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Published: June 21st 2017
Geo: -27.1392, -55.7252
The bus ride proved remarkably unevenful. The bus didn't start at Igazu but arrived from somewhere else to go on to Posadas so our seats had already been in use and were a bit messy with crumbs etc but the were comfotable enough for a 5 hour ride. The bus stopped in various little towns along the way, each of which had its own mini bus station. And lunch was provided - unappetising cheese/ham/salami sandwiches, a piece of cake and fizzy orange squash! Our fellow travellers were young back packers, the French couple we'd met going to the falls, a scruffy young English couple travelling non stop to Bolivia and then up to Costa Rica to teach on spec and lots of locals getting on and off, families and individuals.
The bus station in Posadas was a few kilometres out of town but a short cab ride to our hotel so we checked in and decided to wait an hour before using the pool as it was very hot. An hour later it was blowing a gale and rainng buckets as a thunderstorm rolled through. So no pool and no adventure back into town. The hotel did locate for us
a tour company to pick us up ad take us to Paraguay the next day to see the ruins of the Jesuit missions at Trinidad and Jesus, and bring us back, a trip made more interesting by a book we'd bought about the missions that Liz read on the bus.
Up bright and early to be met by our guide Marcelo who fortunately spoke good English, and took us over the bridge separating Argentina from Paraguay (long queues for immigration stuff), arranged for us to change money to pay the mission entry fee and then the 40km ride to Trinidad.
Beginning in the 16th century the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) created 30 communities (called reductions) in this area for the indigenous Guarani people. Each consisted of a church, housing, workshops etc etc. Then the Portugese and the Spanish expelled the Jesuits from all their territories so the people left, or were captured into slavery, and the buildings were left to rot and crumble.
Some, in Paraguay and Argentina, have been rescued and designated as World Heritage sites. Impressive both in scale and in the craftsmanship shown by the Guarani people who became stonemasons and the like (there were only two Jesuits on each
First view of the ruins
and the mango windfalls
site). The scale of social development of thousands of Gurani over a 100 year period was impressive and the Jesuit expulsion left them devasted.
Back and across the bridge into Argentina again (that made 4 passport stamps in a day) and this time we did get a swim in the hotel and in the evening took a very slow local bus into town which left us insufficient time to find a restaurant that was (a) good and (b) open - they eat late in Argentina, like the Spanish, so restaurnts don't open until late. So we ended up eating the worst steak ever, like old boots, in a cafe -very un-Argentine, before catching the shuttle bus back to the hotel.
Tomorrow our flight to the bright lights of Buenos Aires.
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