La provincia de Córdoba

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From October 9 – 12, I was in the province of Córdoba for Oktoberfest. We took an overnight bus to Córdoba from Buenos Aires. The bus system seems to be the most cost-efficient way to get around if you have time to sit on the road.

La festival nacional de la cerveza is in the town Villa General Belgrano about 1.5 hrs away from the city of Córdoba. We stayed a few miles outside of the town and took cabs to the festival for the two days we went. The hostel’s description said it was located seven blocks away from the bus stop. Those seven blocks ended up being a very vague and ambiguous approximation because there were no ‘blocks’, it was a 15 minute walk down a dirt road. Lindsey and I had backpacks but Lia had to wheel her suitcase, the valija – we were quite the disorganized mess.

Festival itself was a tourist trap – entrance fee to get into the beer park + the cost of the beers that you want. Lots of funky flavors: raspberry beer, lemon beer, nut ales, chocolate beer, mint beer (was green and nasty) – t’was quite fun to sample everything. There was so much German food:  wiener schnitzel, pretzels and apple strudel.

After two days of the festival and being bloated from all the beer, we went to Alta Gracia, a small town an hour outside of Córdoba and visited Che Guevara’s childhood home. El Museo Casa del Che taught me a lot more than what I knew from The Motorcycle Diaries. It was a short, sweet, interesting and I learned a lot – a successful museum visit. We also spent a day in the city of Córdoba before returning to Bs As, walked around a lot and admired a lot of churches. Most of the city was closed because it was Día del Respeto a la Diversidad Cultural , October 12th, our Columbus Day. However, in Argentina the day rightfully honors indigenous diversity instead of Europeans conquering and killing indigenous communities. We went into the cabildo/ town hall building that is now used as a cultural and historical community center.

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Wiphala – representing native Andean people

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the cabildo in Córdoba

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Che in Alta Gracia

 

 

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Restaurants, Cafés, Bars & Places in Buenos Aires

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BREAKFAST

Full City Coffee House in Palermo Soho – rustic, industrial aesthetic inside. delicious cold brew as the spring weather is slowly, painstakingly slowly, becoming summer. I have not tried the food but worth it for the coffee alone.

Café Birkin in Palermo Botanico – offers lots of delicious things for breakfast or lunch: huge salads, omelettes, sandwiches, along with their delicious cappuccinos and extensive tea menu.

Malvon – also in Palermo Botanico, where I live and thus spend the most time. Lots of food for the brunch deal on Saturdays and Sundays – it comes with coffee/tea, a corn muffin, fruit and corn-flake granola crunchies, and your entrée.

Cafe Negro – Located in Centro, a few blocks away from my classes, they excel in being friendly to everyone and playing the best music. Their playlists on Spotify cover every nuisanced mood and situation: rainy days, jazz, upbeat pop, or argentine rock but all of them perfect for studying/working while drinking coffee, a dulce de leche latte, or a mango smoothie.

LUNCH

Hierbabuena in San Telmo – I can’t say enough good things about this place. Consistent, delicious, creative foods and most of them are vegetarian ( even vegan). It is a great place for lunch, or brunch on the weekends, after exploring the antique stores in the neighborhood.

Creperie – in Centro – the complete: ham, cheese and a fried egg on top is yummy and filling.

Ninina Bakery – Palermo Soho. For lunch, lots of sandwiches along with a vegan and veggie burger and lots of topping options: caramelized onions, avocado, goat cheese, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, etc.  Their breakfast menu seemed pretty average: omelettes and pastries + coffee and juices. fresh ingredients. beautiful open bright space.

DINNER

La Carniceria and  La Cabrera – I’d recommend both for some Argentine steak.  I’ve had solid meals there with lots of chimichurri sauce on top of the lomo and bife de chorizo. We tried a few sides that were all solid as well – puree de papas, apple sauce, pickled veggies, cabbage, arugula salads. I’m still recovering from vegetarian preferences and don’t love any steak. But it was pretty good, which is saying a lot for me!

Fabrica Del Taco – decent mexican food, great for a margarita and a quick taco late night in Palermo Soho. While hot sauces are lacking in Argentina, here they have a few different kinds! – but sadly no Sriracha.  I definitely get a sugar high from the sugar-coated rim on top of the already sugary margarita. 

Sarki’s  the Armenian restaurant in Palermo has a line outside the door waiting every night by the time they open for dinner at 8pm. I haven’t figured out what distinguishes Armenian food from Mediterranean/ Israeli food – it seems the same? I loved the falafel and the moussaka, along with the hummus, babaganoush and tabouleh. Each entreé is only about $8/9 USD – very affordable place and feels very comfortable, family-oriented, lots of regulars.

Teatriz – classic, elegant, dimly-lit restaurant in Recoleta, simple and delicious food but expensive.

Cafe Jacoba – “Jewish Food” in Palermo Soho, gefilte-fish and smoked salmon and a bagel on the menu but I prefer the mediterranean food yumminess. Different from the empanadas and asados.

BARS

Grand Bar Dazon This place is hidden in Recoleta on the 2nd floor of a nondescript building.  The entrance, a dark staircase with not a lot of signage, is easy to miss. Metal candelabras light the stairwell and the bar itself has little LEDS imbedded in it – like christmas lights everywhere, giving off a shimmery, sparkle environment in the dark space. Very extensive cocktail list and very delicious.

Esquina Libertad – My favorite drink here is a Cynar Julep: cynar, an Italian liquer, grapefruit juice, raw sugar, and some mint, pretty scrumptiously sour and sweet and herbal-y. The best part about it, besides the grapefruit and mint combination, is that it only costs $3 USD/45 pesos. Their rooftop deck is a great place to sit on a warm night and away from the crowded indoor room.

Florería Atlantico – much has been written about this place, fantastic speak-easy in Centro/Retiro/Recoleta –  the borders between barrios are very unclear- that looks like a flower shop until you walk downstairs.  They make their own gin and the cocktails are good and original.

Shows/Things to Do

San Telmo Fair – every Sunday. super touristy. knick-knacks. crafts. meh – it’s fun the first time then it’s overwhelming, crowded, and all the products look the same.

Fuerza Bruta – apparently Fuerza Bruta is in NY too and I just had never been to it. It’s an experimental experience of a show that is somewhat hard to describe: part-concert, part-aerobics, part-Cirque De Soleil-esque. The crowd standing in a seemingly vacant hall, gets instructed to move to certain sides of the room as the space transforms, people swing from the ceiling and dance on the walls. The show culminates in a dance party with a water cannon showering the crowd and confetti.

La Bomba del Tiempo – There is a show every Monday night. crazy, wild, energy as a percussion group performs. The drum circle built up and swelled to have the whole room moving and jumping along.

Torres Del Paine in Chile & Glacier in Argentina – Patagonia September 2015

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On Friday night, we took a three hour plane from AEP in Buenos Aires to FTE, airport in El Calafate, followed by a bus from FTE to the bus terminal in the town of El Calafate. Another bus from El Calafate to Puerto Natales early Saturday Morning.The highway we drove on, with unchanging scenery of sheep and grass for hours was called La Ruta Fin Del Mundo, end of the world – it felt like it. The third bus was from Puerto Natales to Laguna Amarga, the Park entrance to Torres Del Paine followed by the final shuttle to Los Torres Hotel y Refugio Central early Sunday morning.

That Sunday we began our hike to Mirador de los Torres – 36 hours of traveling later.

We hiked the eastern part of the W Trek in Torres Del Paine with Fantastico Sur. Up to Mirador Torres and back down, to Los Cuernos, and a bit of French Valley before leaving Chile, back to Argentina to go to El Calafate and explore Perito Moreno Glacier.

5 full days in Torres Del Paine with the first and last night at Hotel Los Torres, wonderful feasts for dinner, the other two nights were at Refugio Los Cuernos.  Definitely was not an easy hike and we got mixed up with the trails, and lack of signs but other hikers helped us for the most part. My joints are very achey and one split toenail, but no blisters for me.

lt felt fantastic to be out of the city, out of Buenos Aires.

Montañas cerca de Los Cuernos

Montañas cerca de Los Cuernos

Los Torres

Los Torres

“They have cradled you in custom, they have primed you with their preaching,
They have soaked you in convention through and through;
They have put you in a showcase; you’re a credit to their teaching —
But can’t you hear the Wild? — it’s calling you.
Let us probe the silent places, let us seek what luck betide us;
Let us journey to a lonely land I know.
There’s a whisper on the night-wind, there’s a star agleam to guide us,
And the Wild is calling, calling … let us go.”
Robert William Service. THE CALL OF THE WILD  Spell of the Yukon and other verses

IMG_5424El Parque Nacional de los Glaciares en El Calafate, Argentina.