Two people exploring the world, seeking adventure & unique experiences.
Cafayate to Cordoba
We started off with a 6.30pm bus leaving Cafayate going to Tucuman (185 pesos / $13 ea). This would take around 4.5 hours to arrive at the big bus station in Tucuman through some scenic roads and also some twisty bends on narrow roads. We then decided to get straight onto an overnight bus to Cordoba (408 pesos / $30 ea) that would get us in at around 8am.
It was a Saturday morning and there was a lot of accommodation near the bus station but it was either full or beyond our budget. We would end up settling on a simple private room for 150 pesos ($10.70) but the shared bathroom situation was not so pleasant and Rodora chose not to shower as she felt a shower would make her dirtier then she currently was.
The city itself is a major transport hub due to its location near Buenos Aires and connecting North and Southbound buses. The centre is fairly historical and pleasant to look at, but we didn’t explore it as closely as we could have.
Alta Gracia and Che Guevara
Toby was keen to go on an adventure to the town of Alta Gracia. To get there required a bit of running around between bus stations. Perhaps it was a break in communication as to the next time for a bus and from where. In the end it was a 1 hour bus ride for 20 pesos ($1.40). In all honesty, this town probably deserved an overnight spot. It’s the type of place we really enjoy. Small town with lots of natural beauty. In summer this town is packed with tourists though, so it loses some of its appeal.
The main reason for going is that it was the childhood home of Che Guevara. To some that probably doesn’t mean a lot, but when you’ve travelled through Latin America for a while you start to pay attention to these things. He is most famous for being a major figure in the Cuban Revolution as noted by this picture. Many people probably blindly buy shirts and other souvenirs with his faced branded on it, but there’s more to it than that.
There’s certainly a lot we didn’t know about him until we did some more research. He was lucky to travel long and far throughout Latin America and realise the inequalities that existed amongst the neighbouring countries. If you’ve heard of the “Motorcycle Diaries” which was originally a book that became a New York Times best seller you’ll note the long distances he covered. The house even has the original bike he used for this trip.
The museum is almost entirely in Spanish, however, they’ve created a colour handout in English to make life easier for foreigners. You really only need maybe an hour of time here depending on how deeply you want to read and view every inch of the museum.
The town is famous for being centred around an old Reservoir built by the Jetsuits and used for irrigating crops.
There is also a large Jetsuit estancia, turned into a museum right next to the reservoir and main square. It’s worth a look inside for the small admission cost of 15 pesos ($1).
Toby’s sprained ankle
On the way back from Alta Gracia, Toby managed to miss some steps in a dark park and sprain his right ankle. This was certainly a little distressing at the time as his foot blew up to the size of a balloon. We sought medical attention the next morning and ran into the luck of free Argentinian health care. Rodora had spoken to the hotel receptionist who then contacted an emergency medical assistance line. Within 30 minutes we had two doctors in the hotel room examining the foot. This provided us with the same result we expected which was we needed to get an xray of the foot to confirm no bones were broken.
We were soon in a taxi and arriving at the nearby emergency hospital with expectations of expensive bills to be paid. Upon arrival the reception scrawled down a name and sent us to a room with a line of other people. Our Spanish was surely going to be put to the test here. We’d quickly learned the Spanish word for Sprain is “Esguince” soon followed by musculo for muscle and Hueso for bone.
Assuming that a sprain is far from an emergency and it being 1pm on a Sunday afternoon, we thought we were in for a long wait. We were truly shocked when we entered into the examination in under 30 minutes. With some luck, one of the young attendees spoke some English and Toby could convey his message. Another 10 minutes of waiting and Toby was into the x-ray room. The staff were really amazingly friendly and happy people. Toby seems to think they were quite surprised with his level of Spanish and ability to communicate some simple things.
The final test came as Toby was wheeled in his wheel chair to the room with the results of the x-ray. He was confronted by 4 people and the senior doctor decided to practice his English skills at this moment. It was a rather amusing mix of him asking his younger colleague if he was saying things correctly. The final result was a bad sprain with no bone fractures. It was recommended for 1 week of rest and light activities.
The biggest surprise came as Toby was wheeled out to the Taxi waiting area and told he could leave. At this point we had not paid a single peso nor really given them any personal information. It turns out that a majority of emergency care in Argentina is supplied for free. Amazing! Just simply amazing!
Rodora exploring Cordoba
Cordoba is a beautiful city with some beautiful churches. While Toby was immobile, Rodora checked out the beautiful churches and colonial buildings the city had to offer. Below are some photos of the beautiful buildings.
There is nothing quite like sitting in a square and people watching. There were many coffee shops with deals for coffee and medialunas (pastries). Rodora was quite happy to sit and do this for hours as the coffee, pastries and the scenery were all fantastic.
Plenty more to explore. Keep following the blog and our Flickr account for updates. http://www.flickr.com/photos/toraadventure/
*Note that all our Argentinian values are converted at the Dolar Blue rate of around 14 pesos is equal to US$1. The official rate is much closer to 8 pesos is equal to US$1 at the time of writing (Sept 2014)