Several days ago we arrived in the city of Foz do Iguaçu. We came here for one main attraction – Cataratas do Iguaçu (the falls) but we’ve enjoyed so much else that we thought we should split this into two posts.
Getting here wasn’t easy. Distance is the biggie ravelling in South America but we knew this and so does everyone who comes to this continent. The Serra Verde in Curitiba and the falls in Foz do Iguaçu both reside within the state of Paraná, yet there’s a distance of up to 12 coach hours between them! As we cannot enter Argentina, the natural progression point for travellers that make it to Iguazu Falls, we’d have to return to Curitiba so that’s a combined 24 hours on a coach. That wasn’t a thought we were relishing.
We’ve been monitoring flights for the last couple of weeks but all have been unaffordable. However just a day before we were planning on getting the bus tickets, Vivian’s relentlessness and tenacity pays off and we manage to grab a one-hour flight with luggage for £95 per person return. That’s semi-reasonable, believe me. Especially considering the bus was only half this cost.
As for the weather, a minimum of early 30s all week was promised and it delivered. Folks back home would probably do anything for that right now whereas we almost want the opposite. Always the way, huh. That said, I don’t think many of you would have swapped for the highest temperature we’ve seen to-date since being in Brazil.
Thankfully a well-chosen hotel amenity helps to cool one down for a few hours a day and prevent converting to a nunnery.
Physically connected to our hotel is a coffee café. No big deal, they’re everywhere all over the World, right? Except this one is really quite authentic and very boutique! Some coffee lovers reading this will have really enjoyed its ambience and general set-up.
After showing interest and curiosity here the other day when passing through to get to the hotel, as I tend to do, established comms with a worker named Bruno (love that name) who spoke English. Hoorah. I said I’d come back before our stay was over and I kept my word.
Get this, not only do they perform the roasting and brewing on-site in this small café (did I get those parts right coffee fans?) they also have their own plants outside the shop. Then consider this is just on a normal, residential street.
I was totally wowed. Bruno proceeded to give me too many fine details that went well over my head so at this point I tried to mention that I was very much a beginner and unfortunately am yet to progress past macchiatos and cappuccinos. But that didn’t sink in. Perhaps mentioning such ‘flavours’ was sacrilegious in such a place!? I soon realised whilst he suggested a supposedly slightly sweeter bean, that it would not be coming with either milk or sugar.
I had several minutes to face the inevitable and man-up but then more contraptions appeared and he started doing more wizardry. This all looked like something from the future! I’m a simple tea drinker for goodness sake.
Just minutes later after he’s done his thing, he requests I first sip the sparkling water (which I dislike normally anwyay) to heighten the senses or something. I neck it and proceed to take a well sized sip of this very dark looking, sugar-missing coffee.
And you can imagine how that tasted to me.
You’ll might be briefly amused but not surprised to hear that I took a sniff, took a swig, buffered my internal emotions and senses, paused, put the cup down, looked him in the eye and said.
‘Wow, lovely, really smooth’. Whilst feeling that I’d just tasted rat poison.
Still, today I proudly became a little more Brazilian and Italian.
The city of Iguazu Falls borders not one, but two countries! You know one is Argentina, do you know the other?
A brief study revealed there were actually two bridges relatively close to our hotel; one that connects Brazil to Argentina and the other, Brazil to Paraguay – Tancredo Neves and ‘The Friendship Bridge’ respectively. To think that since these bridges were erected people have forever been crossing countries without as much as a second thought. Not right now. Curse you, Covid.
Aware that I wanted to at least see and possibly get close to these bridges if not being able to cross them, I later thought-up how this could be accomplished so I’ll come back to that later.
For tonight’s visitation, we would reach the location of the marco das três fronteiras (landmark of the triple frontier). An obvious tourist hotspot and therefore you pay to “get in” which is a joke but you do get to see some wall art, grab some cool tourist-style shots and gaze out to see the three lands of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.
The fourth image shows the union of the Iguazu and Paraná rivers that mark the triple geographical border. It also shows the Argentinian obelisk that is similar to the Brazilian one.
Shamefully I’ll have to admit to buying a tea mug from the merchandise store but admittedly I did like the colour contrast and design. Odds of me getting this home without it breaking? Slim lol. Here’s an online image as mine is bubble wrapped to the max.
As to how we got closer to the two bridges, this would involve none other than a river cruise. I’ve experienced this type of thing before and I’ve found them hit or miss so I was cautious we wouldn’t get our money’s worth, let alone the quality of the food being up to scratch but our instincts said for us to pay the £20 each and hope for the best, so we did.
The cruise takes you to both bridges and provides you close ups from underneath. We would also discover something significant in the form of a second bridge connecting Brazil to Paraguay being built as shown in the first image below. Vivian took an understandable delight at seeing that the Brazilian side were further ahead in the project than the Paraguayan counterparts.
You’d be forgiven for thinking we had the entire ship to ourselves but sadly not. There were plenty of passengers, it’s just that I gesticulate like many Englishmen would to get them out of shot 🙂 You’ll see them in Vivian’s latest quality put-together at the end of this post.
As for the river experience, well it proved to be really fantastic – I really couldn’t fault it. A reward to our gamble. The cruise itself was both enjoyable and largely peaceful. Two dancers performed an Argentinian Tango, a Brazilian Samba and a Paraguayan whatever you call it to the backdrop nearly at the golden hour. The food was superb also, surprisingly.
Thanks for viewing part 1 folks. I think you’ll agree that the Iguazu falls will have a lot to live up to match the enjoyment we had for these few hours. Did they match up or was it an anti-climax? Was the weather on-side? Did the tourists ruin the experience? All to be answered in the next post that I’m writing for the weekend. By then we’ll have hopefully returned back to Curitiba to then immediately to move on again. Déjà vu.
Hope you’re able to enjoy Vivian’s latest piece. It’s 4 minutes long and 400MB’s. (Play with sound if you can).