Last known location: London, England

Choripan and Cocktails

The 20 hour bus ride to Cordoba was, predictably, horrific, and took about 22 hours.  Dan got hardly any sleep, and must have looked so uncomfortable that the assistant driver took pity on him at 4 in the morning and upgraded him to business class, on the lower deck!  Fortunately he did manage to get a couple of hours of shut eye in the superior seats.  Poor old me was left in cattle class, but I’d already out slept him so can’t complain!

Once we’d finally made it to Cordoba all we wanted to do was have a shower and stretch our legs a bit. We hoped our digs, at the Pomelo Hostel, would at least let us shower even if it was too early to get our room. We got a taxi from the bus terminal and rang the doorbell to be let in. No answer. We tried again but still nothing. Deciding that maybe they weren’t expecting us that early we went to a cafe down the road and had a coffee before returning at 10ish to try again. Still nothing. I was tired, so got a bit annoyed and shouted up “Hola!” in the hope this would catch someone’s attention. We even tried calling the phone number. Very frustrating because we could hear the phone ringing inside the building but no one was picking up! We were a bit worried the hostel had closed or something.

Eventually, after about 10 minutes of leaning on the doorbell, someone popped their head out of the window. He finally came down to let us in. It turned out there had been a big party the night before to celebrate the first year of the hostel opening. No one had gone to bed before 7am, which is why it had been so difficult to rouse them! Also, the hostel looked a complete tip! We waited around while our new friend got the guy who ran the place out of bed, and he took our details.  We then showered and promptly left, desperate for some space. They all went back to bed and we agreed to meet at 12 to check in formally and get our room.

After so long on the bus it was nice to get out into the fresh air. And it was pretty fresh. For the first time in a while we were wearing jumpers and shoes, rather than t-shirts and flip flops. The hostel was 2 minutes from the market and, being a Saturday, it was packed. Stalls were everywhere, lining the pavements, and there were loads of people doing their shopping. We had a look round and then headed inside the market building which was packed with butchers. There was all sorts of meat in all sorts of cuts, a good place to come if you need a skinned sheep’s head or a whole suckling pig! Bit much for me, particularly given my lack of sleep, so we went back outside before I was overcome! Suddenly it was 12 so we grabbed a juicy choripan from a stall and went back to the hostel. A few more people were up and about now so we settled down on one of the sofas to watch the England v Wales football match. By the time the game had finished our room was ready and we succumbed to our fatigue and crashed out for a few hours.

That evening we hit the streets of Cordoba. As it’s Argentina’s second city there was lots of activity, and there were still plenty of people out and about. There’s a large student population so we went to a few bars in the student area. The Argentina v USA friendly was on TV and when it finished as a 1-1 draw we made a bit of a hasty exit, slightly concerned the locals might think we were American and take issue with us! After getting a quick dinner (yet more steak for Dan, I knew it wouldn’t last!) we headed back to the bars. It was a Saturday night, after all. Everything was very quiet until well after midnight! A few cocktails later and it was 4am. Time for bed!

Due to the late night we didn’t see much of Sunday morning and had a lazy day wandering round the city. Given all the activity the previous day we were a bit surprised to find the place incredibly quiet. It was like a ghost town! Most of the shops, cafes and restaurants were closed, except for a few right in the centre of town. And there were hardly any people about. I think Sunday is very much a church and family day over here. The weather had picked up so we enjoyed our walk and covered a lot of the city, even finding a supermarket open so we could cook for ourselves that might. Pasta again, but definitely more successful than the previous attempt!

On Monday we had planned to head to Alta Gracia, a village in the mountains where Che Guevara had once lived, which we’d heard good things about.  However, fate was not on our side.  When we got to the bus station we learned that the local bus drivers were on strike, so we wouldn’t be getting out of the city today.  Oh well, another lazy day it is!  We made the most of the sunshine and the popular outside cafes and leafy squares, and spent the day further exploring.  Cordoba is a lovely city, full of 17th century churches, and the university built by the Jesuits, who seem to have left their mark here. The Jesuit crypt was also very well restored, and finally we headed inside the spectacular Iglesia Catedral to gaze at the stunning painted ceilings.

We cooked for ourselves again that evening, (or should I say Dan cooked while I watched TV?!) in a desperate attempt to get back on budget!  He managed to whip up a surprisingly good curry; we both enjoyed a bit of heat on the palette.  Another quiet night in before our next journey towards wine country!

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