It’s probably a bad sign when a cheeseburger and a plate of sausage are the healthiest meals I’ve had in a long time.
I promised Grandpa I would try to cut back on the food updates. This one is going somewhere, I swear.
South American cuisine is famous for a lot of things. Including lots of vegetables is not one of them. The lettuce on my burger and the sauerkraut with my sausage represent the closest things to salads in my current diet.
My guidebook is short on restaurant recommendations in Córdoba. But Yelp! came through with a terrific burger place. To call it a hole in the wall would be exaggerating; this place is a kitchen, with a couple stools that are more for waiting than eating in. The ingredients are fresh as can be. I watched the fry guy peel the potatoes. The beef was perfectly cooked. The tomatoes were red and juicy. And they whipped up fresh fruit juice to go with it.
(That’s not my burger, by the way, but it is the only picture I have)
One day spent exploring Córdoba was enough. For such a big city (around 1.5 million people, according to Wikipedia), there is surprisingly little to see in the downtown area.
A two hour bus ride away from Córdoba is the tiny hamlet of Villa General Belgrano. I visited the town museum and read the history of the place. But that history was written in Spanish. I’ll just make up the parts that I didn’t understand.
Villa General Belgrano is named for a famous Argentinean general, but is most famous for being the eventual settling spot for the German sailors of the Graf Spee, a warship that was sunk during the Battle of the River Plate in World War 2. Set in the Sierras de Córdoba, the houses and buildings resemble a German village. Instead of asado, the local specialties include knackwurst and German-style beers brewed in the village.
Since its in the mountains, Villa General Belgrano has access to good outdoor activities. There is a riverwalk in the town itself–more of a creek walk, really. Across the main road is 45 minute hike to a peak with views of the valley. Tourist offices advertise mountain biking, paragliding, and more.
I went a month too early. Villa General Belgrano has one of the most famous Oktoberfests outside of Germany. I settled for the beer, the sausage with sauerkraut and German potato salad, and the apple strudel with ice cream.
Nothing like German beer and food to make me feel like I’m in South America.
There is quite a connection between Argentina and Europe. Beyond the obvious ties to Spain, Argentina was a popular choice for Italian settlers in the late 19th century–hence the wine culture, and delicious ice cream. The English brought football to Argentina. And, famously, many Nazi Germans escaped prosecution by fleeing to Argentina after losing the war. Buenos Aires has been called the most European city in the world.
This trip has taken me to all kinds of places I never expected; least of all was Germany.