We're Milking our Honeymoon for All It's Worth!! travel blog

Some ridiculously old church in Cordoba's main square

 

una otra vieja iglesia

 

 

One of Che Guevara's childhood homes

 

A remake of the bike Che used on one of his trips...

Chess was one of his favorite hobbies, a game made for drinking...

 

Our best Che impression

 

Alta Gracia is just an old, pretty town

Old jesuit estancia in Alta Gracia

 

 

From the jesuit estancia

 

still on the estancia

Maria Elena ran the nicest B&B that we stayed at. she was...


After we left our family, we decided to fly to Cordoba because we didn't want to subject ourselves to a measly 10 hour bus ride. This, in retrospect, was a mistake since now we are completely used to an easy 10 hour bus ride. Cordoba was really enjoyable because it was very old in some ways and very young in others. The central plaza—they sure can do plazas in Argentina—dated from 1577 with many churches and of the Franciscan and Jesuit orders. It was bustling with activity since Cordoba is also considered the educational center of Argentina with six universities located there. This includes the oldest one in the country dating back to around the same time as the central plaza. There are law schools, religious universities, and many other smaller schools as well, leading a vibrant and active scene. Thus, the town is bustling with the youth of Argentina in this oldest of old cities. Dinners would start around 10pm amongst 400 year old buildings and many students wouldn't return home until 6am. We didn't partake in the late nightlife but we know this because we had to leave for our flight on Saturday morning at 6am and many people were still out and just coming home. How they do it, I don't know, but they sure do.

After getting kicked out of our first hostel, we found a closer one that served us just fine. At the first one, we had the best roommate who came in so late and slept till the afternoon that we never even exchanged a word. After settling in, we spent a day or so just walking around the city, getting our bearings, walking past buildings hundreds of years old while young students crossed in and among the peatonals (pedestrian streets). Then, over the next few days we got down to business. We wandered through the Palacio Ferreyra which was filled with some of the most beautiful paintings from the Cordoba School of Painting. It resembled the impressionists but used much more vibrant colors and really captured the South American landscape beautifully. The building itself was magnificent. The attic of the palace housed the modern art collection which included some beautiful Picasso sketches. We planned our first Clase de Espanol and figured out when we would try to get to the small town of Alta Gracia, which is known for two tourist attractions: an old Jesuit estancia and for being Che Guevara's home town where he spent most of his childhood years. The truth is that he had many hometowns as a kid, since his family moved around quite a bit while he was young to try to treat his harsh asthma.

Alta Gracia is where he spent the majority of his childhood, and we visited the house that he spent the most time in. It was turned into a museum within the last few years and it held a lot of childhood photographs, some old report cards, his chess set, a replica of his bicycle and motorcycle with which he took his legendary trips. It was pretty cool to read some accounts from his still-living nanny, who spoke of how he was always reading when young and how he helped her around the house. Nice to hear abut him as a child because I have recently read his long biography by John Anderson, and it portrayed him as an exceptionally serious adult, though it did relate some of his fun-loving personality as a youngster as well.

We thoroughly enjoyed the tranquil town of Alta Gracia for its history, but also because we loved the B&B that we stayed in. It was a very homey house, but we also enjoyed it because of the senora that ran it. Elena was one of the nicest ladies we have ever met and she spoke no English, so for the first time, we were forced to speak un poco de Espanol. We almost didn't want to leave Alta Gracia just because she treated us like family. It was a bit difficult to get a meal though because restaurants didn't even open for dinner until 9-9:30. We were walking around the town at 8ish with such hunger pains looking for dinner, going into restaurants and getting ready to sit down to an empty room, when we realized people were looking at us like we were aliens or something. Seriously, is 8 o'clock so early too have dinner? Obviously not, but it's just a cultural difference and another lesson in relativity and that there are so many truths that are possible. This trip sure has taught me a lot about that already. Not that I didn't realize it already, but this trip has just made it so visual and clear day after day.

It was also in Alta Gracia that we decided that we enjoyed traveling through small towns rather than the large cities. There is usually more character, more interaction with locals, and we learn more than just participating in tourist activities. It is a little more difficult, however, to travel through small town since there usually isn't as much infrastructure. The buses aren't as accessible, less English speakers, and less accommodation options, but at the same time the experiences seem more genuine. Every time we've been in a smaller town, we've really enjoyed ourselves. We still had to get back to Cordoba for our Spanish lesson. We were so excited for the end of the week anyway because we were headed to the beautiful Lakes District to meet Jenny and Lee!!!



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