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Published: September 18th 2011
We arrived extremely early on the bus from Mendoza and emerged bleery eyed from the bus station and set off on a walk to the hostel which was about 20 minutes away. I managed to carry my massive bag all the way without complaining which Ben was very impressed with, I think I must be getting stronger, which can only be a good thing! As we were walking to the hostel we noticed that EVERYTHING was closed which at first we thought was quite normal as it was only 8am on a Saturday...little did we know at the time how significant this would become.
We arrived at our hostel and were told the room was ok to check into now, score! Usually we get told we have to wait around for a few hours before it would be ready. We got into the room and the other couple in there, Laura and Chris told us they had just arrived on a bus from Mendoza also and we all went to sleep for a bit. I woke up around 1pm and Ben was already up faffing about on the computer and we went out in search of somewhere to have lunch.
We found a restuarnt which was recommended in the guide book and went to try and find it, first we walked down the wrong street and found a nightclub where it should have been, then we walked back down the right street and surprise surprise...it was closed! We walked about a bit more to try and find somewhere that was actually open and ended up in a little music bar which sold a few bits of pub food and lots of beers. It was actually quite nice to drink some cold beers after the copious amounts of red wine we had drunk over the past two weeks.
After lunch we went to the supermarket to get some stuff for dinner and ended up spending 100pesos...we seem to be completelty incapable of going to a supermarket and spending any less than this! In the evening we headed out to a little craft market which we had heard good things about. The market was actually really cool and had loads of cool little bits, and we went on a little spending spree buying some very random trinkets...including smashed up watches that had been set in resin...interesting. The market was also full
of rastas which seems to be a bit of a "thing" in Argentina as loads of normal looking people walk around with one dreadlock in the back of their hair. I was very tempted to get a rasta braid in my hair but bottled it at the last minute, I dont think I could pass as a rasta! After the market we went and had a little drink in a cool bar called Dada Mimi and then wandered back to the hostel and into bed.
Next day we had a big day of sight seeing planned with lots of museums and churches and things...you know the drill..so we got up pretty early and tried to plan our route around the city over breakfast. As we were planning the route we began to notice that the opening times of most places were really erratic, some where open from 12-2, others not until 4pm, others from 3-5pm so we had to attempt to plan our route around these awkward timings. Finally we set off towards the park, on the way we came across an art installation which was basically 200 huge rings organised around a field and each hoop represented a
year between 1810 and 2010 and had inscriptions of something important which had happened in that year. So, we set about trying to find the years we were born (obviously) I said I hoped mine would be a big red one...mine was in fact a TINY grey one...rubbish. After the rings we went to the park, which was quite small and not very noteworthy but we did see a funfair just over the fence and were tempted to go on some rides until we thought actually those rides have been built by Argentinian gypsies...maybe not the best idea! We had a bit more of a wander around and found an art museum and went in, it was actually pretty good, except that they had an entire room devoted to this one artist whose paintings depicted horrible violent rape scenes, so we moved on swiftly. Our next stop was supposed to be the "Cappuccino Church" named due to its colour but unfortunately it was closed until 4...it was now about 1. But we took some pics from outside because the church has one steeple intentionally missing, as its supposed to represent the imperfection of human nature. There wasnt much open after
the church so we sat and had a coffee and a milkshake in a nice little cafe over the road from the church and tried to plan a new route for the afternoon. However, our afternoon was even less successful than the morning and everything we attempted to see was closed...one of the museums was even "closed for disinfection" and so we ended up back at the hostel pretty early, had some dinner, watched a film and went to bed feeling we had had a distinctly unsuccessful day.
We had planned to go to Alta Gracia the next day, where Che Guevara grew up, and so hopped onto a bus around 12 and made our way there. They have a museum for Che which is actually in his old childhood house which was really interesting. They had lots of letters which he had send to this family and children over the years and had either his actual motorbike or a copy of it; we couldnt figure out which as they said in one of the bits on the wall that he had sold his motorbike. However, we seemed to arrive at the exact wrong time as an entire group of 10 year olds on a school trip arrived at the same time and proceeded to run around the whole time. After the museum we headed to a church on the other side of the town which was built by the Jesuits and was incredibly old, however, it was slightly underwhelming because as Ben put it they had "rendered over the original stonework"...Im not entirely sure what this means but I dont think its good. We were all pretty hungry so attempted to find somewhere to eat...with little success as everything was... (are you getting the hang of this now?) CLOSED! We ended up having to have some pizza in an internet cafe and got the bus back to Cordoba, where we got some Chinese and watched another film.
Next day, we had our bus to Tucuman at about 12 so we had a few hours to kill before so we headed to one of the museums that had been closed before. It was the Museo de la Memoria which to copy and paste from Lonely Planet is "A chilling testament to the excesses of Argentina’s military dictatorship, this museum occupies a space formerly used as a clandestine center for detention and torture. It was operated by the dreaded Department of Intelligence (D2), a special division created in Córdoba dedicated to the kidnap and torture of suspected political agitators and the ‘reassignment’ of their children to less politically suspect families." The building was pretty creepy with lots of underground rooms, presumably used for torture but we couldnt really understand a lot of the writing on the walls so I think a lot of the meaning was lost on us but we vowed to look up more about the events afterwards. After the museum we headed to the bus terminal and onto Tucuman.
When we arrived, we checked into the hostel, which was quite strange as there was no one there and it was a really big old building, our room was also right next to the reception and you could even hear the receptionist typing from our room. We had a look in a few books to see what there was to do in Tucuman but swiftly realised that there wasnt very much at all. So, next morning we had an obscenely long lie in, wandered into town and had a slap up lunch with steak and wine and got an ice cream in the main plaza and did a bit of people watching. Then we went and got bus tickets for Cafayte the next day and ended up back at the hostel, where we attempted to make dinner, but the owner had other plans...he had invited his entire family over for dinner which made use of the small kitchen difficult at best.
Next morning we got our bus to Cafayte excited at the prospect of another wine making region like Mendoza....
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