Just passing through

I was reading a friend’s travel blog the other day, and they were regretting a decision to stay only a night in a couple destinations. The idea was a good one – get in a few more sights on the way to their actual destination, but in practice it just didn’t seem worth it. While not exactly the same situation, I’m certainly second guessing our decisions to stop in a few places during this past week.

After some epic bus rides to get to and away from Iguazú Falls, we arrived in Córdoba, but it wasn’t exactly the relaxing time I had imagined. I visited Córdoba once before and felt that it really merited a stop – the city almost has a Buenos Aires-lite feel to it. But the murderously hot days kept us inside most of the time, and the best thing we managed to do was see a movie (Interstellar – what a treat after 5 months without a new movie!). As some evidence to the unexciting three days we spent there, I don’t have a single photo to share…

Our next destination was exciting for some of the wrong (and some of the right!) reasons, and I don’t really regret visiting Villa General Belgrano, except that it led to some annoyingly long minibus rides on winding country roads. Two nights in a destination is often not enough time, as it really only gives you one full day, which is probably sandwiched between some gross bus rides.

I should have had a project to take photos of all the defunct film labs and shops we’ve seen along the way. Love these old signs!

Maybe my big regret is that we headed to La Cumbre afterwards. It’s a super lovely little town located north of Córdoba, which meant we had to backtrack into the city to transfer buses. The climate was much nicer given the relative elevation, and we stayed at a hostel located in a renovated, early 1920’s English house, on a large property. They advertised on their website that they were a “chill-out” hostel, which is pretty damn accurate as there is little-to-nothing to do in La Cumbre. So, two nights and some uncomfortable bus rides to hang out in a nice-enough place for a day.

Looking out over La Cumbre

San Miguel de Tucumán (commonly called Tucumán, but the long names are really great, right?) was our next destination. After another long bus ride, we arrived and stepped out into a warmer than expected night. If possible, Tucumán was even hotter than Córdoba, with one of the most strict siestas we’ve witnessed yet. Out on the street at 2:30 in the afternoon? You’ll be lucky to see even a stray dog walking around. So, given my excitement level about getting to know the place, maybe it’s a good thing I ate a bad empanada on the bus ride and came down with a violent stomach flu.

Hostel rooftop in Tucuman

Now we’re in another lovely little town outside of Tucumán, called Tafí del Valle. Again: nice climate, beautiful mountains, not much to do. At least the bus ride was pretty comfortable. But it all seems a little bit unavoidable. We simply can’t get on 10+ hour buses every other day (my own rule, as I start to lose it otherwise), but this country is sooo big and there aren’t many destinations worth spending more than a single day along our path. Since leaving Buenos Aires, we have only stayed three nights in two different towns. The remaining 7 destinations have held our attention for two nights or less. It’s a recipe for exhaustion.

Lovely Tafi del Valle

To try to remedy this situation, we’re staying a week in Cafayate. Wine country and canyonlands. I think that should help.