20 Jan 2014 – 29 Jan 2014
Another (it seems like I take an infinite number of these) overnight bus later, I was in Córdoba! I made my way to my host Gabi’s house, where she, Raquel and Pablo were anxiously (because I was slightly late and Gabi had to give me the keys before she went to work) awaiting my arrival. A brief introduction later, Gabi was off, leaving me with Raquel and Pablo who very kindly took me out to the city center to show me around.
We walked around for a bit, looking at this
but because it was a Monday, practically everything was closed.
It was still pretty nice, walking around, and seeing the cool buildings Cordoba has. Except for the blistering heat, which put everyone in a kind of stupor, so after a light lunch of humita empanadas (super yummy, with corn) we headed back for a nap, with the intention of going to the swimming pool to cool off. Apparently, everyone in Cordoba had the same idea as us, because when we got to the pool, it was packed. It was still nice to be able to spend some time languidly relaxing in the (sorta) cool water for a bit. It was just as hot in the evening, so Gabi, I and some of her friends just hung out on her balcony, not doing much and trying not to move too much. It was a good way to spend the evening.
New day, new adventure! I asked Gabi and Raquel to suggest a place for me to chill out and escape the heat and their recommendation was to go to Cabalango, about an hour outside of Cordoba city. It was a little troublesome to get there – I had to take a bus to another smaller bus terminal in Carlos Paz, and then change to a bus to Cabalango, but obviously since the buses don’t have any regular schedule, what should have been an hour’s trip took more like two hours. Well, no matter, because I eventually made it to Cabalango and it was beautiful.
A lovely river running through rock formations that created little natural pools, perfect for swimming and wading and generally just relaxing.
It was exactly what I needed to get away from the oppressive heat of the city, and I even caught up on some reading.
After that, it was back to the city to go for Raquel’s birthday party!
It was really nice, meeting some of their friends and chatting, and I really hit it off with Karen, Gabi and Raquel’s Dutch flatmate. We just kept giggling about the Argentinian penchant for saying things like QUE LINDOOOOO (used to describe anything that’s marginally nice, except for food or drinks, in which case it’s QUE RICOOOO) or MI AMIGOOOOO/ MI AMOREEEEE (to complete strangers). Quite amusing, really, these Argentinians. But I love them anyway (:
Wednesday was supposed to be free museum day – all the museums in Cordoba are open to the public free of charge, and I had planned to go with Karen and her friend Debby to visit some museums. But apparently, in summer, the museums all have weird opening hours, and they were ALL closed from 1-6pm. -_-
I ended up having a lovely lunch with Karen and Debby anyway, and then heading to an Internet cafe to upload and download pictures and stuff like that. Dinner was a fun affair, with Karen cooking a nice pasta dish, and their friend Lyss making a typical Brazilian dessert, the brigaderio. Yummy stuff.
The next day was a trip to a tiny little town outside of Cordoba called Colonia Caroya to hang out with another CouchSurfer who had very kindly invited me to his home which had a…SWIMMING POOL! Awesome awesome awesome respite from the crazy heat.
I realize I have been talking about the heat without mentioning how hot it actually was – 45 to 48 degrees in the day, 32-35 degrees at night. And I thought Singapore was bad. It just goes to show, eh?
Anyway, it was nice, just hanging out and chatting with Gabi (I know, it’s weird – both my host in Cordoba, and this CouchSurfer in Colonia Caroya were called Gabi) and relaxing in the pool. In the evening though, there was a MASSIVE thunderstorm with pouring rain, howling winds, and the works. Absolutely insane, but so beautiful and such a welcome change from the heat.
However, when I woke up early the next day with the plan of heading to Parque Nacional Quebrada del Condorito, it was a ridiculous 15 degrees out. -_- I was so tempted to go back to bed and stay warm, but decided to brave the cold in the hopes of seeing some condors. Getting there was a bit of an adventure too – nobody I asked knew how to get there, except for the last lady I asked who told me that buses ran from Carlos Paz to the park, so I took a bus to Carlos Paz, only to be told that the (only) bus to Condorito was full. Thankfully, there was another bus company that passed by the park as well, and while the bus was full, the guy sold me a ticket to stand the entire hour and a half ride. When I got on the bus though, the bus still had a couple of empty seats, and I managed to find a seat! Yay!
So. After a beautiful ride through the sierras of Cordoba, the bus suddenly stops along the side of the road and the conductor announces the stop for Condorito. It was quite frankly, the middle of nowhere. But there was a dirt road leading off it, so I started walking down it. It was really really really cold and I was shivering, despite having a jacket and tights and my boots on.
Ten minutes after I started walking though, a random car stops and offers me a ride to the actual entrance of the park, two kilometers down the road, and I jump at the chance to get out of the cold. Lovely lovely people of the world. ❤
After arriving at the entrance of the park and being briefed by the park rangers about the trail, I set off. Very easy trail, with some amazing views.
Definitely worth the walk, and the weather was absolutely perfect, without the sun blazing down on me, and a very comfortable breeze to keep me cool.
I didn’t mange to see any condoritos (baby condors) learning to fly, but I spotted a couple of condors, which was pretty cool.
Rio Condorito was also really cool, although I imagine it must have been more beautiful before erosion colored the water a horrible brown at some points.
After that, it was time to hike back to the entrance
and hopefully catch a bus back to Cordoba. The bus schedule at the entrance said that there was a bus I could catch within a decent amount of time, but I ended up waiting for more than half an hour in the cold, with the vicious wind stripping me of any heat, before I gave up and decided the bus wasn’t going to come anytime soon, and hitched a ride to another town slightly further away from Carlos Paz. Yay for getting home safely!
It was a fun dinner after that with Gabi and some of her friends, who had come over. We made pizzas, and played charades (in Spanish!) and generally had a fabulous time laughing and talking and making jokes and being silly. (: great company, really!
Saturday was a day for chilling out and relaxing. We all woke up late, slacked around the house for a while, before I finally decided to get out of the house and go wandering around. I wandered around the downtown area for a bit,
had an excellent (and cheap) lunch, before heading to Paseo de Artesanos to look at the handicrafts for a bit.
I also managed to find a guy to set the quartz Johana had given me in a pendant which now gets me lots of compliments haha (: thanks Johana!
Back at home, we watched half of The Internship before the video stopped loading and we couldn’t watch any more. -_- so if anyone has the second half of the movie, please let me know.
Sunday! A day to do nothing, or to escape somewhere else. I decided to visit Capilla del Monte and San Marcos Sierras and stay the night before coming back the next day. I set out relatively early and navigated the complicated bus system to arrive at Capilla del Monte around midday.
I found a cheap hostel and headed out to visit El Zapato (“The Shoe”)
and Dique El Cajón.
It was super fun climbing over the rocks and huge stone formations.
There were also some pretty great views – I was super happy I had decided to make the trip down.
On the way back to town, I saw a sign pointing to paradise (El Paraiso) so I decided to check it out. Turned out to be a little slice of heaven tucked away at the end of a dirt road.
I would have stayed longer, but there were no street lights and I didn’t want to have to find my way back in the dark.
The next day, I was off to San Marcos Sierra, about an hour or so away from Capilla del Monte. Still took a while to get there though, because of the weird bus timings. Anyway, I got to San Marcos and boy, was it a hippie town. Nothing, absolutely nothing, was going on. People were hanging out in the main plaza practicing juggling, or making friendship bands, or playing the guitar, or just lying around int he sun doing nothing. It was nothing like I had ever seen before.
I decided to check out the hippie museum and set off to find it. Very idyllic walk.
Just before I reached the hippie museum, I saw these two people playing with a small bird that was sitting on the road. It was a gorgeous baby falcon, but it was quite odd that the bird wasn’t flying away. They eventually set the bird in the bushes to keep it out of harm’s way and I continued on my way to the hippie museum.
To call it a museum would be to use the word museum very loosely – it was more of this guy’s house which people paid to enter. He had pictures of famous celebrities and spoke for about an hour about his experiences, and that was pretty much it.
As I was walking out though, I noticed that the little baby falcon had stupidly made it’s way back to the centre of the road again, where it most certainly would have been eaten by dogs or cats, or run over by a car leaving the museum. I didn’t want to pick the bird up because I didn’t want it to be rejected by its mother for smelling like humans, but I wasn’t going to stand there and watch it get run over either, so I picked it up, surprisingly without much difficulty.
I had no idea what to do with it, and eventually, with a French girl I met, brought it to one of the neighbours living there, who informed me that it would most certainly die soon if it didn’t get water, and even then it might still die. I decided to bring the poor fellow to the vet, only to be told that the vet was closed till 6 (it was about 2pm) then. The guy gave me a box to keep the bird in anyway, and I headed back to the town to get a syringe from the pharmacy to give it some water. I fed it some water and it seemed to be getting better, but at around 5.30, it quietly died. 😦 it was very sad, but a guy, Salvador from El Salvador, who had seen me looking quite miserable came over to comfort me and he took the bird off my hands – he was going to use the feathers to make a dream catcher. So at least the bird didn’t die in vain (:
By that time, it was too late to catch a bus back to Cordoba, so Salvador showed me to a cheap hostel, and I hung out the rest of the evening with him, his wife and their adorable son, Korou.
The next day, I wandered around the town for a bit before catching the bus back to Cordoba.
I felt like I had spent enough time in Cordoba, and I was ready to leave. I had a vague idea of going to Puerto Iguazu to check out the Iguazu waterfalls, so when I got to the bus station I asked around for bus tickets. Most of the booths I asked quoted me about 1000pesos for semi-cama and about 1200 for cama, not that insane a price considering it was a 22-23 hour journey. Just as I was about to fork out a significant amount of cash for my ticket, I found a great deal – 700 for semi-cama and 820 for cama suite! Obviously, I got the cama suite and felt very pleased with myself.
I didn’t do anything much that night, and the next day, it was time to say goodbye to Gabi and friends and head off to Puerto Iguazu!