After the nice vacation of Villa General Belgrano we went to Córdoba, Argentina’s second biggest city, settled in the 1500’s. To be honest, we didn’t want to leave V. G. Belgrano. We are starting to prefer smaller towns to big cities, haha! Nevertheless, we had a great time in Córdoba… we preferred it to Buenos Aires for its calmer feel and its nice Colonial architecture:
As Argentina’s cultural capital, we knew that we could find some metal things in Córdoba. We didn’t find anything online, so we went pretty much everywhere that looked kind of “rock” and asked around. We ended up finding many record shops, and even a metal bar! The place was called Metal Home, and is actually a “pizzeria metalera”… I was very excited indeed. Haha!
I did some DJ there for a night. Although there weren’t many people, we closed the bar at 6AM after listening to killer songs all night… I even did a bit of bartending hahahaha
The next day, we were invited by Fuser (headbanger and reporter at RPM radio station) for a metallic asado (BBQ). We were very excited because we would finally be able to try real Argentinian bbq!
We started by going to the market to get some nice and cheap meat for our feast:
So after, we arrived at Fuser’s house and started preparing the barbecue. Here in Argentina, you start by heating coals in a smaller part located on the side of the barbecue. The coals are then moved to the bigger part using a metallic shovel thing.
That’s what we pretty much did in Córdoba, haha! We tried to visit some places, but since people here take siestas from 1PM to sometimes 5PM, we missed everything (or sometimes, museums would be closed for renovations). We took it easy and followed the Argentinian siesta schedule as close as possible hehe
After Córdoba, we took a 8-hour night bus to San Miguel de Tucumán, the 5th biggest city of Argentina. It’s a big city – but it has a small village feel. It’s also there where Independence from Spain was declared, in the 1800’s.
We had a taste of their local junk food, some sort of cross between waffles and hot dogs! They were called Panchuques:
We only stayed in Tucuman for six days, and then took the bus to Cafayate – which is about 6 hours away, in the north:
The drive to Cafayate was absolutely amazing; I have never seen so many changes of landscapes in my life!! There were mountains with clouds, deserts with cacti, red mountains, rivers and we started seeing wild llamas. It was really incredible, although the ride was quite rough on my digestive system haha. We ascended about 1600 meters in 3 hours. It seemed like we were going higher than the sky!
We arrived in Cafayate in the afternoon. It really felt like we were finally seeing some true South American landscapes and architecture. There were also more aboriginal people; a proof that we are getting close to Bolivia! Anyway, Cafayate is located almost 1700 meters above sea level, and is in the center of the Valles Calchaquíes. Known for its exquisite wine and martial-like landscapes, it became a popular touristic center in the last few years. The town itself is really beautiful and relaxing. I think this is the best city we’ve been to in Argentina… a truly magical place!
We encountered a pulperia, which is a place that gauchos (Argentinian cowboys) could find anything they needed; booze, bread, spices, meat, horse stuff… Like what they call a magasin général in Québec. they are pretty much extinct nowadays, so it was cool to be able to visit one of ’em:
Since the city has been built around bodegas (wineries), we were able to visit some by foot. We only did two; Nanni and Transito. The one we preferred was Nanni; an organic winery that produced world-renowned wines. The climate in this part of the country is perfect for growing grapes; there is not much water so the plantations are not infested with fungi and insects. On top of that, there is a lot of wind – which also prevents insects to feed off the grapes, so no insecticide is needed. The resulting wine is very tasty and strong, reaching 15% in alcohol!
And for 5 pesos (about 1.25$), I was able to taste some of the wines produced by Nanni. I had two different types of red wines, and two white wines. Below is a photo of myself drinking the Torrontés white wine, which is a made from a type of grape specific to that region. It was really killer; fruity and not dry at all. Perfect for a burning hot day!
We ended up buying a bottle of Tannat red wine, which I thought was the best red wine of the tasting. We made some nice pasta to go with it, at the hostel:
And then for dessert, the local specialty… wine ice cream!
Speaking of the hostel, I forgot to mention it, but Argentinian households has a different thing in their bathrooms… bidets! At first, I though they were just men’s urinals, but François told me it was for washing the asshole area. I think it’s quite useless personally; is it because people here don’t like taking showers, so they just wash their genitals instead? I don’t know! Anyway, here is a photo of it:
And here is myself, demonstrating how to use it. This position is for washing the asshole, sitting the other way is for washing the other stuff. You know…
So now, the biggest and coolest part of our trip to Argentina so far; its surreal northern martial landscapes! We took a 50-minute bus north to the Quebrada de Cafayate, straight into the Devil’s Throat. Sculpted by 80 000 years of water and wind, it was an absolutely otherworldy sight:
We walked 20 kilometers, and visited many other killer places. The view on the way was truly fantastic:
The scene changed slowly as we walked…
We then took a bus back, instead of walking 30 more kilometers to the city. Haha. Anyway, this hike was really killer, and it was absolutely overwhelming to be surrounded by such massive natural structures. We were speechless, really… and it was also really nice to be in total silence most of the time. Anyway, I recommend this place to anyone going to Argentina… it is not to be missed!
Tomorrow, we will be going to Salta, and then Jujuy… our last two cities before we reach Bolivia! More news later!