Córdoba, it has so much to offer - Day 470
We really like Córdoba, it has so much to offer and to think that we very nearly didn’t come here. We only came to do Spanish language lessons.
On our last lesson, something clicked for me. I realised that I can speak a bit of Spanish, and what’s more, enjoy it.
After our class, we were invited to join an advanced course for two hours, just to observe and listen. They did an exercise looking at a cartoon about two children, one going to private school and the other to a state school. The example was that the privately educated child had more opportunities and confidence as they matured. The group was asked to discuss this. I must admit I did look up some words and read out what I wanted to say, however, I did share that I thought there should only be state education as in Finland, giving children equal educational opportunities in life. I felt chuffed speaking this in Spanish.
We are so inspired by our learning that we both try and speak Spanish to one another. “¿Vanos hacia la izquierda o hacia la derecha?”
Later in the day, we walked to Sarmiento Park. We popped into the Evita Perón Museum of Art, situated in the elegant Ferreyra Palace, built for a lime quarry owner in 1911. It’s quite amusing that the Art Museum, which was only established in 2007, is named after Evita Perón. I am guessing that the original owner of this building wouldn’t have shared her humanitarian views and dedication to improving working conditions.
The museum exhibits paintings mainly from the 19th and 20th century, and many of the artists are either born or living in Córdoba.
As we entered, we were greeted by a vast hallway with the most stunning paintings of mountains by artist Manuel Coutaret. My favourite was ‘Montañas Mágicas’, and it really was magical. We both loved the hues and the dramatic atmosphere of the painting.
The artwork in each room had a theme including portraits and country scenes; Tim’s favourite was of a man cutting his son’s hair and using the same implement he would cut the sheep, which were in the background. Two paintings by Francisco Vidal were incredible, it was as if we were looking through a window watching these women and could see the characters on their faces clearly.
We walked up the rather striking side staircase to the top floor where an exhibition was held of a modern Córdoban artist. The art wasn’t to our liking, primary colours of geometric stripes and blocks. We were more impressed with the completely black staircase with the bannister covered in short-haired black leather; very tactile.
We walked on to the Sarmiento park, overlooked by the Faro del Bicentenario, a thin monument opened in 2011 that reaches 102m into the sky. The park was opened a hundred years earlier, designed by a French urbanist, and named after a former president Domingo Sarmiento who was a great influencer concerning Education and literacy.
It is fabulous to see the Park being used extensively, not just by #Grownuptravellers.
We saw many sporty people of all ages in their lycra; jogging, walking, exercising, jumping, cycling, skateboarding and even doing some gymnastics with ribbons.
Lovers were canoodling on the park benches, friends chatting, children playing on a merry-go-round, a gorgeous Victorian style one. There was also a small rusty one that each time the father was pushing it around for his two children, it made an almighty squeak. Someone get some WD40, please!
On the outskirts of the park is a zoo, which we didn’t visit, and a Rose garden, which we did, strolling around, and stopping to inhale the aroma of the roses. Why is it that the white ones smell divine, whereas the other roses, be it deep red, pink or yellow, had little fragrance? Anyone know?
Time for dinner so, using our trusted friend Google maps we found Standard 69 restaurant down a passageway with other restaurants and groovy independent clothing stores, some looked as if they were in metal shipping containers. Oh my! The food was the best we have tasted in South America by far; delicious tapas-like plates of food such as Octopus with avocado, blobs of mash potato and pea, and drizzles of pesto and olive tapenade.
The restaurant had the friendliest of staff. I placed our order in Spanish, and the waitress was very impressed! (I must admit I surprised myself as well!). I mentioned that I like Sauvignon Blanc, but they only sell two other white wines by the glass. She found a bottle of my favourite wine already opened and gave me some. How lovely. The maître de was also charming with excellent English. It turns out that he used to work for Gordon Ramsey for six years in London and has also worked in Dubai. He was born here in Córdoba and decided to come back, and who can blame him?
What a lovely end to our special time in Córdoba, a city of students, sport, Spanish colonial architecture, 17th century Jesuit cloisters, churches and cathedrals and of course learning Spanish.
We leave tomorrow: Adiós Córdoba, gracias por un tiempo encantador.