After leaving Iguacu falls, Erica and I headed for Puerto de Iguacu – the nearest town on the Argentinian side. After a stop at the tourist information to find out where the nearest hostels were we headed off with our backpacks for a place to stay for the night…we ended up in a random small “hotel” – more like a basic hostel with an awful breakfast to match. Feeling starving from the day at the national park, we ventured out that evening for some dinner. Our first Argentinian meal ended up being at an amazing Mexican restaurant which gave a free nacho starter and free tequila shots after dinner. In an attempt to try to make the evening a little more authentic, we bought a cheap bottle of red wine to drink at the hotel…but we went a little too cheap and ended up with a red vinegar which didn’t improve the further down the bottle we got!
The next day we had an evening overnight bus booked, so we decided to do a little sight seeing in the town first. We had randomly looked on trip advisor and found that there was a hummingbird garden nearby…so off we went, expecting grandeur, but instead ended up entering a random woman’s front garden filled with hummingbird feeders. Despite the somewhat odd location, the number of hummingbirds was incredible! Apparantly ten different species of hummingbird feed in her garden and they were beautiful – all with different colours and far smaller than I had ever imagined them to be. After relaxing on her garden bird watching, the next stop was a long walk in the blazing sun to the “three frontiers” – a location where you can view Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina simultaneously – somewhat underwhelming, but a nice walk nonetheless. On the walk back to town we noticed signs for an orchid garden, took a detour and followed the signs into the dirt track suburbs. Here we found another front garden where a wooden structure had been erected to house orchids and other plants – essentially a very small garden centre with only two flowering orchids – there was a reason this hadn’t made trip advisor…..
At six o’clock that evening we boarded the night us to our next stop – Concordia in Argentina! The buses in Argentina are very comfortable with soft squidgy seats that lean back, however they also have an annoying tendency to turn the aircon on to 17 degrees at 1am (so you have to take millions of layers onto the bus with you) and feed you strange meat loaf type meals at midnight.
We arrived at Concordia at 7 in the morning and promptly booked the first bus over the border into Uruguay. We had three hours to kill before the bus left so had a chance to explore the central town plaza, and took a long walk to a beautiful park overlooking a lake. We also wandered around a delapidated house turn museum where the book “Le Petit Prince” was apparantly written. All the signs were in Spanish so it made it a little dry to wander around, but it randomly was also the place where the guy who created “Bovril” lived…after spending a bit too long enjoying the park we power walked back to the bus station just in time to jump on our next bus and cross the border!
At the bus terminal in Salta, Uruguay we asked tourist information for the direction to hostels…she showed us on the map and off we went on the longest walk I have ever done carrying a massive backpack in 32 degree midday heat. The town lacked any kind of hotel! After what seemed like an eternity we stopped for chivitos (basically a meat sandwich) and a litre of cold beer in a cafe. Having suitably cooled off an recovered we continued the remaining six blocks to the only hostel in the entire town (a well kept secret as it didn’t feature on an Internet site). Feeling exhausted, we wandered to the river bank to watch the local rowing club, sunbathe and snooze. We continued to explore the waterfront area and watched a beautiful sunset from a park – lovely way to end the day.
In the morning, we set about catching the bus to the nearby thermal springs. They consisted of a series of swimming pools with water ranging in temperature from 38 to 44 degrees depending on the pool. Clearly a bizarre activity to be participating in considering it was 32degrees outside, we spent the whole afternoon relaxing in the pools and undergoing some of the tension in our muscles from the previous day’s backpack hike! It was amazing to just stop, relax and enjoy a peaceful afternoon. Unfortunately, all good things have to end and early evening we boarded the bus back over the border into Argentina and continued our journey on an overnight bus to Buenos Aires.