Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Quiet time in Lima follwed by two days in Brazil

We had a quiet couple of days in Lima, enjoying the city and going back to what had become our old familiar haunts.  This was a welcome rest after the excitement of the previous weeks and we took full advantage of it.

We got up early on the fourth day and bid a fond farewell to both Lima and Peru...sad that this part of our journey was over, but glad for all the great experiences we had stop Brazil.

The trip to Brazil was uneventful (for my Dad...on an airbus 310) and we had no problems at the border.  We were more encumbered than we had been as we had all of our luggage with us, so it was a bit more awkward than the previous three weeks where we had taken just our backpacks.

We had arranged for transportation from the airport to the hotel but to our dismay it was not there when we arrived.  Paul borrowed a cell phone from a local vendor and the hotel sent their shuttle to pick us up.  We were not sure what kind of hotel we were going to and our expectations were met in spades.  The room was bare bones, not well maintained and not all that comfortable.  The bed was clean though and there was a good lock on the door.  The rest of the hotel was fine, with a nice lobby and grounds, but this was most deceiving overall...ah well...if we didn´t have below average once in a while we wouldn´t appreciate the opposite as much.

We arranged to get to and from the falls the following day and went to visit the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls. (The falls lie between the Argentinian and the Brazilian border and there is a hot debate about which side is better and more picturesque.  We decided to spend time on both sides of the border to see for ourselves which is the more attractive side.)

Our first stop was a bird park where birds from around Brazil are on display.  We really enjoyed it as the enclosures were very well done and the birds seemed very well treated indeed.  Also, we walked through a pathway in a jungle to observe the birds which was reminiscent of our time in Puerto Moldonado.

The birds were not tame, but they were used to humans as you can see from this picture of Paul with a Toucan

And this curious Toucan who was fascinated by my pants...


Part of the park was devoted to butterflies and humming birds...

It was a lovely start to our Iguazu visit.

The bird park is just outside the entrance to the Falls themselves, so our next stop was the National Park itself.  The park is immense...larger than we had expected and is heavily forested with trails available for walking or biking, activities such as kayaking available and, of course, vantage points to view the falls.

As the park is so big, we had to choose our activities in advance and thanks to advice we were given at the tour desk we went directly to the end of the long road via the bus which is provided.  We had a lovely lunch overlooking the Iguazu river and then we went to observe the falls.  We thought we knew what to expect as we had been to Niagara Falls so often, so we took our time.

As we approached the falls though, it was evident that our expectations had not been correct.  The falls are spectacular and so numerous they are not easily counted. 

We started at the head of the falls...called the Devl´s throat and thanks to strategically placed elevators and walkways we were able to see the falls from a lower vantage point:

 The sight was breathtaking and we could feel the power of the falling water.

We took a walk which followed the gorge from the top and we could view falls on both sides of the gorge, but predominantly we viewed the falls from the Argentina side.

The jungle growth is lush and green all around the falls, including on the cliffs...making them very beautiful.  At every turn of the path, we saw a new was incredible!!!

We had booked a side trip on the Macuco Safari, which is available inside the park.  I think we must be crazy, because this turned out to be a jeep ride through the jungle (uneventful and a bit of a let-down given our previous experiences) followed by a ride in a rigid-hulled inflatable over rapids and under one of the chutes of water on the Argentinian side of the gorge!!!  My life flashed before my eyes more than once...(fortunately, and thanks in part to this trip, my life in review was interesting at least)...I kept remembering that I had forsworn white water rafting some years previously and kept wondering whatever possessed me to sign up for this part of the adventure...fortunately, the water was warm and the boat driver very we made it back safely...but soaked literally to the skin.  I guess I would have to admit that the view from the boat added a new perspective to our viewing of the falls.  Paul enjoyed the boat ride a lot, so all in all it was a success.

(I was very clearly clinging on to the boat for dear I discovered once I saw this picture...)

Thank goodness I had the waterproof cover for my camera on this day!!!

Our day finished at this point, we were wet and very tired as we got on the bus to return to the entrance...but thanks to the warm weather and despite being caught in a torrential downpour after the soaking in the falls, we were mostly dry by the time we returned to our hotel...about 30 minutes later...Our day ended with a lovely meal at a restaurant in town and a restful night.

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