait for some more sweeet reunions.