Cordoba Is Nothing Like Buenos Aires

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The first thing you need to know about Cordoba is that there are three cities with the same name. The one I am talking about here isn’t the one in Spain with the famous mosque. It isn’t even the one in Mexico that is called the City of the Thirty Knights.

No, this Cordoba in Argentina. It is a city of over a million inhabitants, the second biggest in Argentina, and sits pretty much slap bang in the middle of the country. On the long bus journey there my biggest fear was that it would be like a cut-price Buenos Aires, with all of the traffic and noise but none of the culture or the feeling of being somewhere very special.

I needn’t have worried. This is a big, growing city with plenty of tall buildings but it also has a charming small town feel and some incredibly friendly people. It is nothing like Buenos Aires but it is fantastic in its own right.

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A Cool Accent

The people from here are apparently famous through Argentina for being friendly, polite and for having the coolest Spanish accent ever. I have to admit that I struggled to understand the lilting accent at times but I was amazed at how friendly the people were to me. Everywhere I went I was met with smiles and helpful people. I started to feel like a bit of a grumpy git for not smiling as much as they do.

The main plaza is nice if unspectacular. The cathedral is lovely but the plaza didn’t seem to be the heart of the city, the way it is in most Argentine cities. To find where it was at I went a-strolling. I soon discovered that Cordobeses are incredibly proud of an area called El Paseo del Buen Pastor. This is a pleasant area with some impressive historic buildings and a water feature that has lights and shooting jets of water. You can also see a statue of local music cuarteto legend Rodrigo here.

One thing I have noticed about a lot of cities in Argentina outside of Buenos Aires is that they appear incredibly good places to live but don’t have that many big tourist attractions, whereas the capital feels like the complete opposite to me. I can easily imagine myself living in Cordoba but I would struggle to tell you of many touristy things you can do here.

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Some Good Day Trips

Personally, I took the train out to Cosquin, which is famous for its annual music festival. I also got the bus to Carlos Paz, a town on a lake where the rich and famous of the country visit each summer. I also went to the laid-back zoo, drunk lots of coffee, walked round the historic religious buildings, went to the theatre and drunk some more coffee.

I didn’t see any obvious backpackers or other international tourists. The fact that people looked a bit nervous when they heard my gringo accent also makes me think that they don’t get many foreign visitors. At least not many with as bad an accent as mine.

As far as I could see, it is hugely popular with national tourists from other parts of the country, though. I stayed in the modern, high rise district of Nueva Cordoba and can highly recommend it. I was close to most of the interesting places I wanted to see and it was a relaxed place to stay too.

I travelled to Cordoba from the north of the country. From Tucuman it was about 10 hours by bus on a flat road with massive plantations of different crops all along the way. If you are travelling from Buenos Aires you can either take the train or else make a bus journey, which also seems to be about 10 hours or so.

It might not sound all that exciting but I love this city. It is one of those places where just wandering round and sampling the atmosphere is good fun. If you are ever in Argentina and don’t know where to go after Buenos Aires then it is well worth considering Cordoba. It feels completely different from the capital but both are brilliant cities.

images courtesy of wikipedia

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