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Alta Gracia; Good for Asthma

ARGENTINA | Friday, 8 April 2011 | Views [1573]

Little Ernestito 'Che' Guevara's House!

Little Ernestito 'Che' Guevara's House!

Day Trip! Week one in Córdoba is over and since I only have one weekend here, I wanted to make the most of it and venture to one of the nearby cities. There are lots of places around Córdoba where you can do pretty much anything outdoorsy; horseback ride, hike, mountain bike, swim, skydive, etc.  I decided to head to Alta Gracia, a small pueblito about an hour away because I wanted to have the opportunity to visit the house Che Guevara grew up in. Rosalie, the cuteset little Brazilian I’ve ever seen wanted to check it out as well so we planned to head out early Saturday morning. Being good little Argentinians, early meant leaving her apartment at about 12:30pm when our goal had been 9:00am…trust me when I say this is actually a success.


Just to stay true to form and maintain my “oh don’t worry, at least it’s a funny story!” reputation, I rationalized that since it’s supposed to be summer in Argentina and every single day had been hot enough to wear a tank top and skirt, I donned an appropriate summer outfit and flip flops and headed out. Aaaand then it got cold. Real cold. Cold enough that every person we saw was wearing pants, a jacket and scarf, and basically prepared should a blizzard come to town. So  here I am in some ‘spot what’s wrong with this picture’ outfit speed walking to get to the next warm spot. As Rosalie kindly noted, “everyone stares at you when we walk by!” Uh yes, that’s because I look like I have escaped from a mental institution because at age 27 I clearly can’t dress myself.

Cool shoes, right?

I’d rather not write about how I went from freezing to tacky and freezing when I put on my hiking shoes (brought in case we stayed the night) so to get a bit warmer wore hiking shoes with my outfit (so cute, right?) or the fact that I ran from room to room in the monastery deemed a World Cultural Heritage spot in order to keep warm in the semi-heated rooms while hearing a large tourist group comment that I was ‘loca’. So I won’t. I will talk about how awesome Che Guevara’s house was and how I learned all about his life (and how to set off motion detectors).


Little Ernestito 'Che' Guevara's house is a pleasant walk (when wearing sensible clothes) from the center of the city and it’s kiiinda easy to pick out with the massive Argentinian and Chilean flag on the doorstep along with a poster and bronze statue of Che as a boy. Once inside, the entire house is a museum devoted to his life and childhood. As a young boy, Che's asthma was so serious his family packed up and moved to Alta Gracia, famous for it's dry, fresh air. You walk through his childhood home where each room has artifacts from various stages of his life; from when he was a baby to a revolutionary, with each room representing a time period. My favorite room was the first room with photos of Che as a small child and information about him as a student and young boy. I was a little skeptical of the books laid out to show what Che might have read as a boy considering all were stories like Robinson Crusoe or El Rey del Mar (King of the Sea). Ummm where are the Goodnight Moon or Berenstein Bear books? Did he really read these books at age 5? I guess that explains why his childhood home is a museum and the only revolutionary ideas from my childhood were how to convince my parents to get sugar cereal rather than plain shredded wheat.

Other rooms held items from his political career and his famous bike trips through Central and South America. When I walked into the room where his bike is displayed as well as the map showing the routes he took, I listened in on a guide giving a tour in Spanish and discussing Che's adventures to a few tourists. Leave it to me to make an casual situation and make it awkward by setting off the motion detectors! Next thing I know the alarm is going off, the guide is looking at me and I get an irritated look from the woman collecting tickets because did I mention that this was the 2nd time setting off the alarm? Ooops! How am I supposed to overhear and get a free tour when I can't lean in?

Che Guevara rode a bike like this all over Central and S.America

After leaving the museum and making a bathroom stop which turned out to be much more entertaining than finding a bathroom should ever be, we headed back into town to visit the Jesuit Monastary, a World Heritage site and also where the Jesuits who founded the city lived for centuries. They've done a great job trying to keep it intact and throughout the museum are many artifacts that help you to see what life must have been like in the 17th and 18th century, Alta Gracia.

Tags: alta gracia, argentina, che guevara, travel

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