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|La peatonal in the city centre of Córdoba|
In Córdoba La peatonal is the commercial district of this busy city. Along calles 9 de julio, Rivera Indarte, or Dean Funes you will come across elegant shopping arcades, big department stores, chain retailers and small boutiques where you can find just about anything you might be looking for - from buttons and ribbons to household appliances and cars.
If after doing the round of your favourite shops you feel tired and in need of refreshment, you will also find here many cafés where you can sit for a while and enjoy some coffee with pastries (try for example café Havanna at Rivera Indarte 73, where they sell the delicious Havanna alfajores) or restaurants where you can have from fast food like the classic carlitos (a toasted ham and cheese sandwich) at the traditional El Quijote Bar (Vélez Sarsfield 73), to a full three course meal at Trattoria Il Gatto (Avenida General Paz 120).
But what makes la peatonal a stage where life flows unhindered -and does it in technicolour, besides- are the cordobeses themselves, who in this part of the city are not simple passers-by but rather become main characters in a big urban play. Young and old, rich and poor, every cordobés has seen part of his or her life take place on this "stage" and everyone has a story or two to tell about it.
|There is always music in every corner of la peatonal. Photo by Claudia Gibson|
Not much has changed in this part of town. The street vendors with their stalls are still there twenty, thirty years later. They are like fixed characters in this "play"; they have names and a story that, if you walk through la peatonal every day, you end up knowing as if they were part of your own extended family.
But most of these characters from la peatonal that I knew as a little girl disappeared a long time ago, like the trio of little people -two men and a woman, all blind- who used to play traditional Argentinean music and sell lottery tickets in a fixed spot for decades and that everyone used to know as "los cieguitos" (the little blind people).
|A few of today's fixed characters at la peatonal in Córdoba. Photos by Andrea Orozco.|
|Jardín Florido caught paying compliments to two ladies in the peatonal in Córdoba. Photo: WIkipedia|
With my friend Adriana, we used to walk down Obispo Trejo street after our morning lessons to go to her grandparents' kiosk, situated right next to Paseo de las Flores. We would hang out there, grab something to eat and later head back for school for our afternoon class.
|The Paseo de las Flores is a fake bridge used by a street vendor to display plants and flowers.|
And even once, with cousin Gloria, we stopped for a while to listen to one of the cieguitos playing a waltz and to our surprise, a man fixing the telephone lines up there on a post, came down and invited us to dance.How we laughed! I don't think that we danced with him but the attiude and friendliness of our galant telecommunications worker certainly made our day.
The bustling centre of Córdoba with its peatonal, turns into a lively stage every day of the week with the first lights, when cordobeses by birth and by choice, tourists and travellers passing by the city, start filling up the streets with noise, colour, friendly chatter, music, the call of the vendors from the different stalls. It is never quiet, it is never still, never boring - that is for sure.
Thanks to Claudia Gibson and Andrea Orozco for letting me use their photos here in my blog.