Argentina 4: Alta Gracia

So the time switch problem from a couple of days ago?  Carried over to today.  I switched my watch while I was in Mendoza but not my alarm clock, so got up an hour late today.  No big deal, didn’t miss out on anything, but I think I’m getting dumber as the trip goes along.  Meh.

Alta Gracia was the stop today.  $2.50 for a ticket there, 45 minute ride by minibus, not a bad way to go.  Walking from the bus station kind of reminded me of walking through residential Waterloo – nice, but nothing too special.

The two main sites of the city are the Estancia Jesuitica and the Che Guevara museum.  Both are surprisingly awesome considering how the rest of the city stacks up.

I’ll be honest in that I didn’t really know a whole lot about Che before going to the museum.  Yeah, I knew his role in the Cuban Revolution, the motorcycle across South America, him dying in Bolivia, but I never really got the whole cult of personality that was built around him.  Well, after checking out the museum, I got it.  It’s funny, because lots of people call themselves revolutionaries and, the minute they get in to power, they end up being just a newer version of the establishment.  This guy legitimately wanted to free people from bad rulers and gave up all of his powers in Cuba to go and do that in the Congo and Bolivia.  You read some of his letters and the charisma just jumps off the page.  Definitely an interesting, worthwhile stop.

The Estancia Jesuitica was the next stop, a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its construction and its importance to the Jesuits while they were working in South America (Alta Gracia, near Cordoba, was on a major trade route).  Beautiful building, nice layout, cool rooms and a weird picture of the Virgin Mary and San Jose putting a chain around a nun’s neck while Mary appears to be stomping on two baby angel heads.  Wasn’t allowed to take a picture, unfortunately.

This was about the time that my belt broke.  The clasp snapped and it barely worked, which is odd since I’ve lost weight this trip.  The belt was a few years old, though.

Also, it was about the same time I tried to use my ATM card in Alta Gracia, only to discover none of the ATMs there had Plus network access.  Had enough to get back in to town, have a sandwich, pay for museum admissions.  Still, a bit unnerving.

Decided I’d make one last stop in town, as I saw a neat looking picture of a church on a hill which was supposed to be near a grotto.  The Grotto of the Lady of Lourdes, it was called.  Nice way to end the day, although the Grotto looked like it was put together at Home Depot.

Got the minibus back into town, wandered up to the shopping areas around Saint Martin and found myself a nice belt for 30 Pesos.  Went for McDonalds for the simplicity of it and ended up waiting twenty minutes for a Pollo Bacon combo – there’s something to be said for McDonalds not just having food ready for you down here, but the lack of convenience was a bit much here.  Just chilling at the hostel right now, 11pm bus to Buenos Aires!

Excited to see what that city has to offer.  Heard nothing but good things.

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