This is our second visit to Córdoba. We came the first time because we wanted to see the real Argentina, away from the tourist trail. This time we have been drawn back by the city's charm. Don't get me wrong – it is a run down, chaotic, stress-inducing charm – but a charm nevertheless.
We head out from the hotel on foot. We know better than to tangle with the problem of parking in the inner-city and we have discovered that the spare tyre in our rental car is flat. The car company has promised to come to the hotel and change it.
We are in the same clothes that we wore on the plane. We hope that our luggage will be delivered to the hotel in the early afternoon – but it is a hot day, we are not dressed for the heat and we wonder what we will do if our bags are not found. I am grateful that, at the last minute, I decided to wear my walking shoes on the plane, rather than my cute little blue ballet flats which have absolutely no cushioning.
Córdoba was founded in 1573 as one of the first Spanish Colonial capitals in Argentina. The Jesuits arrived soon after and set about converting the population and building magnificent churches and estancias. In the Manzana Jesuitica (Jesuit Block) we marvel at the beautifully preserved churches. Córdoba's Cathedral is the oldest in Argentina. We wander through the streets, chancing again and again on magnificent buildings. We are still tired, still jet-lagged but our spirits have revived and we consider ourselves very fortunate. Late in the afternoon we catch a taxi back to the hotel. In an act, which would in Australia be considered chauvinistic, the taxi driver offers David a newspaper to read in the cab. Far from being offended I am touched by his friendliness. I explain that I speak very little Spanish and David speaks none. The Argentines must be the nicest people in the world.
The hotel clerk stops us as we walk in – the spare tyre on our car has been fixed and our bags have arrived.