One week in Córdoba
From Tuesday 17th to Monday 23rd April 2018
I arrived at dawn in Córdoba after a short night bus trip (“only” 6h, this is not enough to sleep!). I met Juan again, with whom I had kept in touch since he had received me last December. What a pleasure to see how fluent our conversations now were, be it my understanding or my expression… nothing to compare with our first meeting, when I was just starting to learn Spanish.
Córdoba is still not a city that I don’t like but fortunately Juan lives in a quiet town in the suburbs, so I didn’t have to endure too much this chaotic and tiring city.
We spent very nice moments together, doing morning yoga classes (Juan is a kundalini yoga teacher), sharing the indispensable and unmissable mate… Juan also works for Cocina Veg a la orden, a small vegan catering company. I had the occasion to go with him one morning to work there, and what a nice experience! Created 9 years ago by a very nice couple, this healthy vegan food is very creative and inspiring (vegan cheeses, pizzas in a fire oven, hamburgers made out of rice and leguminous plants, etc.).
We also went to an electro festival… what a pleasure for me after such a long time without dancing (since the beginning of my trip, more than six months)! It was also the occasion to experiment the Argentinian public, hence of Córdoba. Nothing to compare with France: much more smiling and dancing, with a nice and communicative energy, no aggressiveness nor any judgment as you can sometimes see with the French… a perfect night!
I also spent my last day in La Cumbre, a small town located north of Córdoba, where I met again Emilie, with who I was volunteering in Catamarca. I went there hitchhiking with no less than four different cars but finally made it!
We spent a quiet day there, sharing a nice picnic and walking up to the summit that overlooks the city. Our day finished with a small open-air concert with music and folkloric dance, to end up perfectly my stay in Argentina.
From Córdoba to Yacuiba
Tuesday 24th April 2018
20h in the bus, a rather comfortable night and I arrived in the early morning in Yacuiba, a town located at the frontier between Argentina and Bolivia. I crossed the border without any trouble and the bus dropped me off at the terminal, as my goal was not to directly go to Santa Cruz de la Sierra but to join Tupiza so to visit the region of Sud Lipez and Uyuni Salt flat. To make it, I first had to go to Tarija, about 7h from Yacuiba.
There was no bus until the evening so I had to wait all day long… I woke up with a freshly pressed juice at the mercado central – hence discovering the concept but I would then find it everywhere in Bolivia: a huge hall with two stairs, one with fruits, vegetables, breads, meats and all kind of products, and one with small restaurants and stands where to drink and eat for a few pesos. I talked with two nice Bolivian sisters while taking this juice, which was rather nice for a first contact with Bolivia!
The rest of the day was quite long as I didn’t know where to wait: at the cemetery, at the mercado central (where I managed to hide to have a necessary nap), at the main square and finally at the terminal. It was finally time for an epic bus trip on a mountain road that would make sick more than one person sensible in transports. I managed to get some rest and arrived at the great hour of 2.30 a.m. in Tarija. What a silly idea to plan buses that arrive in the middle of the night!
Fortunately I had anticipated and told my hostel’s owner about it so he opened me the doors… so I could finally collapse in a real bed!
The nice Tarija
Wednesday 25th April 2018
Recovering from my emotions after some necessary hours of sleep, I spent a quiet first day in Tarija, which I went to discover at the end of the afternoon. This town is at the heart of a valley where is produced the only one Bolivian wine. It is said that it is a good place to live and I can confirm this positive feeling. I felt quite stared but the people were rather nice, far from what I had been told about the Bolivian amiability. However I learnt later on that this was specific for this region so I would see how it is in the rest of the country.
I was starting to understand how the country works: no supermarket but many small shops and stalls all per theme, where you could buy EVERYTHING (from fabric to DIY tools), small stands at every corner to buy food to take away, fruits, peanuts, fresh juices… and these traditional clothes of the women: pleated skirt, thick stockings, shawl on the shoulders, two long braids and hat on their head. They are not easy to photograph but I still hope I will manage to take some pictures later on my trip in Bolivia!
After a nice yoga session on my hostel’s huge rooftop everything was going better; I had now recovered from this long trip!
San Lorenzo and Marquiri waterfall
Thursday 26th April 2018
Following the tips of my hostel’s owner, I took a local but to visit the nice village of San Lorenzo and then hike up to Marquiri waterfall. A pleasant walk in the countryside and off the beaten tracks: I only met locals there! The hike up to the waterfall took me about 3h and was the occasion to explore the valley in the north of Tarija, surrounded by green mountains that reminded me a little bit of the landscapes about Drakensberg in South Africa.
One should not expect to find many indications on the way or to get any localization on Maps.me but people were rather happy to help and this short hike was not complicated at all.
Back to Tarija at the end of the afternoon, I went to the terminal to take another night but, heading to Tupiza. At last the long waited Uyuni salt flats!
To be continued…
Bus Catamarca – Córdoba: 540$ – 21€ – 6h-bus trip
Bus Córdoba – Yacuiba: 1 800$ – 70€ – Around 20h with dinner and breakfast included
Bus Yacuiba – Tarija: 50 BOB – 6€ –7h- bus trip on dirt road with lots of curves and not comfortable… better not be sick in transport
Taxi from Tupiza terminal (far from city center) to the centre: 10 BOB – 1,20€ – in shared taxi, 20 BOB – 2,40€ to be alone in the taxi
Local buses in Tupiza: 10 BOB round-trip Tupiza – San Lorenzo
Bus Tarija – Tupiza: 70 BOB – 8,40€ – The same, about 7h-bus trip on sinuous mountain road, for people that are not scared
Hostal Sucursal del Cielo – Tarija : 45 BOB – 5€ per night in a 2-bed room with breakfast (tea, coffee, bread). Central and quiet hostal, with a huge rooftop and a good wifi. The owner is very nice and opened the doors even in the middle of the night.
Food & beverage
Freshly pressed juice (and served twice) at mercado central in Yacuiba: 7 BOB – 0,80€
Entrance to walk to Marquiri waterfall: 5 BOB – 0,60€