Culture Clash Argentina – Villa General Belgrano & Cumbrecita (by Nathan)
Argentina is a big country and getting out of it means a long bus ride. Lucky for us we were able to hop over to little Germany with a recommendation from our friend Jenny.
We had this great idea to volunteer at an organic farm working every day for our food and lodging. When we arrived we found a campground, no farm, no food and a freezing cold night. The only work was chopping wood; I did not want to spend the week recreating the piles of wood from my childhood so we moved our packs to the nearby town of Villa General Belgrano (VGB).
VGB was settled in the forested mountains about two hours south-west of Córdoba. Germans fled from Europe after WWII and there was no better place than the sierras of Argentina that so closely resembled their homeland.
There is a steep and rewarding hike to overlook the city. From our perch in the sky we looked down on the cute log buildings, gentle crystal blue creek and the hundreds of Argentinean tourists that also wanted to be here on the semana santa (Easter week).
At night we cooked some awesome meals out of the outdoor hostel kitchen. We grilled eggplants, peppers, onions, and garlic and tossed it with pasta, yogurt and lemon for a flavorful meal.
Forty-five minutes on a small bus from VGB is another adorable town: Cumbrecita. The main street is lined with curios shops and stone and wood clad buildings, but the main reason we came was for the hikes. In town we meandered around cobblestone streets that led to rocky trails to waterfalls and ponds tucked away in tree-lined cliffs.
We found another rigorous hike to the summit overlooking the town. Over an hour of switchbacks and we reached the summit and a view of expansive rolling hills that were forested as far as we could see. In the other direction a canyon of boulders and a warn pathway from the gauchos on horseback that also trek this region.
Visiting these German villages was a delightful treat for our travels. Better beer, bockwurst and sauerkraut and we even had apfelstreudel for breakfast. Tucked into the mountains we could hike in the trees and just for a few days feel like we were in Europe, not South America.