Cordoba - La Cumbrecita
Trip Start Jan 2003
200Trip End Dec 2003
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Getting to La Cumbrecita proved a lot more difficult than we had anticipated. Situated approximately 120km west of Cordoba perhaps the effort required is indicative of the fact weīre getting off the well trodden backpacker path. Although the Sierras are supposedly a popular getaway for Cordobans, they havenīt yet tapped into the foreign market and La Cumbrecita is one of a precious few places weīve been to this year that doesnīt appear in the corresponding Lonely Planet. Our original plan was to take a minibus on the alleged two and a half hour journey. Upon arrival at the minibus depot however, we discovered our morning dawdling had meant we had missed one bus while the only other one was full. We already knew there were no full sized buses so we began to investigate other possibilities.
One of the advantages of being in a country where you are comparatively rich is the fact that no matter what the distance you need to travel a taxi is always a viable alternative. Discovering a private car would only be GBP15 between the three of us, we didnīt even take time to consider. Two kms down the road and we had cause for concern as the driver stopped to fill the engine up with water. A further thirty kms out the city and in the middle of nowhere and our worst fears were realised as steam emanated from under the bonnet and the car ground to a terminally-sounding halt. A while later, a second cab arrived and after travelling for a further three and a half hours, predominantly down pot-holed gravel tracks, we arrived in La Cumbrecita tired, hungry, thirsty and dirty.
Our first concern was food which at 5:30pm in Argentina is usually an impossibility (dinner is normally taken at about 10:00pm). Fortunately the second place we tried took pity on us, fired up the barbecue and provided us with a plate full of steak, lamb, chorizo, chips and salad which was welcomingly washed down with some Argentinian red wine. Re-fuelled we found an Alpine cabin to stay in, just for two nights however, and we were unanimous in our opinion that we wanted to stay longer.
Consequently, after a long lie in, much of our first full day was spent sourcing an alternate place to stay. Usually this wouldnīt require too much effort but in a place as spread out and hilly as La Cumbrecita (not to mention it being car-free) itīs not easy. Somewhere along the way, an Alsatian befriended us not only on our mission but also on our hike to a nearby waterfall (the term suggests more than the reality). Returning as the heavens opened we felt awful having to leave our new found friend outside but when we returned outside again a couple of hours later and discovered a cold and wet dog waiting for us we didnīt know whether to laugh or cry. Obviously the friendliness of Argentinians extends beyond that of just humans.