How did we end up there
Cordoba of Argentina has never been on our list of cities to visit. Nothing against it, but we just never thought of it as being worth a detour. Now that we visited the city we can still not truly recommend making a detour to visit, but merely a break on your way. Although we had a very nice stay there, the city itself does not have that much to offer, but the surroundings do.
So how did we end up going there? Our initial plan was to visit Uruguay from Buenos Aires but we got annoyed by the super-expensive prices to actually get there! Somehow at the time of our visit, the prices for the 2 hours boat crossing were about 3 times more what we had read online from a few months before. On top of that, the exchange rate in Argentina is really in our favor in this period. We are not sure why, but fact is: at about 150 USD per person the return ticket, we could not (and did not want to) afford it. In the end, we looked at a map and saw that Cordoba was not so far as to spend a few days out of Buenos Aires.
Arriving to Cordoba
Cordoba is located west from Buenos Aires and you can get there in about 7 hours of bus. We decided to use the night bus and save ourselves some money while being able to enjoy the day time. Of course that was not our most comfortable night but we had worse before 🙂
We arrived super early but were lucky enough to have a comprehensive AirBnB host. We managed to spend only 2 hours in a coffee shop before we could get the key of our lovely studio, right in the center of Cordoba.
We had big plans to explore the surroundings of Cordoba and the beautiful landscapes of the Sierras Chicos… the rainy weather decided otherwise for us! We still went for a “gaucho day” including horse-riding but had to accept that muddy hiking might not be in our to-do list.
A bit of history of Cordoba
Founded in the 16th century as a Spanish settlement (you could have guessed form the name I believe), it welcomed the first university of the country, established by the Jesuit Order.
Today many of these buildings are still visible in the Jesuit Block that makes the old city center and the beautiful churches are probably the most interesting part of the city to visit. The Jesuit Block was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Cordoba is still an important university center.
Córdoba was the first capital of Argentina and it now sits as the second most important city in the country. The combination of colonial past, beautiful churches, modern buildings brings the spirit for a favored spot for conventions and language schools.
The modern city
If it is quite pleasant to walk around the city center we found the rest of the city to be relatively sad… This is a very personal opinion of course. But to our eyes, the economic crisis that hit the country can be felt in a particular manner here as well as the visible impoverishment of the indigenous population.
Getting away walking in the Sarmiento Park was not so much better… It felt a bit abandoned, many parts were closed, including the access to the very weird Faro del bicentenario, a modern (ugly) construction meant to be the symbol of the city.
You got it, we didn’t fall under the charm of the city by day.
Night of the museums
Luckily we happened to be there when the night of the Museum occurred! One evening where most museums are open for free and include many animations. Not sure if the spirit of the city was just lighter on a Friday evening or if it was because of this event, but we discovered a new face to the city: lively, fun and full of energy. So different!
We got happily surprised to discover a LGBTQ+ event in the Museum of Anthropology: transgenders having workshops with kids, walls covered by accounts of women victim of daily sexism where passersby could contribute with their own experience, including a section dedicated for women in sports. Another photography exhibition was highlighting stigmatized people, victims of different type of discrimination (racism, homophobia, sexism, ableism…). The place was super crowded in a very cheerful atmosphere, surprisingly!
We later went to visit the exhibitions of the cultural center Paseo del Buen Pastor and attended the water show (every hour). The water show itself has nothing special but the place does look nice and young people like to meet around this area. Of course we couldn’t miss this. 🙂
Our food recommendations for Cordoba!
Of course we had to try a few foodie spots! Here are our recommendations:
- La Vieja Esquina: for very local specialties! The menu is short but it is very local, good and the glasses of wine are VERY generous! Get there early as it is a small place!
- Mayo ice-cream: good breakfast deals and ice-cream
- Marfer: an old sandwich institution with good price options
- L’Ecole: we were not under the charm of the food per se but they have concert nights (mainly jazz)
- Jalisco Paletas Rellenas: if you want to try a stick ice-cream while walking around the park; we recommend the dark chocolate filled with red fruits