Las Sierras de Cordoba (The foothills of Cordoba)

Trip Start Aug 01, 2009
Trip End Nov 30, 2009

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Saturday, October 17, 2009

    Cordoba is located in what I would consider the area between northern Argentina and middle Argentina.  The weather reminds me a little of the Midwest in the sense that it gets really hot in the summer and pretty cold in the winter.  However, unlike the Midwest - which seems to be perpetually humid in the summer with tons of precipitation (mainly snow) in the winter - Cordoba is incredibly dry or seca as we say here. The main reason for this is because of the Sierras Chicas, or baby mountains, that border the city.  We're at a higher elevation than the rest of Argentina, and we get a lot more cold wind from Antarctica that hits the Sierras and comes back into the city.

    Although they might make the weather more difficult, the Sierras Chicas do have their advantages.  Mainly they provide a fantastic  cheap weekend getaway for poor university students.  I've made the trip to the Sierras twice.  The first time I went to Villa General Belgrano, a fantastically touristy German village in the mountains.  The second time we took an afternoon hike...which was a bit more intense, but still worthwhile.

    Villa General Belgrano was founded in 1930, and since then has attracted immigrants from Switzerland, Austria and especially Germany mainly because it's a close to the Alps as you're going to find in Central Argentina.  Actually, while I was there at least five people asked me if I was really from Germany because of my blond hair and blue eyes.  They all seemed really disappointed that I was from the United States.  All of the buildings are made to look like a German village with more than enough microbreweries (with fabulous beer) and places to buy chocolate (also pretty delicious) for tourists like me.  My four friends and I stayed in a Cabana, which is actually just this little apartment off of a family's house that you can rent for 50 pesos per person a night (which is about $12.50 American dollars for those of you keeping track at home).  The cabana itself was really nice because it had it's own stove and bathroom and fireplace.  The only downside...we walked into the bathroom and couldn't find the shower.  Then we realized that the bathroom was the shower.  Although we ruined a lot of toiletpaper with the water from the shower, using the toilet to prop up your leg was really nice if you wanted to shave.  We only spent a few days there, but it was really relaxing just walking around and eating.  Seriously, I think I gained about 5 pounds that trip from eating nothing but apple streudel and spatzle.  Totally worth it.  Last weekend a bunch of my friends went there for Octoberfest and had an amazing time as well. 

    I am officially the worst hiker in the entire universe.  Seriously, I am.  We drove about an hour outside of Cordoba and then drove part of the way up into the Sierras.  They told us we were going to go on a nice walk when they asked us if we all wanted to go...they lied.  We hiked up that stupid mountain (I don't care if it's actually a foothill, it might as well have been a mountain) for two hours in 100 (F) weather at noon in the sun.  Despite the fact that I probably had mild heat exhaustion by the end, the views were pretty spectacular and when we finally got to a pool of water to just sit and enjoy the scenery it was definitely worthwhile. A few of the guys and one very brave chica named Lauren jumped into the water to cool down.  Although I'm not sure I'd ever do it again, the feeling of accomplishment I had when I got to our final destination was incredible, and the aches I had the next day told me it was definitely a good cardio and strength workout. 

All in all I would say that the Sierras Chicas are definitely worth seeing. 
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