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By marksams, 01/11/2011 - 00:00

At first it just looked like another city, well that's what I thought on the walk from the bus station to the central square at 7am. The hotel we checked into was a being renovated, and we opted for a knackered old room with a lower rate.

We explored the streets, and knowing that we might want to stay more than a couple of days, we looked for alternative accommodation, and found a great little 'apart-hotel' with rented apartments at a reasonable price. As Cordoba became more familiar, and we settled into the apartment, it began to feel like home.

Unfortunately the Museo de Memoria was closed (for January holidays) when we visited, but the tour of the university was excellent, although difficult to follow in places. We did however get a real sense of what life was like in early colonial times with catholic missions, and checked out the university's 16th century book collection and some early maps of South America.

One day we tried our first Empanadas in a back street (and weren't disappointed) then headed to the train station. We thought it might be a nice idea to get the train to Buenos Aires instead of another air conditioned coach. No luck. The next train with availability was a month from now, and we practically had to wake up the station staff to get this info! We booked another coach ticket to Buenos Aires.

The highlight of our time here was one Friday night in the open air dance floor next to the main square. It was set in a historical building with a great ambiance that typified the Argentine Tango. We tried a lesson with some other beginners, but then sat down and watched as the locals filtered in and filled the dance floor. This was a real experience when compared to the tourist shows in Buenos Aires.

We finished up in Cordoba with a city tour on a old London bus, and a night out with the light and fountain show at Buen Pastor. We watched it twice (7pm and 9pm) with dinner in between. Here again, it was nice to see a relaxed and sociable crowd, sharing maté with hot water flasks, which is a true Argentinean idiosyncrasy.

Looking back I think Cordoba was my favourite Argentinean city, probably due to its smaller size and friendlier people versus Buenos Aires, and with more cultural interest than Salta.