Back into the cities – Cordoba and Buenos Aires

From Cafayate I went to Tucuman first and then caught a bus to Cordoba.  A guy from the hostel was heading the same way, so when we go to Tucuman we stopped for dinner and saw a bit of the city center before getting on the night bus to Cordoba.

Cordoba

We arrived in Cordoba at 6am and it was still dark and cold outside so we just chilled out in the station for a bit.  Once it got light out we set out in search of a hostel that my friend Steve (Canadian guy) had recommended.  I thought I knew where it was, but I was a little bit off  so we ended up walking around for at least an hour before finding it..whoops.  When we did find it, though, it was a great hostel, so worth the search.  We walked around the city and went to a museum in the center that was interesting.  The museum was actually a place that they used to detain/torture people during the dark period in the 80’s.  It was creepy to be in the place where so many horrible things had happened, but I thought it was good for them to turn it into a museum so the people would never forget what had happened.

Other than that I just walked around a closeby park and saw a little bit of the city before eating  at the hostel that evening.

The next morning I headed out to Los Gigantos which is part of a mountain range about an hour outside of Cordoba with some cool trekking.  I knew it would be cold that day, but I wasn’t prepared for how windy it would be there.  The winds were 50+km/hr which made the trekking sooo cold.  The trekking wasn’t that difficult, but you had to scramble to get to the very top.  The two girls that were with me were not really dressed appropriately for climbing and it was a little bit too dangerous to scramble to the top with the wind as crazy as it was.  We went close to the top though and overall it was a cool trek.

That evening I was determined to make it to a tango class.  I had researched a place earlier that I wanted to go, but when I showed the location to the guy at the front desk he said that the area across the bridge was not too safe, which is of course where I wanted to go.  The place was just across the bridge, so I walked to the bridge, then ran from the bridge to the tango place, haha.  It was very intimidating to walk into the tango studio, especially since all I had to wear for shoes were my red trail running shoes.  Once we started it wasn’t too awkward though.  After the lesson they have a milonga which is just a time for everyone to stay and practice.  Its crazy because people of all ages stay at the milongas until 2am or later, even though they have to work the next day.  Its just a time for them to relax and dance and they don’t worry about getting to sleep late…Its such a different culture.

The next day I headed to a closeby town called Alta Gracia to check out the Che Guevara museum.  I felt really ignorant because it seemed like all of the other travelers from different places in the world knew all about him and I barely recognized the name.  I later did some research and its really interesting stuff.

That evening I headed to the bus station to catch my last SA overnight bus to Buenos Aires..

Buenos Aires

I had contacted the guy from Hendersonville, Don, that I met in CdP since I knew he lived here.  He had offered to let me stay with him, so I took him up on the offer.  At first I was nervous that maybe it wasn’t a good idea, or maybe I had read him wrong, but once I got to his place, I felt comfortable and knew it was ok.  The first day we explored the parks and bars in Palermo, and went to a party at his friend’s house that evening.  I was SO tired at the end of the night – aka around 5am.  Its so hard to stay up that late when you aren’t used to it.

Needless to say I woke up really late the next day and we eventually made it to the Recoletta area and headed to the famous cemetery there.  All the graves are so ornate its really impressive.  I was told however that people’s families have to continue paying rent for people buried there or else they move them out somewhere else…craziness.  I can’t imagine what it costs to be buried there.  Only the very well-to-do people can be buried there.  We were surprised that Eva Peron’s grave was not incredibly elaborate.  I guess it makes sense though because it symbolizes how she cared about the people and didn’t want to stand out from everyone else when she was alive.

We walked around for the rest of the day in that area and the microcenter area.  I had also convinced Don to take a tango class with me, so we headed there before going back to his place.  The class was a lot of fun and it was so enjoyable to watch the instructors dance together at the end of the class.  It really is such an amazing dance.  That night we pre-gamed again at his place until 1am and then finally headed out.  We went to a really interesting bar with a live funk band, that later turned into a dance club with a dj.  It was lots of fun, but once again super tiring getting home at 6am.

So again, we got up really late and then headed to Boca.  The buildings are all extremely colorful.  The history behind it is that the people living there were very poor and they didn’t have money for paint so they just used whatever paint they could find on the ships to paint the houses.  It was cool to see that even the buildings off the mainstrip were painted the same way as the touristy strip.  We walked by the Boca futbol stadium and then into San Telmo.  There was a huge street fair that day and the atmostphere was really lively with drum bands and other music.  We spent the rest of the afternoon there and then had a great steak dinner that night : )  Argentina is known for its meat, and it definitely lived up to its reputation!

The next day Don had to go back to work, but I met up with an Australian friend that I had met in Cordoba that had just made it to Buenos Aires.  We walked around ALL DAY, hitting some of the areas I had already been, but also Puerto Madreo which was new to me.  We had dinner and drinks that night.  My plan was to go to one more tango class, but unfortunately I had run out of cash for the day and couldn’t go 😦  Its hard when you know you are leaving a country soon because you try to use your cash just right so that you don’t have leftover cash to exchange.  The class wouldn’t take a credit card, so I just headed home.

The next morning I had everything all planned out to get a shuttle to the airport for half the cost it would be for a taxi.  I had to catch a train, then walk a bit, and then catch the bus.  Everything went perfect…until I got to the airport and realized that I was at the wrong one!!!  I wanted to throw myself on the ground and have a tantrum right there and then.  Fortunately, for me and everyone else, I managed to keep it together, get to the other airport  an hour later and $170 pesos poorer, and somehow make it onto my flight.  Oh well..you make mistakes, and all you can do is suck it up and keep going.  I’m glad it all worked out so that I could head home for about 10 days!!

Link to pictures:

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10100102172178297.2421198.36615774&type=1&l=b6fc6baac4

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