Friday, November 29, 2013

Buenos Aires (October 23rd - 29th, 2013)

"I wanna be a part of B.A. -- Buenos Aires -- Big Apple". And we were a part of it! I absolutely loved Buenos Aires, and could imagine spending a much longer time there.

Buenos Aires street art: this bench looked really soft and comfortable, but was actually rock-hard. 

While preparing for our stay there, we read that there are many things you can do for free in the city, and we were happy to take advantage of this. Thus, after getting settled in at our hostel, we headed to the Museo de Artes Plásticos Eduardo Sívori, with free entry on Wednesdays. We enjoyed the museum, but liked walking in the nearby park and rose gardens even more.

Rose garden

In the afternoon, we joined a free walking tour through the Retiro and Recoleta districts. This area of Buenos Aires has a strong European influence, numerous French-style mansions, and many ladies wearing expensive clothing and a surgically-enhanced surprised facial expression. We were told that plastic surgery is very common in Argentina, because it is included in many private health insurance plans, but "only" once every two years. The tour was very entertaining, and we consider it one of the best city tours we've been to in South America.

The next day, we first had a look at the main square - Plaza de Mayo - and the surrounding presidential palace (Casa rosada), cathedral and old town hall building. We said a quick "hi" to the Argentine National hero San Martín at his current home within the metropolitan cathedral, and then hurried to the Recoleta cemetery.

Casa rosada - possibly painted with cow blood

Cathedral and final resting place of San Martín

We had read that in the Recoleta cemetery, there are free guided tours in English on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11. We arrived a bit before the usual starting time, but were told that the tour would be delayed for a half an hour. We spent the thirty minutes exploring the neighboring Jesuit church (Basilica Nuestra Señora del Pilar) and the rooms of its previous cloister, now transformed into a museum. It had a collection of religious art, which was not particularly interesting for us. In fact, within the cloisters, we most of all liked an old door with a hole in the bottom corner, meant to let cats through.

A door for monks and cats

Back at the cemetery, our guide arrived and apologized for being late - she was ill, and her replacement needed an even longer time to get there. She started the tour, but fortunately after some time, she could go home to bed as the other guide finally arrived and took over. During the tour, we learned truly a lot about Argentine history, because the country's best and most famous are buried in this cemetery. Perhaps the most interesting and gruesome story was about what happened to Evita Peron's body. The first lady traveled much during her life, and afterwards as well; she arrived in her current resting place more than twenty years after death. We were very happy about the tour, but to our surprise, we didn't even get the chance to thank our guide properly - at the end of the tour, our guide thanked us instead, turned around and left.

Mausoleums at Recoleta Cemetery

The dogs nose is shiny because touching it is said to ring good luck

After the tour, we went for a quick lunch, and then headed towards the Czech embassy, so that Radek could vote in the Czech legislative elections. There we learned that his vote came at a high cost for Czech Republic: the officials at his hometown did not send the necessary documents to Argentina, but rather to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who then sent them to Buenos Aires using DHL. The delivery costs were 1500 CZK (about 60 EUR)!

Radek voting in the Czech embassy

We later returned to the city center and went to the Museo del Bicentenario, also with free entry. This museum is located in the old customs building, and has a part dedicated to each major phase in Argentina's history. Afterwards, we walked to and through the Puerto Madero district, with magnificent high-rise buildings. While walking back towards our hostel, we also stopped by the Argentine energy company YPF's building, where there was an exhibition of old and new posters promoting personnel safety in the petrol industry.

Puerto Madero district

On the following day, we went on another free walking tour, this time in the city center. We saw many - a total of five - demonstrations during the walk. Some people have been protesting for a long time: the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, for example, have been meeting since 1977. At that time, public gatherings of groups of four people or more were illegal, so these women, with an aim to learn the whereabouts of their children gone missing in the Dirty War, decided in their protest to march in groups of three on the Plaza de Mayo.

A head scarf, symbolizing the Mother of the Plaza de Mayo, painted on the main square

Rodin's Thinker in front of the Congress

In the afternoon, we wanted to exchange some more dollars to pesos. This turned out to be more complicated than expected - a couple of days earlier it had been effortless, but on that afternoon, we were really not having much luck with finding the right person offering the right exchange rate. We were later told that this was because the elections were planned for the next day, and police surveillance was exceptionally high. I got a bit tired, so I went to a café for a cup of tea, and Radek continued to search for a money exchanger. Eventually, he was directed to a guy who at that time was working from a barber's shop (on other days, he was at an official-looking exchange office). He gave us an OK rate, all things considered. We could then buy boat tickets to Uruguay, where we were planning to spend the upcoming weekend.

We took it a lot easier when we returned back to Buenos Aires. We just visited the San Telmo district and its market, which would have been a lot busier and more interesting on Sunday. We also had a peek at the Jesuits' Illuminated Block, but could only go to the courtyard: the buildings were closed at the time.

At the courtyard in the Jesuits' block

With that ended our stay in this beautiful city, of which we have more photos here.  

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Colonia And Montevideo (October 26th - 27th, 2013)

The main reason we visited Uruguay was to get more U.S. dollars, as we had not exchanged enough in Brazil.

From Buenos Aires we took a speedboat to Colonia. We were really surprised about how much water had to be propelled in order for us to move at 60 km/h.

Water streams coming out of our speedboat

In Colonia we first booked a bus to Montevideo and then went to town. We had to try a couple of ATMs in order to get cash, but eventually we managed to find one that gave us some Uruguayan Pesos to start with. We could then go for lunch and try a traditional Uruguayan meal: Chivitos al plato. It was good, but reminded me of typical meals at cheap Czech restaurants: chicken fillet, ham, cheese and fries. Afterwards we took advantage of the local duty-free shops and bought new gloves for me and a fleece for Laura. We then walked through town. It was nice and compact. The highlight of our visit was a climb to the top of the lighthouse, from where we could even see Buenos Aires in the distance.

This car actually belongs to the adjacent restaurant and you can even get served inside it, if you don't mind the plants!

This lighthouse was the highlight of our visit to Colonia

If you zoom far enough you can see Buenos Aires left from the small island

Laura shining more than the lighthouse lamp :)

Around 3 P.M. it was time to catch our bus and in a couple of hours we arrived in Montevideo. After getting accommodation we went out to withdraw U.S. dollars. It took us some time to figure out that the $6 withdrawal fee counted towards the limit of $300 per withdrawal, so we were able to withdraw just $200 at a time. Fortunately, the ATMs in Montevideo allowed us to withdraw many times in a row and always served us with almost new $100 bills, which are in the highest demand in Argentina. Later on when I did the calculations, I found out that even with paying this extra fee, we got $9 more on every €100 than what we had managed to get in Brazil. With dollars safely hidden and locked in our hostel we went to enjoy the sunset and evening in Montevideo.

Sunset from Plaza Independencia

The next day we organized our return back to Argentina and then went to see the old center of Montevideo. It was quite nice and we even saw the change of guards at the mausoleum of the Uruguayan national hero José Gervasio Artigas at Plaza Independencia. As it was the weekend, the old center felt quite deserted, but we still managed to find some great sweets at a bakery.

Statue of José Gervasio Artigas in front of his mausoleum

After lunch we went for a long walk around the cost. It was a bit windy, but nicely sunny and we enjoyed talking with each other and watching the locals spending their Sunday. There were many people sunbathing on the beach, playing soccer, kids flying kites, but nobody was swimming in the ocean.

Beaches in Monte Video

Soon it was time to go. The way back was the same as there: first a bus to Colonia and then a ferry to Buenos Aires. We arrived quite late and had to take a taxi back to our hostel, but just before midnight we were happily sleeping in the same room as before.

In addition to twenty portraits of Benjamin Franklin, we brought back some nice memories and of course more pictures.

Córdoba (October 22nd, 2013)

Córdoba is the second largest city in Argentina, with a population similar to that of Estonia. It is smack in between Salta and Buenos Aires, and since the trip from one to the other would have been rather long, we stopped in Córdoba for a day between two overnight bus rides.

Argentina's oldest university, founded in 1613 by the Jesuits, is located in Córdoba. Many buildings dating to that time are still well preserved, and we enjoyed walking among them, taking in the history. The Jesuit block (Manzana Jesuítica) - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - was especially impressive.

This Jesuit church also has a beautiful, but difficult-to-get-to side chapel 

The Academy of Sciences is located close to the cradle of higher education in Argentina

Afterwards, we visited the Museo de la Memoría, which used to be the Police Intelligence Department during the Dirty War in the 70s and beginning of the 80s. Every country has had its horrors.

In the afternoon, we stopped by at three art galleries. The Paseo del Buen Pastor is actually a cultural center and performance space. We were most impressed by the beautiful, if somewhat kitschy musical fountain show in front of it. Another museum we visited - the Evita Fine Arts Museum - is located in the beautiful Ferrerya Palace, but we weren't particularly in awe of the exhibition there. Lastly, we went to the Museo Provincial de Bellas Artes Emilio Caraffa, and excellent contemporary art museum. There, we both loved Marcelo Hepp's striking sculptures, and I also enjoyed seeing contemporary Argentine ceramics.

The Paseo del Buen Pastor, with a fountain show in front

Four museums and the Jesuit block - not bad for a mere 12 hours.

Just a couple of more photos of the lovely Córdoba can be seen here.

Salta (October 19th - 21st, 2013)

Salta is a beautiful colonial city. We stayed there for three relatively hot days, happy to be rescued by the delicious ice cream at Grido. We also had some really good grilled meat, went to a museum and a concert, but mainly just walked around and admired the town.

We were starting to run low on the Argentinian Pesos we had acquired in Brazil, and thus needed to find a money exchanger. We weren't sure how to go about doing this, but assumed that if we'd walk around the center of town, looking like tourists, maybe somebody would notice us. Indeed, after some minutes of ambling on the main square, we heard someone shout "Cambio! Cambio!". For quite a decent rate, we exchanged some dollars and checked the pesos for validity (funny money is said to be abundant) right there on the street. It really wasn't as complicated as I had imagined.

We continued walking around the main square, with Salta's beautiful cathedral on one side and the old cabildo (town hall) opposite of it. When we reached the provincial theater, also on the square, we saw that there would be a free baroque concert there the same evening. We were a bit worried that our clothes would be too casual, but when we asked about it, we were assured that it wouldn't be a problem. Thus, later that evening, we heard the Camerata Lazarte perform six suites by Tomaso Albinoni. It was such a delight to hear classical music again, for the first time since we'd left Europe. We ended our evening at a steak house (El Charrua) and had a truly delicious bife de chorizo.

Salta's cathedral, pink during the day ...

... and yellow at night

On the following day, we went to the Historical Museum of the North, located within the cabildo building. Perhaps the most memorable exhibits there were a set of Roman coins (although I'm not sure what Julius Cesar had to do with the history of Northern Argentina) and a gigantic 1911 Renault limo.

The Historical Museum of the North is located in the beautiful colonial cabildo building 

This car is apparently larger than a hummer

We got a bird's-eye view of the city on the following day when we walked up the Cerro San Bernardo. It was a thirty-minute walk uphill, so we were happy that the weather had cooled down a bit. The views, however, would probably have been more spectacular with a clear sky.

There's a nice park with waterworks at the top of Cerro San Bernardo

After returning downtown, we had lunch in the same steak house we'd been to earlier, and made the mistake of ordering a grill platter for two people: it was very good, but simply too much. What we couldn't eat we later gave to a young guy who said he's hungry.

I didn't want to eat meat for a while after this delicious, but enormous lunch

Soon afterwards, we retrieved our luggage from the hostel and caught a night bus to Córdoba.

We have a couple of additional photos of Salta here.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Humahuaca and its surroundings (October 16th - 19th, 2013)

We picked Humahuaca as our base for exploring the colorful mountains of Quebrada de Humahuaca. The mountains there were like nothing we had ever seen before. It was like a magical rainbow of rocks and stones.

We arrived on the bus from Salta, where we spent just an hour at the bus station after visiting Resistencia. Already from the bus we could see the interesting colors of the mountains, but it was nothing compared to what we discovered later. Once in Humahuaca, we got accommodated at a very friendly hostel. From there we went to town to eat and to get more information about the surroundings. The woman at the information center was not very friendly and she made us feel that we bothering her a lot. She was knitting the whole time, but we still managed to get at least some basic information from her.

In the evening we went to see the sunset at a viewpoint above our hostel. It was not as impressive as we had expected. In fact, we managed to make a much more impressive picture from the stairs leading to our hostel room.

Sunset from our hostel

The next morning we took a bus to the tiny village of Uquia and from there hiked up a small valley. It was a nice and flat hike, nothing strenuous. However, the view of the mountains next to us were just so different compared to what we are used to. Red, white and many other colors were mixed in the surrounding mountains. This, combined with many cacti we saw on the way, made this short hike a unique experience.

This valley had indeed many colors

Radek at the almost end of the valley

Some of the cacti were even flowering

And some were really huge

We returned back to Humahuaca and went for lunch. Upon entering an empty restaurant, we hoped to be served quickly. To our surprise, in 10 minutes the restaurant was filled up with people from two tourist buses, all expecting food. Fortunately, already before the masses arrived, we agreed with the waiter that we would leave before 1 P.M. to take a van to a viewpoint. We finished eating five minutes before 1, and if we had not been in such a big hurry, we would have really enjoyed this delicious food. At the van, it was bit confusing, as there were more people than could have possibly fit inside. Eventually the driver somehow selected a couple of people who had to wait for another van, which he just quickly organized. We were lucky to be on the first one and even got the front seats. In almost an hour we gained quite some altitude and made it to 4000m above sea level.

We slowly hiked to the first viewpoint and what we saw was just amazing.

These colorful mountains reminded us a bit of stegosaurus back plates

From the first viewpoint we went to other one with similarly impressive view.

What had to happen for these mountains to get such a shape and color?

We then walked back to the road and took the same van back. This time we had to sit in the narrow aisle on the side, as the van was completely full.

In the evening we organized bikes for the next day and I also managed to buy an Argentinian SIM card for our tablet. For the first time in a while we could have the luxury of mobile Internet, and that for a very cheap price (7 pesos for 7 days).

The following day we picked up the mountain bikes and started biking towards the village of Coctaca. It was a dirt road, sometimes in a good condition, sometimes not, with about 300 m of altitude gain. Laura soon started saying: "What was I thinking? I have never enjoyed mountain biking before, why did I think this would be any different?". I heard this many times during our bike. For me, the biking was not as spectacular as the activities of our previous days, but it was just the right amount of challenge and I enjoyed it a lot. In the end we only did half of the circuit, but it was sufficient.

Laura biking

In the afternoon we went to take a look at the memorial that is above Humahuaca and relaxed a bit from the biking. The next morning we just took a bus to Salta.

Laura in front of the memorial

As usually we have more pictures and we also contributed to OpenStreetMap.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Corrientes and Resitencia (October 15th, 2013)

The twin cities of Corrientes and Resistencia are the capitals of two provinces - Corrientes and Chaco - and are located on opposite sides of the Paraná river. We wanted to take a bus from Puerto Iguazú to Humahuaca, approximately 1600 km apart. Since this seemed like a rather long ride, we decided to stop in the twin cities for a day to stretch our legs.

We arrived at the bus station in Corrientes at about 7 in the morning, left our luggage there, and started to make plans to get to the city center. Rush hour - all the buses were completely full! However, we had wanted to stretch our legs anyway, so we decided to walk. It took longer than we expected - an hour - and the temperature was rising rapidly. Our first stop was to cool off at the city's beautiful cathedral. Next we visited the Museo Histórico de Corrientes, but it was really rather boring. A quick peek at the city's theater (Teatro Juan de Vera) was much more satisfactory - it was very beautiful, and apparently, it is possible to retract the building's cupola for a starlit performance. Lastly, we visited the museum of traditional handicraft (Museo de Artesanías Tradicionales Folclóricas), situated in one of the oldest buildings in the city. We had a very nice guide - César - who was keen to talk about the place, but also to ask about our lives in Europe. As we were bidding farewell, he even gave me a pair of hand-made earrings.

Cathedral in Corrientes

The mighty Paraná, separating the twin towns

It was an hour's ride to Resistencia, and we made it there for lunchtime. The restaurant we wanted to go to was closed, and we settled for the closest place that was open (it wasn't very good). Also the museum we wanted to visit - Museo del Hombre Chaqueño - was closed for inventory on that specific day. Instead, we went to the cultural center, displaying local art.

Another cathedral. This one is in Resistencia.

The main square in Resistencia is one of the largest in the world, and it did not completely fit in the photo

A plaque for Fernando the dog on the main square of Resistencia. 50 years ago, there was a campaign to vaccinate dogs against rabies, and to do this, the owners lined up with their dogs. Fernando arrived alone, waited in line and got vaccinated along with the others.

It was quite a nice way to spend a day, and the cities were definitely not touristy. In both towns, in fact, I was told that I have an unusual eye color.

We have a few more photos of the two towns.

Iguazú and around (October 10th - 14th, 2013)

The famous Iguazú waterfalls were indeed among the highlights of the things we've seen in South America so far. Witnessing nearly two million liters of water fall every second from a height of 80 meters can not leave anybody calm!

We arrived in Foz do Iguaçu by plane from Rio de Janiero. We were a bit surprised that there was no information center at the airport, but soon we figured out how to get to the bus stop and which bus goes to town. We then had a short walk to the hostel and were positively surprised about what a nice place it was. Communicating with the staff was quite difficult, however (unfortunately, we speak very little Portuguese). We went for dinner, but had a hard time finding the place that the receptionist had recommended. Luckily, we found a good place to eat on our own.

The next day we stopped by at the local information center, and the woman there was very helpful. Not only did we get a map, she also booked us an excursion to the Itaipu dam. Originally we wanted to go a day later, on Saturday, but the tour was completely booked. Luckily there were still a couple of places for the same day, and we booked immediately.

As we could not go to the Iguazú falls on the same day, we rather started preparing for our upcoming trip to Argentina. We had already gotten 1000 U.S. dollars in Rio de Janiero, but we thought it would not be sufficient, so we withdrew some Brazilian reais from an ATM and changed them using quite a good rate to Argentinian pesos. Perhaps you are wondering why we did not just plan to withdraw the money in Argentina. This would, in fact, be an economic suicide. The Argentinian economy suffers from a huge inflation and the government prohibits its citizens from buying foreign currencies. This has led to the formation of a black market, which for some reason is called the blue market. Exchanging using the blue rate allowed us to eliminate the effects of the 25% inflation. If you are interested in this topic, we recommend two good articles with more details (here and here).

The money safely hidden in our hostel, we departed to see the Itaipu dam. Our excursion was scheduled to start at 15:30, but we left already at around 1 P.M: it took quite some time to get to Itaipu, and we also wanted to visit a nearby museum.

Just after arrival we were amazed by these four high voltage lines

The Eco-museum had quite an interesting exposition about the technical aspects of the dam, but we did not understand why it is called Eco.

Laura and a scheme of the Itaipu dam

From the museum we moved on to the visitor center of the Itaipu dam. We bought our tickets using the reservation number we'd received in the morning and had a delicious cake in the local cafe. In the beginning we were a bit worried that whole excursion would be in Portuguese, because it was the only language we heard around us. Fortunately, the excursion was completely bilingual, but we still had a feeling that more information was presented in Portuguese than in English.

Up to 2012, the dam was visited by 6485 people from Czech Republic and by 455 from Estonia

The excursion started with propaganda video about the dam. The dam is indeed quite impressive. It consists of twenty generators, each with approximately the same output capacity as one nuclear reactor in the Temelín power station. It is also similarly controversial: nearly sixty thousand people were relocated during its construction. Later on we also heard estimates that if the dam would ever collapse, it would kill more people than Chernobyl and Fukushima together.

After the video we boarded a bus and started our excursion. The first stop was the spillway. It has a capacity of 62.2 million liters per second, which is approximately 40 times more than the average of the Iguazú falls. Unfortunately for us, there was no water going through: the spillway is needed only once or twice a year.

Forty Iguazú falls could fit here

From there we continued to the next viewpoint, where we could get an overview of how huge the dam really is. From a distance it did not look so large, but we were explicitly told to remember the size of the white tubes. We would get a much better understanding later, while standing next to them.

Overview of the Itaipu dam. Notice the short and stout white tubes in the middle.

A closer view of the white tubes, in the background

From the viewpoint we continued to the top of the dam. We stopped quite close to the border between Brazil and Paraguay to take some pictures. Our guides were generally very knowledgeable, but here I managed to surprised them with a question that they were unable to answer. What is the purpose of the rings on the picture below? If you know, please let me know in the comments.

These rings were connected to high voltage lines via dedicated wires and were standing on quite high insulators

From the top of the dam we continued to the main entrance of the dam. First we walked into the upper part of the dam called the cathedral. It did not matter if we took a look up or down, it was far in both directions.

The official entrance of the Itaipu dam

Looking down through the dam

We then continued into the bottom part of the dam. First we stopped at the operation center and could see that at that time, all generators were operational. We were also told that half of the shift is always from Brazil and the other half from Paraguay.

Itaipu control center - people did not seem to be working very hard, but nobody was checking Facebook.

From there we took a lift to a huge hall above the generators. The hall was so large that you would fit several soccer fields into it. We then went even deeper and visited a chamber with a shaft connecting a turbine with a generator. It was rotating only 90 times per minute, but was a couple of meters thick.

This shaft transfers 700 MW from turbine to generator

We then returned to the bus and the visitor center. There we had one more delicious cake and went back to Foz.

The day after we took a bus to the Brazilian side of the Iguazú falls. Surprisingly, the bus was not very full. After arriving to the entrance of the park, we were even more surprised. The amount of people who had arrived with organized tours was just crazy. We waited in line to buy a ticket, and in another to board a bus that would travel through the park. Once we finally started walking on the path to see the falls, we got into a human traffic jam. There were just so many people who wanted to see the falls and soon we could see why.

One of the first view of Iguazú falls

We took many pictures and moved slowly among the crowds of people. We also made some stops to eat a bit, and could see coati stealing food from trash bins. Eventually we got close to a place called the Devil's Throat.

Coati stealing food from trash bins

Iguazú waterfalls - one more picture

Laura on the way to Devil's Throat and its observation platform

The observation platform provided us with a close view of the waterfalls and also with the possibility to feel them on our own skin. We got wet quite quickly. Luckily, it was rather warm, so we dried up fast.

Laura, wet on the observation deck

We spent a bit more time looking around the observation deck, but it was soon time to move on. We caught the bus back to the entrance and from there visited Parque das Aves.

This park was like a big zoo that specialized on birds. We saw many birds in large cages. The coolest thing was that we could even enter some cages, where the birds were even flying above our heads. In the last cage it was even a bit scary, because there were so many birds that were flying around, possibly fighting for the best places to sit. Plans to make more space for them are on their way.

One of the many birds which allowed us to take a close picture

Laura is always happy when she sees beautiful plants

Laura's favorite bird in a big cage

After spending a couple of hours with the birds we took a bus to town. It was quite difficult to find an open restaurant in the middle of the afternoon, but we managed. We relaxed a bit in the evening and did some more planning.

The next day morning we took a bus to Puerto Iguazú in Argentina. Compared to other people on the bus who did not have to get out at the border because they were visiting Argentina for just one day, we needed to stop by at Brazilian emigration. After getting our passports stamped we waited for a half an hour, and the driver of the next bus told us that we can't board with our backpacks. As the bus after this one would have been there in an hour, we decided to walk the two kilometers and arrive in Argentina on foot. 

Before the Argentinian border we saw a big duty free shop. Just out of curiosity we decided to take a look, and were immediately surprised that all prices were quoted in U.S. dollars. What surprised us even more was that it was also possible to pay in Argentinian pesos using the official exchange rate. As we had gotten pesos for almost half the price, I considered buying a new camera, because it could have potentially saved us a lot of money. However, we soon discovered that something strange had to be going on: an iPad mini that cost US$ 299 in the Apple Store on-line cost US$ 559 here. Cameras were similarly overpriced. Some hidden taxes? We're not sure. In any case, welcome to Argentina, we are ready for you!

We crossed the boarder to Argentina and got our passport stamped. We again did not want to wait for the bus and just walked to our hostel. After getting settled in, we went to eat and had our first steak in Argentina. It was not as good as the one in Cochabamba, but was accompanied with a great Argentinian wine, so we more than enjoyed it. In the evening we organized bus tickets to Corrientes for the following night.

The next morning we caught a bus to the Argentinian side of the falls. Once we'd paid for the entrance,  Laura was a bit disappointed about the tickets: mine said that I am from Czech Republic, but hers that she is from otros (others). She did not mind for long as we soon noticed that the park was much less crowded than on the Brazilian side, maybe because it was already Monday or because the Argentinian side is bigger and people could be more spread out.

We took a train to the first station. From there we first started with the upper circuit, giving us a great view of the falls from the top.

Falls from the upper circuit

We could get very close to the falls

After the upper circuit, we hiked down to the lower one. During our lunch break we were attacked from behind by a coati, who stole a whole pack of cookies from us. I got a bit of a scratch on my hand, but the skin wasn't broken and the paramedic at the park told me not to worry about it.

Laura at the lower circuit

More waterfalls from the bottom

The entrance to the national park even included a short boat ride to an island, where in addition to the falls, we could see a large iguana.

Falls from the Island

An iguana lurking in the undergrowth

Afterwards, we took a train to the Argentinian side of the Devil's Throat. From the station, it was a tranquil walk on a path and over a long bridge. Suddenly we arrived at the viewpoint just above the Devil's Throat. The amount of water falling down was just incredible and we were standing right above it. We could not see the bottom because of all the mist produced. We sat down for a bit and just looked at these tons of water.

The Devil's Throat

Hundreds of thousands of liters were falling here every second 

Us in front of the falls

We then walked back to the train station, took a train back to the entrance and paid a short visit to the museum there. Afterwards, we returned back to Puerto Iguazú

In town we went to an official exchange office and exchanged the small amount of Brazilian reais we still had to Argentinian pesos. In the beginning we were offered the official exchange rate, but it did not take much convincing for us to get almost as good a rate as in Brazil. 

As we had a bit of extra time we also went to take a look at the crossing point of three borders - Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. Honestly, we were bit disappointed there. Soon afterwards it was time to take our bags to the bus station and leave with an overnight bus to Corrientes.

As usually, we have many more pictures of this magical place.