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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cordoba, Dove Capital of the World

It has been recommended to us to visit Cordoba, a city in the middle of northern Argentina, because it's a beautiful place that has mountains, a bit of city life and is a nice reprieve from Buenos Aires.  We have considered going for some time, but only made the plunge when our travel buddies expressed an interest to go dove hunting.  We figured, the guys can go hunting for birds, the girls can hang out at the pool and enjoy some fresh air, what more is there to want in a weekend?  

So, we visited Sierra Brava this past weekend for a guys weekend of hunting, and a girls weekend of hanging out.  Sierra Brava is approximately 1 hour 15 minutes north of the airport in Cordoba, so if you are looking for a place to stay while visiting Cordoba, this is probably not the right place for you.  If you are interested in hunting birds, enjoying great food and relaxing for a weekend, Sierra Brava is just the spot.  

The website is deceiving, the lodge appears to be where a bunch of middle aged men go to hang out away from their families.  Perhaps this is some of their cliental, but we felt quite at home at the lodge with our almost 2-year old girls, and two wives who have no interest in hunting.  When we arrived to the lodge and they immediately offered us the two empty rooms for the girls to sleep in, we knew we were in for a nice weekend.  Literally, NO other location we've visited has offered to let us put our cribs in an unrented room they have - this was a sheer bonus - they sleep so much better in a room of their own!  

We were greeted at the entrance of the lodge with a line up of staff that made us feel like we were 20th century English royalty, and the service was impeccable from that moment on.  They noticed we were going to the pool - there were towels, robes, slippers and a cooler of drinks set out for us within minutes, the guys went out hunting in the heat - they had cold cloths to wash up with and the opportunity to schedule a post-hunt massage, the girls were bored with the pool - there were 1 month old kittens, cows, dogs and geese to keep them busy.  It was a wonderland of nature and the staff made sure that no one was uncared for.

We spent lots of girl time at the pool, even if it was a little chilly for the mamas, Talia and Gretchen had no issue with the temperature.

Talia is fearless in the water.  This little one is not even 2 years old and she can jump on in, then swim to the stairs on her own.  She is a great match for Gretchen, who is a little more apprehensive - but loves to throw items in the pool for Talia to retrieve.
Little Fish!
Gretchen was much more interested in watering the plants.  Then watering the lawn chairs.  Then watering all of the shoes, feet, hands and legs of all of the adults.  She was having a blast with that little watering can!

There's something else I should put water on...
For these city-dwelling little girls, being up close and personal with nature is a novelty.  Gretchen loves "meow, meows" when they are in pictures or on Skype...she was a little more nervous about them in person.  Even if they were teeny tiny.

She did, however, include the Meow, Meows in her nightly "good night" ritual.  "Night, night Daddy, Night, night Mommy, Night, night Meow Meows..." They won a special place in her heart. 

It was a great place for these little ones to run around and play in the grass.  A bit different from last year's December trip when they wanted nothing to do with grass...
December 2012
December 2011

For those interested in Sierra Brava's original intent, the dove hunting is the best in the world.  The world record holder for doves hunted in a day (12,115) set this record while staying at this lodge.  This was Jon's first time hunting anything and he shot just short of 250 birds.  In comparison, Jeff said that his last time dove hunting he was out for multiple hours, took 4 shots and hit zero birds - this time Jeff hit over 600.  I'm not a huge hunting-activist or anything, but seeing how over populated the birds are in this region (not unlike the deer population in Virginia), I have no problem with the activity.

 The one full day that we were at Sierra Brava, Saturday, the guys hunted in the morning and then a bus brought us out to meet them for lunch in the field.  The chef, Nacho, can do some amazing things with a grill and the lunch was outstanding.

 Something tells me that this is not the kind of comfort that hunters always enjoy.  They even had a bathroom set up for us:

And I've never heard my family members mentioning their little ones watching Minnie videos on the iPad while eating lunch....

 It was a great weekend, with lots of time spent together and a little bit of something for everyone.  Thank you Sierra Brava!!

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