Monday, October 17, 2011

Argentine Road Trip: Córdoba Edition

Living in Buenos Aires, a city that has blocks upon blocks upon blocks of urban cityscape, I forget there is more to Argentina than this. Millions of people live in Buenos Aires, but the majority of the country is actually rural farm land and small towns. Last weekend we took a road trip to attend the country's best Oktoberfest in Villa General Belgrano, a small town outside of Córdoba. The entire trip was no easy feat, but several stops let me see parts of Argentina different from what I'm used too.
Our first leg of the trip was 4 hours to Rosario, a city in the interior. Although Rosario is a city, it definitely isn't Buenos Aires, because we were able to eat a delicious parilla libre (all you can eat grilled meat) for only A$40 each.  I also got the chance to see the beautiful monument to the flag in the center of Rosario.
I don't want to get into the hotel experience there, so, moving onto the next day. We still had another 4 hours to drive to reach Córdoba. The entire highway is a 4 lane road, 2 lanes in each direction, which cuts through farmland. Occasionally you see cows, or a farm house, but generally speaking it's grass as far as the eye can see in all directions. (And about the cows, I hate to say it but seeing the free and peaceful lives they live before slaughter made me feel a little bit better about my carnivorous habits here.) Anyway, unlike highways in the U.S., here there are no signs telling you where a McDonald's or gas station is or how far to the next exit. Thus, if your looking for something you have to cross your fingers, get off at the next exit you see though it appears to lead nowhere and hope for your best. As the gas light flashed, we had no choice but to do this, and believe me it was too close for comfort. After getting off the highway and finding nothing for quite a few miles, we finally ended up in a creepy town called Bell Ville, where the people were strange (like telling us there were no other gas station in the town when there were several), and dogs slept inside the bank while the police stood outside. 
Finally, we reached Córdoba, the second biggest city in Argentina, though really we only passed through.
The final part of the trip from Córdoba to Villa General Belgrano was by far the most beautiful. The road winds through the mountains, and looks out onto beautiful views of the water and mountains.When we drove there it was rainy and late in the afternoon so the scene was dark and gloomy. But, we drove back early in the morning just after sun rise and it was truly gorgeous. The mountains were lit by the sun from behind and appeared pink, the plants were bright green and the water sparkled. 

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