The amazing Iguassu Falls and awesome Argentinian steak
03.02.2013 33 °C
It seems like the nice hostels have rubbish breakfasts (apart from Casa Curitba) and the bad hostels have good breakfasts. Anyway, after sleeping on top of towels on the bed without decent air conditioning, it was a good start the morning. After packing our bags, and the nice staff at the hostels keeping them in a room for us, we headed out to see the Brazilian side of Iguassu Falls. We were really excited about this part of the trip, and it did not disappoint one bit.
We jumped on the bus in Foz and after a few stops the bus was rammed with people. Andrew made a joke about it being worse than the Victoria Line and we got talking to a group of two guys and two girls. One guy was from Crouch End (that's two connections to our old home in six days) and the girl, noting our Northern accents, said she was from up North, somewhere called Lancaster! Unbelievable what a small world it is.
The Brazil side of the national park feels a lot like the entrance to a UK zoo, with the style of the buildings and the open top buses, giving it a 'day out' touristy vibe that I wasn't expecting. I wasn't complaining though, as it makes it so much easier to get around. From the entrance we got straight on to the open top bus and made our way past the zoo and ecological parks to the start of the viewing trail.
The walkway quickly took us to the first viewing point and although small in comparison to what we were about to see, the waterfalls and landscape around them were still beautiful and were probably the biggest I'd ever seen in real life.
My Dad had told me that the park was home to some animals called Quati (on the Brazil side, they have a different name on the Argentinian side), and they often steal people's food. Practically as soon as we walked past the first viewpoint I saw a large one on a bin:
As well as the Quati there were lizards too:
As we continued the waterfalls got larger and more impressive, we took videos to capture the sound, strength and speed of them.
The closer we moved towards the falls, the noise became louder and you could see and feel the mist and spray of the falls. The first sight of the main falls was breathtaking, it felt like you were on a movie set. It was the most incredible thing I have ever seen - their beauty and power was overwhelming. As we stood on the platform out in the water, looking up at the falls, we were constantly being sprayed by the water and as a result some of the pictures and videos have watermarks but it adds to the impact! As we looked down, there was a a rainbow stretching out beneath us, it was just perfect.
This was the end of the walkway but there was also a glass lift up to a viewing tower to take a look at the falls from a different angle. As we've covered, I don't like heights and the floor at the top of the tower was basically metal grates so I could see all the way down! Needless to say I was scared but it was once again worth it.
After the tower we went to get some lunch and on the way saw a family of Quati's with their babies and what I assume to be the mummy or daddy Quati jumped up and grabbed a packets of crisps out of a man's hand!
The flies and wasps joined us for lunch (annoying!) over looking the falls...
...then we headed back on the open top bus, where a very cute Brazilian 1 year old girl played peekaboo with Andrew! Another bus journey back and we were at our hostel to grab our bags and go to Argentina - we were so excited about seeing the falls from that side tomorrow as everyone had said how much better it is. Today was only a couple of hours, where as tomorrow would be a full day at the falls.
We lugged our tired bodies, and our backpacks, in the afternoon sun up the road to the bus station and waited for the bus to Argentina. It seemed strange getting on a bus to a whole new country, especially when it only cost £1.30 a ticket! At the border, the bus left us. We quickly got stamped out of Brazil and then realised we need to get on another bus, get stamped into Argentina and then potentially get back on a bus to take us to Puerto Iguazu, the town for the Argetinian side of the falls. We waited for the bus in 'no mans land', as we liked to call it, in 33 degree heat under a tin can shelter. We ran out of water and went a little crazy wondering whether our mums or the British government would come pick us up and take us to Argentina because we were boiling?! Luckily the next bus waited for us to get stamped into Argentina, meaning that we had 'only' been on 6 rather than the expected 7 buses that day!
Our next hostel, Pop Hostel, was a short walk from the station (once we knew which way we were going). We had a large room, big enough for our double bed, a set of bunk beds and so much more space for activities (you're welcome Stepbrothers fans)! It was cleaner than the last place, had a shower that didn't look like a death trap, Internet that worked and it was quiet. All in all an improvement.
We hadn't been out for tea for 5 nights and Andrew had heard good things about a restaurant called Color, and they were right. We sat outside, in between a moaning Australian couple in their 60s (they didn't have her usual Cinzano and she liked capers, but not this many!) and a nice policeman from Bangor, Wales who now lives 6 hours inland from Perth, Australia. There was a band of three Argentinian men with guitars, singing what sounded like traditional songs mixed in with the Girl from Ipanema and the Greek plate smashing song!
We weren't sure what to order but when the Welshman's plate came out we wanted exactly what he was having. The tenderloin steak was enormous, crusted pesto and served with saffron potatoes, sundried tomatoes and roasted peppers, in a Malbec sauce. It was gorgeous! Washed down with mineral water and a couple of bottles of Quilmes, and it only came to about £34 with tip and they gave us bread and chicken pâté to start on the house.
The end of a perfect day!
p.s I saw two hotels in the Iguacu National Park today, made a note to Google how much they cost to stay at?!