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A little History !

Posted by on October 10, 2012

Reluctantly we left our sleepy little places that we had traveled through over the last few weeks, but  as we were heading towards the Andean Northwest,  the city of Cordoba was on route and it took our fancy for a day, and we were not disappointed.  We parked in the Municipal Gral San Martin campsite which was about 10km from the center and we took the bus in , mind you it was a 2 km walk to the bus stop, but sure no worries we said.  Actually it was a nice walk as you were walking through the natural reserve so there was no traffic. We were the only people staying there, so we had a huge area all to ourselves, no problem with space for the mog, and as you saw in an earlier photo on face-book, we even had our own guard dog.   However, when we got on the bus,we realized that  the bus driver didn’t take money as everybody operates on pre-paid bus tickets which you just swipe as you get on, but he didn’t blink when he saw us Tourists. But, a lovely lady got up from her seat and paid for us without evening thinking about it, people are just so good, mind you I did pay her, and for our return journey home a student did exactly the same for us.  Apparently it is quite acceptable for some one else to pay on their card for you, and you just give them the money, but in fact the student didn’t even want to take the money from us! I certainly will be more aware when I see Tourists on Dublin Bus in the future!

The streets were normally busier, this was the only time I felt safe enough to get a shot without being driven over. And it was the widest street in the City.

Cordoba is set in the central sierras and it is a bustling modern and university town, characterized by beautiful old colonial buildings, a fascinating mix of old and new, for example you can see crowded student bars next to old Jesuit ruins!.  Most of Cordoba’s population are of Italian descent and you see some young designers and artisans selling their stuff on the streets.

We were surprised to see a statue of Anne Frank (The Dutch girl famous for her diaries during the 2nd world war).

Here in Cordoba we wanted to see the Museo de la Memoria (Museum of the Missing). This museum occupies a space formerly used as a clandestine center for detention and torture. It was operated by the Department of Intelligence (D2), a special division created in Cordoba to persecute and repress suspected political activists.  The walls are covered with photographs of people who are still ‘missing’ after 30 years, memory books are left in memory of loved ones, and people can bring related subject matter like letters , written documents, objects, belonging to these people at any time to the Museum.  It had quite an eery feeling as you walk through it imagining what had happened here , but it is a reminder of an era that human-rights groups hope will never be forgotten  , or all of us for that matter.

Sarah looks through some of the books in the Museum. The faces of the missing on the wall makes it a very personal thing.

Outside the Museum, images of each of the missing are overhead between the Museum and the Cathedral What is crazy is that the detention and torture building looked out on the Cathedral and the Cities main square.

After all of that heavy stuff it was time for lunch and a beer which we enjoyed sitting in amongst the students and people watching while enjoying the lovely sunshine.

Just a little outside of Cordoba is a beautiful little town called Alta Gracia, and it first came into prominence in the 1920 s as it attracted wealthy Argentinians in search of second homes, and it was here that Ernesto Che Guevara spent a lot of his childhood years, and now the house/museum is like a shrine to him.  It is only a small little house, and here you can see a collection of family photos, Cuban bank notes (as he became the President of the bank ) , school report cards, letters to his aunt, his favorite books that he liked to read, he also played golf and was an excellent chess player.   Also you can see the house’s original kitchen stove, and it was know as an ‘economy stove’ due to its novel system of supplying the house with hot water, and Ernesto spent a lot of time here when his asthma prevented him from playing with his friends.

Outside the house, there is a statue of Che as a child. I wonder what he would have made of the Mog.

The Norton. We’re not sure that it was Che’s bike, but it seems it was with him on one of his rides when he wrote the motorcycle diaries.

There are great maps of his trips through Latin America and you can see the 500cc Norton that he and his buddy used for one of them. An added interest to us was that his family were partly of Irish descent, apparently!

There is a map of where Che traveled, and he really does qualify as an over-lander.

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