Were were quite relieved to leave Ybycui and be heading somewhere we knew there was something interesting to see and at least stand the chance of being able to eat something other than pizza!
Paraguay only has one UNESCO world heritage site and it’s right near our destination today; Encarnacion.
Encarnacion is another city situated on the banks of a river across from Argentina. This city sits on the huge river Parana though and it is so wide it does look more like a lake. Argentinian tower blocks rise up from the opposite bank making Encarnacion look very much like the poor relation here.
Encarnacion although it has a very modern, up-and-coming area, it still largely old fashioned but there are some fabulous looking houses in the city too. Really traditional looking villas which are very well looked after. The whole impression of Encarnacion is that it is more affluent and modern than Asuncion and that people here have some pride in their city.
Although this city is the 3rd largest in the whole of Paraguay, it only has a population of less than 100,00. But when you are here it feels like less.
Our hostel is right by the bus station – that is usually a bad sign as bus stations normally are not the most salubrious of areas but in this case, it was a good choice. The bus station seems to be the hub of the city and has market stalls all around and cheap food. At weekends we have noticed just about everything shuts – but the bus stations are 7 day a week operations and so are the food vendors all around it.
The only problem with our hostel though, is they keep having power cuts. We had just settled in, unpacked and got ready for the shower – we turned the shower on and smoke started coming out of the light fitting. So we had to get dressed and move rooms whilst the electrician tried to fix it.
We settled into our new (smaller) room got the laptops plugged in again to charge them up, got in the shower and bang! another power-cut. Now we are thinking it’s us as it’s only our room that’s out this time. We narrowed it down to bryan’s Laptop charger. Seems like it needs more power than everything else in the hotel put together and he would now be without his most prized possession. Oh dear!
The main reason for coming to this city though is to visit the jesuit ruins. We have a lot of photos from there so we have made a separate entry for it.
The beach area (a river beach as Paraguay is land-locked) has been lovingly landscaped and broad pathways laid so visitors especially can enjoy the sunshine and views.
This town gets a lot of visitors too. Encarnacion has set itself up as Paraguay’s answer to Rio de Janeiro and hosts a carnival of it’s own every year. Although it doesn’t attract quite the same attention as the Rio carnival, they do seem to attract enough people to make all the money invested in the area worthwhile.
We enjoyed a walk along the beach front and had the company of two very friendly dogs the whole way. We don’t think these ones belonged to anyone but they didn’t leave us at all they seemed to like people company. And they knew how to fish!
Our time in Encarnacion was brief – but long enough. Time to move on again so the bus station was extremely handy for us this time. When we had our ticket we had about a 1 hour wait. The local vendors used this time to their full advantage and there was a constant stream of people trying to sell us something all the time.
Bryan took a particular liking to one of the mate flasks one man was selling. These flasks look like pretty typical thermos flasks but here, they cover them all in leather. Cup, handle, flask – the lot all covered in leather.
They are not for tourists either, even when they catch a bus here they take their mate flasks with them – they are additcted. We had a taste of it here too but it was disgusting. It tasted like a load of sawdust and herbs in a cup with hot water, which you suck up through a silver or stainless steel straw. All we got was a mouthful of hot smelly sawdust and water. We can’t possibly see why it is so popular.
But anyway, we liked the flask and bought one whilst we waited for the bus.
Now how the blinking heck are we going to carry it???