Saturday, October 8, 2005

The Sierras

I figure it's time for another update. Although it's been a pretty sedate week or so. I arrived in Cordoba and headed straight up to La Cumbre. Supposedly it´s one of the best places to paraglide (they hosted the World Paragliding Championships several years ago). Unfortunately, the winds were not in my favor and I was unable to jump off of any more mountains. In lieu of that, I went on a brief horse back ride. Not having been on a horse in over 20 years, brief was good enough. Two hours of horse back riding = two days of pain. The town of La Cumbre itself was nice, although it definitely seems like more of an Argentinian tourist destination then a spot on the backpacker's trail. There are about 45 hotels in town - with a population of about 7500 - but no hostels. I did find a very nice B&B type place that was pretty cheap though. Being the off season for Argentinians to travel, it seemed rather empty. But I did find some of the nicest steak I've ever had - 2" thick sirloins at a restaurant there that were simply amazing.

Moving on from La Cumbre, I headed back to Cordoba, the main stop in the Sierras. It's the second biggest city in Argentina, with a large college population. I spent most of my time there relaxing and taking in some of the sights - a few museums, and a very lovely pedestrian center in the middle of town.

One of my side trips from Cordoba was to Villa General Belgrano, where they have an annual Oktoberfest. It was a rousing time, even though it rained a little - the first I've seen since Iguazu almost a month ago. Kinda expensive as well, with liters of beer running 12 Pesos ($4US, to compar a liter bottle in the grocery store runs about 2 Pesos) but it was good artesenal, i.e. microbrew, beer.

After Oktoberfest I returned to Cordoba for a few days and then began my adventure to my present locale. Which would be Santa Fe. I kinda got stuck here, as my original destination was Rosario. But from Cordoba to Rosario all the buses ran late in the evening, so I looked into other options. One was Santa Fe, which is just a couple hours from Rosario. I finally found a company with a bus at 1pm - this was at about 12:30 - so I booked that. As soon as I got the ticket though, she told me it was leaving at 2:30. So I had to wait an extra hour and a half, which gave me time to grab some lunch. When I got to Santa Fe, at about 8 pm, my choices were to try and get a bus to Rosario, a bus to Montevideo, Uruguay, or stay the night. I decided to look for a Montevideo bus, but none were running that day. Or the next day. Meanwhile they're telling me which day the bus runs, but I can't figure it out, not because I can't understand the day (it's close enough to the French to figure out) but because I don't know what the present day is. I have a basic idea, but I'm not that sure. Anyways, I manage to go back to the bus station yesterday and buy a ticket for manana, tomorrow (which would be today) to Montevideo. In the meantime, I stayed at this pretty beat hotel across from the bus station - foam mattress and pillows, window facing the bus station, peeling wallpaper, the works. In the meantime, I´m trying to pass the next 11 hours before I go to catch the bus.

Anyways, that's been my less then overly exciting week. One more week of travel before I return to Buenos Aires. As I stated, I'm headed to Montevideo, Uruguay. From there I'll hit Colonia before crossing the river back to BsAs. I've got my apartment lined up, right smack in the middle of downtown BsAs, and classes start in just over a week. As an added bonus, I´ll be meeting up with a friend from college, and another friend of a friend who lives there.

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