From small town relaxin' to big city sweatin'...Monday afternoon we begrudgingly left Alta Gracia and rolled back into Cordoba.
And two nights in Argentina's second largest city was enough for us. The streets downtown are narrow and crowded, the traffic is frequent and loud. Our hostel was pleasant enough and remarkably clean (especially given it's immense size). But after only a few hours in the city, these country mice were ready to get on the next bus out.
We realize that we were being terribly unfair to Cordoba. There are many incredible sights to be seen - museums, immense churches, art galleries. In 2006 it was given the distinction of being the "cultural capital of the Americas" for good reason, and we didn't even give it much of a chance. However, we don't take all the blame.
Besides the crowding effect of the noise from the busy city - the extreme heat was completely intolerable - a muggy 43 degrees!! I realize that many of you will have no sympathy for us having to deal with extreme heat while it hovers around -30 back home, but SERIOUSLY, it was near impossible to take. All I wanted to do was strip down and lay flat out on the bed while the fan above me spun at full speed. And I did do that for much of the time!
Anytime we ventured out, we were sure to never be far from somewhere air-conditioned. We enjoyed a movie in a nice air-conditioned theater, walked through a mall just to cool down, and dipped into stores or coffee shops when necessary to escape the hot pavement. Pete actually said at one point: "Let's not walk down that street, it looks too sunny."
We did our best to take in some of the sights, with some failures (thanks to our dated version of Lonely Planet!) We went to see the restored Jesuit Crypts, but missed the opening hours due to some misinformation. We then wanted to take in the Museo de La Memoria - a museum dedicated to Argentina's military dictatorship - only to find the building torn down. We were pretty disappointed, especially given the sweaty effort it took to get to these locations.
We did, however, get to see some of the city's beautiful colonial architecture. We have heard from many people that Argentina has a very European flair, and we never really felt it before getting to Cordoba. It is a genuine mix of old and new, which is why it is a popular tourist destination. Another time...another temperature...and perhaps we will more thoroughly check it out.
Today we continued our trek north with another short bus ride to La Cumbre, a small town that is world renowned for it's paragliding. Aafke will be joining us once again tomorrow, and thus there is talk of more paragliding or perhaps even skydiving (I, however, choose life, and will sit this one out). Thankfully, there are plenty of other things to do in this little town to keep me occupied while they throw themselves out of a plane. Even if it means just sitting in our quaint, charming hostel and listening to the birds chirp outside our window, while the temperature hovers at a more tolerable 25 degrees. This country mouse is happy again.
A few pics of what we did see in Cordoba!