article from March 29, 2011
By Jamie Douglas
Inasmuch as this is going to be more of a photographic odyssey rather than a verbal one, I will spare you all the great amount of knowledge I accumulated during my brief stay in Córdoba, which, in spite of walking miles and miles and taking hundreds of images, is limited to that of a visitor who only got to see and experience the best this second largest city in Argentina has to offer.
The city center is lovely, an architectural, historical and artistic jewel, where there is obviously a lot of civic pride involved. Clean is an understatement. Even the stray dogs seem to be more noble than in most other places. The air seems fit to breathe and vehicular manslaughter does not seem to be on most drivers’ minds; in fact, courtesy seems to rule.
Not once did anyone stop me to warn me about my cameras and the criminals lurking for me in the cracks in the sidewalk. The entire populace we encountered seemed to be a happy and content people.
A large portion of the downtown area is connected by a web of pedestrian malls, many covered with natural awnings held in place by metal trellises, which provide shade for those strolling below them, stopping for an occasional beer or glass of Malbec, enjoying an ice cream here and there, and shopping till they drop. There are many sidewalk cafés offering everything from medialunas (aka croissants) to full-on meals of great Argentinean beef, milanesas and even some ethnic foods.
The dogs are well behaved, for which they deserve a reward, and no beggars will come to your table, as they all seem to have their assigned corners and doorways, where the generosity of the shoppers exceeded anything I have so far witnessed. About every third or fourth store will be a cellphone outlet, and 3.5 g wireless is everywhere. Sit down anywhere and you will have a free signal, and if you need a password, the wait help will gladly give it to you.
I am not much of a city person, but for anyone who may consider moving to Argentina, I highly recommend checking out Córdoba. Home to a large population of university students, the feel is youthful, with a vibrant art scene that adds even more class to this beautiful city. Pollution is at quite an acceptable level, all services are available and, best of all, it is not Buenos Aires, which I love dearly as well, but BsAs has the many drawbacks of an enormous city.
Public transport is top notch, and if you feel the need to go to Buenos Aires, there is always the choice of going by plane, train or micro (interstate bus).
There is also direct service to Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Mendoza and Patagonia from here. The bus station is very modern and clean, with not one, but two supermarkets upstairs. The important thing on the bus service is that you pay attention that you know the final destination of your bus, as that is the only thing listed on the front and many long-haul buses will go way past your destination. There are hourly departures to Buenos Aires with first-class buses of several companies, all of which are safe and sound. Bringing your own snacks and water or other refreshments is highly recommended, as they feed you something similar to old tourist-class airline food, which may not always be the best.
As far as expat living and retirement goes, if you need to live near a metropolitan area, Córdoba rates tops for me, in quality of urban life, cultural affairs and accessibility. So if you have any interest at all, I urge you to check it out, and as usual, don’t fall for the first place you see. Rent for a while before you buy, so you can always walk away from it if you are not happy without taking a big spanking, financially speaking.
Live Life, Love Live, and snort the adventure that awaits people of all ages out here. Life is for the living, and that is US!
All photos by Jamie Douglas:
All photos by Jamie Douglas:
I encourage you to write me at cruzansailor [at] gmail [dot] com with any questions or suggestions you may have. Disclaimer: I am not in any travel-related business. My advice is based on my own experiences and is free of charge (Donations welcome). It is always my pleasure to act as a beneficial counselor to those who are seekers of the next adventure.