We are now in Argentina, and have been for the past week or so. Unfortunately we have been in a number of smaller towns with poor internet connections and this is the first real chance I have had to update the blog! We have just arrived in Cordoba after a long 15 hour bus journey from Posadas and are in our latest hostel, the Baluch Backpackers Hostel.
Since my last post we have succeeded in a number of tasks we had set ourselves, Eilidh has got herself a new camera, I have got my health requirements form sent off to New Zealand and Eilidh is now in the process of applying for New Zealand citizenship! We enjoyed our time in Paraguay (where we got the camera and health check) and spent most of it checking out Asuncion, shopping for cameras, struggling to speak Spanish and eating good, cheap food.
On our way out of Paraguay things got a little bit more interesting, we had got a bus from Asuncion to Ciudad del Este as we had booked into a hotel for the night and were going to try and find Eilidh’s camera. The first bus we were on travelled for about 3 hours, covering about 20 miles an hour at the most. They then decided that this bus was not fit for purpose (only took 3 hours!) and we had bus change number 1. The new bus ran slightly better, but to make up lost time it sounded like the driver blew out a tyre by driving reasonably quickly over a Paraguayan road. Mistake. Hence bus change number 2. It was dark by now, and we were already meant to be at our location but were hardly half way through our journey. We all got off of the bus, including a mother with a very young baby and stood around for about 10 minutes until another bus came! It looked like this bus already had some people on it and it filled quickly. The next person to get on that bus, if it hadn’t of slammed its door in her face, was the mother with the child. She was not very happy about this and proceeded to punch both of the bus staff right in the face while holding the baby, one after another. It was impressive! So after we got onto bus number 3, at which point it wasn’t even so much a bus as a tin can on wheels, we drove for a further 5 minutes until we reached a police station where the bus staff reported the woman and made us sit and wait another half hour while they sorted that out! We eventually got to Ciudad del Este, with a 4.5 hour journey taking 9 hours, needless to say we were not impressed, especially when I realised that during one of the bus changeovers, they had somehow lost one of my flip-flops. We then had the pleasure of going to a particularly unimpressive hotel called San Rafael. The place looked like it was stuck in a bad 80s movie, thankfully we only had to endure 1 night as we found Eilidh a camera in the morning and hotfooted it out of Paraguay into Argentina!
Our first stop in Argentina was Puerto Iguazú. This was a nice wee town that bordered both Brazil and Paraguay and our hostel, Residencial la Esquina del Bambu was good as well. We stayed here for 2 nights and went for our second taste of the Iguazú Falls. Although we didn’t have quite as nice a day for it second time round, it was no less amazing. We stood right over Garganta del Diablo which literally translates to The Devils Throat, it is the biggest fall of em all and you can’t even see the water hitting the bottom due to all of the condensation and water coming up from the foot of the falls. We were transported round the Argentinian side of the park on a train, and we did a couple of hiking trails round about to ensure we saw all of the falls from all the possible angles. We also got a quick boat ride over to Isla de San Martin, which is a small island in the middle of the Iguazú River. Feels good to be in Argentina, can finally stop drinking beer and move onto cheap wine! Hurrah! Also, the food here is better than Brazil, easily. There is actual choice on menus!
After Puerto Iguazú we headed south to San Igancio. This was a very small town and the only reason we were here was to check out the Jesuit Mission ruins of San Ignacio Mini. We stayed at the San Ignacio Adventure Hostel (not too many adventures going on as far as we could see) for 2 nights and checked out the ruins on our full day there. They were cool, pretty ruinous, but they had a decent tourism set up so that they had all the relevant information about what had happened there available in English, which is handy as our Spanish is still rubbish. There are a lot of Jesuit Mission ruins kicking about, but I think we will consider them covered having seen one. Interesting hearing and seeing all about it once, probably don’t need to do it again.
From San Ignacio we headed to Posadas, where we only spent 1 night at Vuela El Pez, another nice wee hostel. I’ve got to say I think we are doing pretty well in terms of the quality of hostel we have been staying at. Apart from that 1 night in the hotel in Ciudad del Este we have been very lucky! We had a number of things to do in Posadas, none of them interesting, just planning, washing and getting some stuff sent off for our relevant NZ applications. We managed to get all that done in the time we had and then jumped on an overnight bus (a little bit more successful this time) to Cordoba. We have just arrived a few hours ago and are just about to get out and see what Argentina’s second largest city has to offer. Hopefully some food as we have found out a bus dinner is just as bad as a plane dinner, if not worse! First class bus next time I think, we have heard rumours of steak and wine on Argentinian first class!
P.S We have lots more pictures of Iguazú Falls and San Ignacio Mini that will be uploaded onto Flickr soon, including from Eilidh’s new camera, which should be better quality than my phone.