This is a tiny little story about a German community in Argentina, nothing crazy happened but I think it’s worth writing about visiting an actual german town in Argentina, so…
In addition to a map of the city, the guys at Baluch backpackers also gave us a basic area map of towns and points of interest around Córdoba. A couple of interesting places sprang out at us, but one had the added benefit of recommendations from other travelers at the hostel… On more than one occassion we were told of a little “Germantown” spot just southwest of Córdoba, where they have great German beer (naturally) and a deutsch experience with a south american twist. Again, naturally this place called to us 😉 The four of us hiked down to the bus terminal early one morning, intent on a leisurely day trip. The bus tickets came out to ARS80 there & back per person (inexplicably, it’s ARS50 there and somewhat less back o.O) and the 1-hour journey was unexpectedly beautiful! We wound up mountains via switchbacks, which (beyond making some of us a bit motion sick), gave us great alternating views of high mountain ranges and low-lying lakes. Gorgeous… The atmosphere was complete with mist blanketing the vista.
Before the bus stopped at the terminal in Villa General Belgrano I could see wooden storefronts, and souvenir shops lining the road. The main road through town was definitely also the main tourist spot, because buildings and decorations were very conspiciously different and more reminiscent of a sterotypical german countryside postcard than of a large community of German descendants having settled there. Oh well, it certainly gave the place a festive, unique feeling. Walking down the town’s main axis, we passed lots of restaurants with intricately carved doorposts or wall decorations; shops selling figurines wearing lederhosen and carrying golden, sloshing tankards; and of course a tourist office. They were really helpful and pointed us to another attraction in the area – the Pozo Verde Nature Reserve (awesome!). But first, a snack! Most restaurants were thoroughly overpriced for our what we’d intended to pay. Looking back it wasn’t any more ‘overpriced’ than fancy schmancy places in a trendy part of a city, which I have no problem with; our budgets and upcoming travel plans just made us more careful. We found a great lunch place, though; they were just opening up and drew us in with their Entish doorpost carvings and advertisements of craft beer. It was cozily warm inside, the music was a very interesting (but strangely appropriate) mix of dance hall and pop-y reggae music. 🙂 While the guys had beer, I ordered a coco and chocolate monstrosity, with milk and chocolate bars melting into a rich, sugary mixture (sooo delicious). The food was decidedly not German, but also positively mouthwatering! The pizza was satisfyingly cheesy, with great toppings; Ryan had a hearty bean stew kind of thing and Kiernan had a fresh, colourful salad.
We left the restaurant so stuffed, it took us longer than it probably needed to to walk to the Nature Reserve, but I think not one of us had regrets. It turns out the ‘nature reserve/bird sanctuary’ is really just a fenced-off stretch of hills – there were signs where you turn off the road to get to the reserve’s cabanas, but not much else. This suits us just fine: there was no-one else there besides us until just before we left and there weren’t really any signs that the place is visited frequently (the walking path is narrow and weaves over and around a bubbling stream, and there’s no trash or discarded bits and pieces of human origin). The further away we got from the main roads, the more we were enveloped by nature all around: there were flocks of tiny birds screeching and wailing (really, that’s what it sounds like) from a couple of trees, hills cutting off sight of Villa General Belgrano and the stream we followed bubbled happily downhill. When Tom and Ryan outpaced us up the path to a lookout hill (actually we just stopped halfway down to bond with our books;), Tom even found a huge, edible mushroom! This was definitely one of the most peaceful spots we’ve found since coming to South America. 🙂
With something of a ‘nature fix’ taken care of for the moment, we walked back to the bus terminal and bought our tickets back just as it was getting dark. We couldn’t enjoy the scenery this time around, but I’m pretty sure none of us even succeeded in staying awake.