Friday, 29 January 2010


Cosquin is a small town, an hour away from Cordoba by local bus. We visited this town because of a music festival there, which a Swedish couple at our hostel told us about.

They were absolutely charmed by the dancing they saw and the attention they got as foreigners. We figured it couldn't hurt to check it out.

When we got to Cosquin, around 4pm, it took us a little while to find the action.

Near the bus terminal we came across an abandoned stage and some limp banners advertising the festival, but there was no one around. I asked a police lady if it was over, or when it would begin... when she realized what I was going on about, she pointed down the road, said I needed to walk 5 more blocks.

Ok! Off we went.

Five blocks later, we came to a large stadium with even more banners. Closed. The tourist info was also closed. The streets weren't quite empty, but it was very quiet. Hmm. We could see that there were people in the stadium, on stage, rehearsing something, so this was definitely more promising, although it still failed to live up to the Swede's enthusiasm.

We remembered they had mentioned the river as well, so after a beer and a sandwich, we headed downhill to see what we might find. And there it was!

A river! With people in it! Quite a few people, mostly women tanning themselves and letting the shallow water keep them cool.

But still no music. We walked some more, stopping to buy a bottle of wine so we could have a picnic by the water, if the music festival turned out to be a merely a myth. The guy who sold me our cheap fun-in-a-bottle said we should keep walking upstream, there was a small stage around the bend. He also told me the big show in town (in the stadium) wouldn't start until ten. Overall, the information was probably worth more than the wine.

We happily walked around the bend, found the stage and joined the small group of spectators, drank our wine and watched the locals dance, 2, 8, 20 at a time. It was a small, relaxed party, kids and dogs running around, adults bathing in the river, people-watching or dancing. The dancing was very fun to see - worth the trip for me, even though the crowd only seemed to know one dance. Apparently the event was sponsered by some company that makes Yerba Mate - bags of the stuff were given away as prizes, or for no reason at all. We got one.

Ewelina said the whole scene reminded her a lot of some of the country festivals back in Poland, for me the experience was more novel.

The most interesting event was a traditional dance-off between a young man, a boy, an even younger boy, and a drunk man. They took turns waving their legs around and stomping so frantically one almost expected a limb to come flying off into the crowd. It was a bit like Irish traditional dances on speed. Happily no one lost a leg, although the drunk dude did loose his balance more than once, much to the crowd's delight. One of the little boys won, we clapped a lot.

This was followed by a poetry competition that went right over our heads, and some more dancing.

Eventually, the sun went behind a mountain, it got colder and we ran out of wine. We slowly made our way back up the hill and pushed our way through the throngs of people that had suddenly filled the streets, found a bus and made it back to our hostel in Cordoba.

We never did figure out what got the Swedes so excited, but it was a good, fun day all the same.

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