I took another very comfortable and well-catered night bus from Buenos Aires to Cordoba. When dinner was served, I declined the offered Coca Cola (on the grounds that to me it tastes like the Devil’s cough medicine) and was offered red wine instead – result! The journey was shorter than I expected and we arrived at 6am, which seemed a bit too early to be turning up at my booked hostel. So I dozed in the bus station for a couple of hours only to find that there was an hour-long queue for a taxi when I finally decided to make my move.
The Jesuit block is a group of late seventeenth century buildings comprising the church and brothers’ accommodation plus the teaching buildings that were central to the Jesuit’s mission – now a school and university. The church has terrific a Baroque pulpit and altar and a semi-circular vaulted wooden roof that was apparently built by a shipwright.
The town of Cordoba in a pleasant place, made even nicer for me by the presence of some vegetarian restaurants. I had planned to spend my last day there (before catching my evening night bus north) mooching around a few museums when it suddenly dawned on me that the second part of the name of World Heritage Site, the ‘estancias’, referred to five country estates whose farming supported the Jesuit property and activities in town.
So on my last day I took my backpack to the bus station and then a small bus an hour south to one of the estancias – in the town of Alta Gracia. The church was sadly not open but there is a nice museum in the accompanying residential and administrative building.
The artificial lake used to drive the estate’s mills is still there but the other support buildings, including the houses of workers and slaves, are now gone. The museum building does have a small display on their lives though, alongside the historic Jesuit lavatories. My favourite exhibit was probably the bag made out of an animal’s udder, complete with teats.
For this site I decided to build part of the rather delightful garden courtyard of the estancia, with its grand staircase and first floor arcades:
Which turned out to be a lot trickier than I anticipated.