Saturday, June 6, 2015

Thursday, June 4, 2015: Mendoza to Buenos Aires to Cordoba:

Well, the plans for today have had a major change! 

We were up by 6:00 am, made a cup of coffee, packed, checked-out of the hotel, drove to the airport, returned the car and were checked-in at the airport.  We chatted with an American family from Annapolis, MD while everyone drank a cup of coffee to wake up!  The family left for their flight gate, when we realized someone was calling our name.  It was the gal who checked us in at the airport counter.  She told us that our flight to Cordoba was canceled!!  We have to fly to Buenos Aires first and catch a flight from BsAs to Cordoba at 3:00 this afternoon!!  3:00 pm!!  We will be missing a whole day of sightseeing!

When we arrived in BsAs we immediately asked if there was an earlier flight – everything was full, so we had to sit at the airport in BsAs waiting! 

The flight from Mendoza to BsAs was interesting.  We have been in such dry climates that it was shocking to see lakes and ponds – actually it looked more like Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes.  Lakes of all sizes and shapes, and what looked like canal ditches were everywhere, glistening in the sun.  The landscape was a beautiful green in comparison to what we have been in for the past week. We could see lots of rectangular green fields. 

We are looking at our guidebook on Cordoba, deciding what we will do with our shortened period of time in the area.  We will do what we can do! In the time we have! 

It was almost dusk when we arrived at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Convention Center in Cordoba. Our flight went well when we finally lifted off. Again we flew over a large expanse of agricultural land.  Once in Cordoba we picked up our rental car and drove directly to the hotel.  We have been staying in nice places, but we are enjoying a little more luxury at the Holiday Inn.  After a few minutes of settling in we took a cab into the downtown area.  We had several things we definitely want to see – a cathedral and the Plaza San Martin and we need to do these things tonight as tomorrow we want to head out of town. 

Cordoba is a much larger city than Mendoza and for one reason or another it is much greener – we think they get more rain.  Mendoza is just east of the mountains and those valleys get very little rain.  All of their vineyards, orchards, and other agriculture are irrigated.  Whereas the agricultural around Cordoba looks like it gets enough rain. 

I don’t know if I mentioned it before, that two men, San Martin and O’Higgins, are liberation heroes here in South America. Everywhere you go you see mention of them (sculptures, monuments, plaza names, etc. San Martin more often than O’Higgins, but it is often the two of them.

The central plaza (square) in Cordoba is named Plaza San Martin and across the street is the large Iglesia Cathedral.  When we entered the Cathedral at 7:35, a service was in progress.  There were a fair amount of people there for a 7:30 Thursday night mass.  We walked around a little, but left, saying we would come back later, as the interior of the cathedral was beautiful.   We walked around the plaza and other streets stopping at 2 other Cathedral. The third one was also having an 8:00 mass.  It was a very Gothic style edifice.  By now it is 8:35 so we went back to the Iglesia Cathedral.  We could hear singing this time, very upbeat singing, so we re-entered.  To our surprise this was a very charismatic mass, being led by a different priest.  It really was unbelievable.  They had a praise band that lead singing in which the congregation of 100-150 attendees were very involved – clapping, swaying, raising hands, etc. Then when the priest talked/prayed, in very uplifting tones, the praise band hummed in the background - since we could not understand a word, we could only go by voice and music intonation.   This is one time we were extremely disappointed that we could not understand.  But just listening was uplifting. We left before the mass was over, but we did linger for quite a while, enjoying the music.

Plaza San Martin
Statue of General San Martin

Iglesia Cathedral

Main Alter - Not Accessible
Congregation for first service

Ceiling with paintings

Center Naïve of the Cathedral

Over the Alter

The Dome

The Praise Band
San Francisco Cathedral

Corazon De Jesus Cathedral

Nearby Museum and Theater
By now it is time to find a restaurant.  At 9:15 we ordered the BBQ meat platter for the two of us. We are starved, as we have not eaten much today while at the airports. However we could not possibly eat all the meat, plus it was late!!

Whenever possible we are paying in U.S. dollars, as long as they are giving us a better rate than the official one.  If there is change, they give peso back in change, which is good, as some places will not take U.S. dollars, such as the taxi drivers.  We are getting low in pesos after tonight. 

Another thing I have not mentioned.  When someone asks where you are from, you do not say “America”, like we say when we are traveling in Europe, etc.  These people are also living in “America” – “South America”, so you say “USA”.

Another Vintage Car - Citroen "Duck"

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