26.08.2016 - 30.11.2016
I`m actually kind of nervous to write this post. Because I already know my words aren`t going to be enough to explain what we saw, and express how I felt. I just want to stick a bunch of photos on here, and tell y'all that if you want to do one amazing thing for yourself: jump on a plane, and get yourself to Iguaçu Falls!
Totally dramatic, totally over the top `introduction`, but so totally deserved. I´ll try and write a little bit at least, if I can manage to keep a hold of myself.
Okay so first we had a full 24 hours of travelling to do to get us from the coast, to the other side of the country. For once I had accommodation booked in advance, thank you for organising me Becky, so all we had to do was arrive. That was rather more of a challege than it sounds...I was feeling pretty rough from our boat party the night before, but thankfully our first bus (to Sao Paulo) involved a beautiful lunch stop in the mountains where we rehydrated and filled up on the appropriate amount of greasy food. Slight panic, as our bus took nearly twice as long to get to Sao Paulo, and we only had a short window of time to catch our next bus, for which we didn´t yet have tickets. So as soon as we arrived in Sao Paulo, I ran off the bus to find the relevant ticket office. I literally bought the last two available seats so was feeling rather smug. Until that is, I met Becky again (who had been charged with getting our backpacks off the first bus) and realised too late I had left my beloved poncho on the bus in my frantic dash. I cried. Seriously.You don´t understand a bond between a person and their poncho, until you´ve experienced it for yourself. Anyway, I musn´t dwell, I´m still a bit emotional about it. Only twenty minutes to wait, and we boarded our overnight bus to Foz do Iguaçu.
As soon as we arrived, we jumped into a taxi to our Air BnB, in order to dump our bags, freshen up, and head straight for the falls. Home for these few days was an Air BnB with Luiz and his lovely dog, Shambo. The house was a lovely old wooden cabin, albeit a bit neglected. Luiz seemed to live out of a room at the bottom of the garden. However, there was a great kitchen for our culinary prowess, and a swimming pool! (Although sadly the weather was not ideal for swimming). Luiz was very helpful, and we shared lots of interesting, if not a bit odd, conversations. But, this is all the fun of staying with locals, and meeting people from all walks of life.
We were beginning our Iguaçu experience in Brazil. Once inside the national park, you are shuttled to the start of the waterfall trail by bus, passing several optional points, for longer walks, and boat rides. We went straight for the trail, which winds beautifully through the trees, high above the river, offering just glimpes of various falls along the way, and providing plenty of opportunities for photographs.
You can also see across to the other side of the river, which is Argentina, and just about make out the tiny people on the walkways. The Brazil side is a lot smaller than the Argentina side, but no less spectacular. The main attraction on this side, is a walkway right underneath/in front of/next to one of the huge falls. Just before you reach it, you can buy a waterproof poncho, but where´s the fun in that?! It´s honestly too hard to find the words to describe the views, and the sheer size of this place, it is simply breathtaking. We stood, got drenched, and generally soaked up (pun intended) the incredible-ness. We attempted photos, but they don´t do it justice. After lots of looking, gasping, and exclaiming in delight, we breathed in our last deep breath, and headed back to home for the night, ready to tackle the Argentina side tomorrow.
So the next day we were up early, this time to cross the border into Argentina, to see the falls from the other side. Luiz had advised us not to get off the bus at the Brazil exit, but simply get an entry stamp for Argentina. We were thankful for this information on our return journey! 3 months entry granted, and we were in! After a little trouble at the park entrance (my Rough Guide listed the wrong entrance amount, so we didn´t have enough cash, they ONLY accept Argentinian pesos, no cards, and the one ATM wasn´t dispensing anything, so we did a little shady cambio with a group of taxi drivers) we were ready for our second day at the waterfalls!
A much larger area of park is covered, so you can easily spend all day here, which we did. Once again you are directed down woody trails, which turn into metal walkways as you near the river. Everywhere is signposted to ensure you follow the correct route, providing plenty more photo-worthy views, nicely building up to the main star of the show. La Garganta del Diablo, or the Devil´s Throat, is the most incredibly amazing, terrifying sight. The walkway here takes you up to the very edge of this huge cascade, so you feel as if you are hovering, and it wouldn´t take much to plunge off the edge into the churning waters below. It is a vast horseshoe shape waterfall, and you only get glimpes of the other side when the wind briefly blows away the clouds of billowing spray. It is breath-taking. I actually felt scared. In awe of the power of Mother Nature, and the strength of just this small part of her. It makes you feel tiny, insignificant. I think everyone should experience this, maybe it would help with our over-inflated human egos, seeing what true, raw, natural power really is. But, I digress.
I don´t really know how much more I can put into words how this place made me feel. But I cried. Both Becky and I cried. So maybe that in itself tells you how it made us feel. It´s like nothing I have felt before, and I have seen a fair few spectacular natural sights in my travels.
We rounded off our last night in Foz, (and our last night proper night together, sob) and Becky´s time in Brazil, with a culturally-appropriate trip to the local Chinese restaurant. Hey, can´t help cravings! We (okay, I) got ridiculously soaked in the rain walking the couple of blocks from the house, laughed a lot at me dripping everywhere in the restaurant, and tried not to be too sad about our impending separation. (Again, overdramatic?) Our final hours together, were of course, to be spent on another delightful night bus, back to Sao Paulo, for Becky to catch her return flight home. We made full use of these hours, and strung up our laundry to dry, it had been non-stop raining in Foz and we needed those clothes! The life of a backpacker: some say poorly planned, I say resourceful.