How to take a random trip to Cordoba
So within the first month of Study abroad, we came upon our first break, easter break! To be honest, I think most of us needed this vacation to get away from the hustle and bustle of Buenos Aires, classes and dealing with real life problems like the subte. People took advantage of this opportunity to go to tons of really cool places, including Mendoza, Iguazu falls and Bariloche. My friends and I decided to take a trip to Cordoba. Like most things in Argentina, this trip was planned very very last minute, like 2 days before we went on the trip. We literally sat in a coffee shop, found a bus to get to Cordoba, went to the bus station Retiro, and bought our bus tickets. We had no idea what to expect, we just knew we wanted to go there.
So this is article about how to take a random trip to Cordoba when you don’t know anything about Cordoba. So to start off, where is Cordoba: Do you see that little dot on the map…that is Cordoba! Believe it or not, that same dot is also the second largest city in Argentina. It is also basically in the middle of nowhere in Argentina, just like most places in Argentina that aren’t Buenos Aires and Patagonia.
First thing about taking a bus to Cordoba, well taking the bus in Cordoba is literally a game of luck. In the sense that you will be lucky if you are able to find your bus and actually be able to get on it. The bus station to begin with is super dangerous, in fact one of the most dangerous areas in Buenos Aires. Once you get to the station, the ticket you have basically gives you a range of ten bus stations that the bus could possible show up at and if it lucky to show up on time, you have to go to every station until you find the correct bus. So…basically the bus system is extremely efficient.
Second thing about taking the bus, while it is very comfortable and pretty easy to sleep, it can still be an exhausting experience. Maybe I am just more Princess and the Pea instead of Sleeping Beauty, but when I got to Cordoba, the only thing I wanted to do was sleep. Even if my palace was a thin mattress in a hostel that was jungle themed, but felt more like a bad production of junglebook. But the hostel was quite its own world, where there were the occasional normal guests. The rest of the residents where middle-aged men who watched soccer in the kitchen semi-nude and a ex-groupee living in the hostel until she could find her next group. Once I was done being sleeping beauty, I was awoken by Cordoba(literally the noises outside) and I walked around our kingdom. Among the Argentine tourists and the casual protests, we came across the Catedral and many beautiful buildings built by the jesuits.
Walking around Cordoba is like walking around a carnival. It is even easier than you think to get lost because there are alot of distractions along the way. There is ice cream and art lined all around the streets, so for me it was literally a kid in a candy store. There are also funhouses, well more like sex shops and party stores. For the second largest city in Argentina, I found that there were more party stores than there were pharmacies or grocery stores or any normal stores( I guess people just party alot in Cordoba).
While walking in Cordoba carnival, we came across a park…of rings. It was literally a giant field with colorful rings of different sizes like a giant maze. This was also one of the most romantic places in Cordoba because all the other people in the park were making out or clearly very in love. My friends and I instead were swinging from the rings and lying in them like the mature adults that we are. It was honestly one of my favorite parts of Cordoba, because it was so fun and silly and we felt like real Argentines instead of tourists.
In Cordoba we also found a beautiful lake about an hour outside the main city. The lake looked kind of polluted, but it was pretty and peaceful. Of course, since this Cordoba, the carnival lake had different boats. It had gigantic swan shaped boats there tried to fit three people when really two would have been plenty. I was given the duty to steer the boat since I sat in the middle awkward seat without peddles, so I was the captian now! Actually, I was just lucky that I didn’t crash us into the bridge or get us beached. But it was attempt that counts, and not that I have driven a swan boat I think I am ready for my sailing lessons. After walking around we decided to buy one of those many party hats and go out on the town…of Cordoba. We tried to make up our own pub crawl, which basically meant walking into every bar that was on the street. It was a great night, and luckily it did not end into the sequel of the Hangover, so we were ok!
While we loved our little carnival as it was, we decided that we needed to take this circus on a natural tour of Argentina. The provinces around Cordoba are famous for having many natural spectaculars like mountain ranges and cool lakes. The first places we decided to go was three hours away from Cordoba, called Mar Chiquita(little ocean). On the bus ride, I was pretty convinced that the place I wanted to go didn’t exist because in pictures I saw a beach and water and in the bus all I saw was farm land. Finally, at the end of the bus ride, we saw what appeared to be sand. It was literally a mini ocean because the lake’s water was salty so people were swimming while giving themselves facials with the mud. There were even flamingos, which was the weirdest place I would expect to find those animals. My favorite part about this trip as climbing a little tree house and watching my first sunset across the water. I would definitely call myself a cryer, I cry in movies, tv shows, heck I cried watching Full House. So, it probably wasn’t that significant that I shedded some tears, but I think that sunset meant something special.
Our last day in Cordoba, we booked an excursion to the Cordoba Sierras, a famous mountain range in Cordoba. This was my first planned excursion in Argentina, so as a tacky tourist I was pretty excited. Our tour guide Jesse was literally life goals, she was the cutest thing in the whole planet. She was somebody who was literally born for tourism because she was just so lively even at 9 in the morning. Most of this tour was a bus tour, which we weren’t really expecting but we still made the most out of it. At one point Jesse told us to close our eyes. She told us to think about a happy place and basically meditate for 5 minutes and then told us to open out eyes, and when we did we were at the top of the mountains where we could see the whole mountain region. I honestly felt like I was on the magic school bus for a solid minute, because our view made me feel like I was flying. We did do some hiking too, people brought their mates of course. We ended that trip with a little tanning session by a river. It was relaxing and great way to almost end our Cordoba trip.
So some advise for those going to Cordoba: Take a lot of “plata” before the trip because taking out money is a real struggle in Cordoba. We had may struggles with money and bus tickets. Also, try not to book the completely last bus back at 3am, because odds are you don’t want to go to a boliche before taking the bus back.
One more advise: travel with friends, and love every minute of it. You never know, there might be a flamingo or a condor around the corner.