This is an update of the original post that published before it was finished.
We began to suspect the weekend is busy in Tafi del Valle when the buses leaving Tucuman were full. We did not expect, however that we were arriving just in time for the closing weekend of the 50th Fiesta Nacional de Queso. We actually had heard of this festival but expected it to be next weekend. And it would have been next weekend if February had 31 days as it ought to do.
We could not miss it now, if we tried, since the festivities are happening pretty much across the street from our hostel.
We had been planning this part of our trip to be in Salta province, but last week we decided we couldn’t really explain why we wanted to go to Salta and decided to make an intermediate stop on our way to Corrientes without going as far north as Salta. Travel blogs give very high marks to Tafi del Valle for quaintness, quietude and outdoor activity. By the time we decided to come here there were quite limited options for accomodations and the hostel we chose was almost the last one we could find on line.
There are good reasons, sometimes, for the last available room to be so situated. Being across the street from an outdoor concert venue could be one of them. This may sound like a complaint, and I guess it is. It is the end of a long day with a sound legacy of complaints.
We started our day on the previous day. We left our cozy retreat in Colanchanga in the morning, after touring Vlad’s motorcycle museum. This is neither a joke nor an overstatement. Vlad has become a unique authority on Argentine motorcycles, primarily by finding antique ones and restoring them into original condition. A section of his workshop displays the completed works, while current projects are in various stages of completion on the several work benches.
A short bus ride took us to Cordoba, the second largest city in Argentina. Along the way we received e-mails from our bus company that our next leg had been cancelled, requiring us to make alternate arrangements for our travel to Tucuman. Fortunately, intercity bus travel is the norm here so there was no problem arranging seats on a bus leaving an hour earlier than we planned.
We checked our back packs with the Guardia del Equipaje and walked to the city center and an abbreviated tour of the area. We had not anticipated the day would be the hottest day of the year in Cordoba, and shade from the sun was inadequate to relieving the discomfort from the heat. Regardless, we enjoyed the day, stopping into various museums and cathedrals.
This is the city cathedral located on Plaza San Martin.
I find it close to impossible to get a good representation of any cathedral’s interior space. This one is very rich and intricate in detail.
Here is the edifice as dusk descended on the city.
Else had told us the architect who designed their home had created a number of stone shadow installations around several of the buildings that reflect the edifices onto the ground. Here is an example, reflecting the arches of the city cathedral, taken from the cathedral entrance.
A short walk from the Plaza de San Martin we happened upon the Santuario del Corazon de Jesus de la Misericordia.
I could not find a setting on my camera to bring out the colors in this edifice, though here are a few attempts.
The interior is as ornate and colorful as the edifice, though here again I have not been successful capturing the grandeur of the building.
Part of our tour was disrupted by a power failure that went on for an uncomfortably long time. We had just entered a palace that is now a museum when we were required to leave due to the power failure. I was really disappointed, not only because it was a very interesting building but because the air conditioning system was very effective. At least until the power went out.
After a period of touring we decided it was time to get dinner and possibly a cold beer before heading to the bus station. We headed to the Guemas neighborhood that the woman at the tourist office said had the best selection of restaurants. We discovered after a long hot walk that nothing in that neighborhood opens until late evening, so we wandered the streets looking for any place that was open, particularly if it had air conditioning. It was during this time that I began to notice I was experiencing symptoms of heat illness. Fortunately we found a place in the shade with a strong cool breeze that was much more satisfying than a cold beverage.
I know at least one of you (whose initials are MM, by the way) who is thinking “what kind of idiot are you attempting to drink alcoholic beverages in such a situation?” I fully concur. We eventually found a salty pizza and some cold beer and could not afterwards releive my thirst, no matter how much water I drank.
As we were eating the Sun set and the temperature dropped considerably. Soon it was sprinkling rain and we got to the bus station just before the skies opened.
The overnight bus to Tucuman was uneventful and both Paula and I slept intermittently. In Tucuman we found the ticket office for the main regional bus company and were ticketed on the bus that would leave for Tafi del Valle in 30 minutes. There was no time for breakfast and coffee, though we each got a cup of something advertised as coffee, but we suspect it was a something else. Paula insinuating herself here – never get coffee at a place named, Dogsy.
Two hours later we arrived in Tafi del Valle. Those of you who know me well understand that I am quick to anger, particularly when tired, and usually choose to build a mansion to house all of my complaints. That was the main characteristic of my reaction to being in Tafe de Valle. The taxi driver did not know how to get to our hostel, and we could not help him since could not access cell phone or data service in the area. After a while he agreed to use his own cell phone if we would pay for the call, and then headed away from the village, taking us to the outskirts of town. At the hotel, the proprieter would not honor the rate we received with our reservation. Then we could not get any of our credit cards to work. Eventually we decided we would walk into town to the only ATM machine in the village and pay for the room in cash, meaning we would not be able to get the IVA removed and the room would end up being close to 40% more than we anticipated.
On the way into town we encountered heavy vehicle traffic and crowds of people on the street. It seems Tafi is a good location for people trying to escape the heat of the cities. I snapped at Paula for quite a while that we should just get on the bus to Cafayate. Instead we returned to the hostel, took naps and woke up in a better mood.
I am going to end this post right here, since the rest of the story about Tafi is long and detailed and my phone is slowing down, indicating that I will be getting error messages soon and this post will disappear.