After two days of rest and recuperation in Mendoza (it rained none stop) I took an overnight bus, north, to Córdoba.
Despite being Argentina’s second city it doesn’t overwhelm you like Buenos Aires, and is everything a city should be – vibrant, fun, manageable in size and (in places) gorgeous to look at.
I focused on exploring some of the cities highlights, as well as bolting on a couple of day trips.
While a guided tour of the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba may sound a tad boring, to most people, it was actually a fascinating insight into the Jesuite movement. The delightful tour takes you on a whirlwind ride through the ages, encompassing the history of Córdoba, Argentina, the Jesuits, and the university’s museum and library.
The term ‘La Vida Loco’ probably best sums up hostel Baluch Backpackers. I have never stayed in a place quite like it. I was sharing a dorm room with 5 Israeli girls. Their clothes spent most of the time strewn across the dorm floor. It was like a lingerie obstacle course getting to my bed – with bras, panties, and a myriad of other ‘girlie things’ littering the approach.
The first person I met on arriving at the hostel was Gary. Gary was from Texas and probably in his mid forties. Boy could he talk. I had no choice but to listen to the graphic description of his recent life. Four years ago he was involved in a serious road traffic accident. A cop car ran into the back of his car and left him with serious neck injuries. A year later he was diagnosed with cancer. The cancer nearly killed him. But after major surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, he managed to beat it. Earlier this year he was given the ‘all clear’ and decided to jack it all in and go travelling.
That evening Baluch Backpackers erupted into life when the drinking games began. There was no English spoken, just Spanish, despite the fact that the place mainly consisted of Germans and Israelis (irony there on two counts). The party was still going at 4am when I gave in and went to my bed – obstacle course negotiated. At least I got to perform my ‘four person-two finger’ levitation trick, which went down a storm.
After losing their operating funds to pirates off the coast of Brazil, the Jesuits produced and sold wine from Jesús María to support their university in colonial Córdoba. The town is located 51km north of Córdoba and makes for a delightful day trip. The Jesuit mission here is apparently one of the best examples, of its kind, in the region. Museo Jesuítico Nacional de Jesús is easily accessed, set in a peaceful rural setting, it’s been wonderfully preserved and restored, and is crammed full of artefacts.
Only 35km southwest of Córdoba, the colonial mountain town of Alta Gracia is steeped in history. Its illustrious residents have included Jesuit pioneers, poets, and revolutionary Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara. I wanted to learn a bit more about ‘El Che’ so I visited the house where he was brought up, now a well stocked museum.
Despite the continuing rain my stay in Córdoba was absolutely awesome.
Next stage: Córdoba to Salta.