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Graham Williams & Louise Jones Travel Blog This is our journal logging our trip through Central and Latin America from July 2005 to the present date. We update it and add new pictures every two to three weeks. At the moment Will is travelling in South Africa, while Lou is living in Buenos Aires.For more background reading on our travels go to - http://journals.worldnomads.com/will/

Cordoba and Mendoza

ARGENTINA | Saturday, 9 September 2006 | Views [1082]

Out on the range.

Out on the range.

Cordoba, in the west of Argentina, is the second city and was settled mainly by Italians.  This heritage lives on in the food with one of the local specialities being spinach filled canneloni with cheese and leak sauce; although you are never too far from a steak.

After a few days sight-seeing and relaxing in Cordoba we travelled a couple of hours north to stay on an estancia (a ranch) in the hills of the Sierras de Cordoba.  The estancia dates back to the eighteenth century and the mother and son who currently run it keep cows, goats and horses.  The area was full of birds with parakeets, woodpeckers, hawks, plovers and flycatchers, especially down by the river.

The area was inhabitated long before the Spanish arrived; there are old rock paintings which the English language version of the estancia´s leaflet describes as "aboriginal leftovers". We went horse riding on a beautiful bright spring afternoon and watched our host rounding up the cows and wrestling a calf to the ground to spray and mark it.

The land around the estancia is quite dry but the grass and aromatic herbs produce good meat.  On our second evening we had traditional Argentine asado with home-raised, home-killed meat roasted in an outside stone oven.  (To think we used to rarely eat red meat before this trip.  But it´s such good quality, hormone-free, delicious and also very much part of the culture ... when in Rome etc.)

To the south of Cordoba are a string of pretty little farming towns and villages set in rolling hills.  We visited Villa General Belgrano which was founded by the German seamen from the Graf Spee ship that was scuttled off Uruguay.  The town plays on this heritage with an Oktober fest, cafes called Edelweiss and lots of wooden architecture.  It just manages to avoid being kitsch and is a popular day trip for Cordoba city dwellers.

A day on a bus heading south took us to the city of Mendoza with the snow-capped Andes as a backdrop - our first view of them since leaving them in June in Bolivia.

The Mendoza region is famous for its wines which take advantage of long hours of sunshine, cool nights and an abundance of melt water  from the Andes.  We visited several wineries with guided tours and generous samplings.  Many of the vineyards have kept their old wooden presses, cowhide baskets and original barrels for display, though in some cases they are still using equipment over a hundred years old.

We then spent several days in the lovely town of San Rafael which was founded in 1883 by a Frenchman who planted the first grapes in the area.  Nearby is a spectacular canon and a series of lakes where we had a lovely walk, accompanied by two local dogs, and a picnic by the river.

Written by Louise.

To read more on Argentina and view more pictures visit this link http://journals.worldnomads.com/will/post/1531.aspx

Tags: On the Road

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