Travelling from the lush tropical rainforest of Iguazu to Argentina's second city, Cordoba, came as something of a shock!
Firstly, there were all the usual trappings of a city - traffic, buildings, people, hustle and bustle.
(The very comfortable but "simple" hotel was also a bit of a come down! Indeed, intermittent wifi has made sending blogs a challenge but, here we are...!)
Although a travel cliche, Cordoba really is a fascinating mix of old and new...
17th century ecclesiastical buildings stand next to the latest shopping centres.
Indeed, this city boasts a long established academic foundation: Manzana Jesuitica, Argentina's first university (so it claims!).
The next door academic establishment, Colegio Nacional de Montserrat, with its baroque exterior walls, may be as old - it all depends on whether you consider the date building began or charters were established!
Visiting the university's oldest library and being shown a 17th century bible written in SEVEN languages (one of three editions that exist in the world!) brought home to me the religious significance of "the word."
As Christians, the bible is foundational to our faith. But, like those books, hermatically sealed in their glass cases, the "word" cannot stay there....
We have to open the book - read, reflect upon and allow these stories of God "speak" to us....
(Thank God for our clever Reader Ministers and their vital ministry of the Word!)
As well as a rich ecclesiatical and educational history, Cordoba was (in 2006) called "Cultural Capital of the Americas" with a feast of four municipal galleries (including one named after Evita) each offering a range of emerging, contemporary, classical and fine art one can understand why.
(Yes, the number of steps on my pedometer is going through the roof!!)
I have taken some photos and (once I've mastered transferring them from camera to tablet) I will include some examples...
God's amazing providence doesn't end there!
Whilst checking out the local tourist info office I stumbled accross a brochure for what looked like a Festival of Theatre!!
So, my cultural overload (after architecture in ancient churches and universities and stimulating art galleries!) has included a delightful 'Commedia' performance by two brilliant clowns; a moving drama/ dance/ music piece on the oppression of women in Argentina and a truly uplifting concert of indigenous music given (at times) a contemporary twist....
The whole audience ended the session on their feet dancing.
(I knew my "dad dancing" would come in handy!!!)
This "culture vulture" certainly had his fill.(Each performance cost £5 and you sit where you want on a first come basis. (Imagine that in Theatr Clwyd!!!)
Watching people communicate visually / physically, because I didn't get the "Word" (with my two sentences in Spanish!) also got me thinking about how God's word is given expression by us.
We don't just read it or allow it to "speak" to us but, informed by our understanding of God's word to us, we give it expression - in our worship and, most importantly, in the way we live out our faith day by day.
In us, God's Word becomes flesh and lives...
How clever that our Christian culture is made real by the way we live...!
Clever and cultured - that's also Cordoba for me!
Certainly not the people - but with light showers and temperatures at 10°C the weather (after tropical Brazil and Iguazu) has been something of a shock!