Switzerland without the price tag

Trip Start Jan 25, 2006
Trip End Dec 06, 2006

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Flag of Uruguay  ,
Monday, October 2, 2006

Hi All

So finally we have moved on from Brzil. Just to give you a quick snapshot of what we have been up to over the past few weeks here goes.. A lot of nothing!!!! We moved on from Rio and headed for Argara which was a pit stop for the ferry ride to Ilha Grande a small island off the coast of Brazil. Amazing. The place was beautiful and we were met at the boat by Wellington who owned the accommodation we lived at for three days. He has given up his house and sleeps down the back with his girlfriend and dog in a tent while he rents out the rest of his house to tourists. We stayed in a small cabin out the back which was great. We could hear the waterfall and shared our room with many bugs and insects. At one point a frog tried to join the party but I asked Boris to refuse him entry. We spent a couple of days relaxing and enjoying the food the island had to offer. We did manage and I say just on my account to hike up the mountain and through the rain forest and see Lopas Mendes - apparently the best beach in Brazil and despite all my complaining we made it in about three hours having crossed a few other beaches in our quest to get there and at times it felt like we were the only people in the world with only our footprints we could see for miles. While nice the weather was a little off so probably not the best day to see it. We got the boat back!!!!
So we moved on from Ilha Grande and the boat ride back was an event in itself with the boat breaking down about 15 mins into the hour and a half trip back so after drifting for almost an hour we were finally picked up by another more expensive boat and taken back to the mainland. One night spent in Angara then we took our next overnight bus ride to Curitiba with the intention to catch a train through the rain forest back to the coast and Paranaguy. We made it to the train in time and set off on the adventure. It was FREEZING having been on the coast for the whole time we had been in Brazil the dress was not all the appropriate. Curitiba is 1000m above sea level and the weather was not all that kind. Our train ride was a bit of a let down with the weather not helping and much of the sky line hidden by low cloud. I┤m sure that a 13 hour bus ride to get there did not help matters. Once we finally arrived in Paranaguy it took about three and a half hours the town was virtually at a stand still - it was a Sunday and after a bite to eat we made the decision to head back to Curitiba and try and catch a bus to Foz du Igazua. After a five hour wait in the bus station - and it was the worst one for beggers and the like I have been in, we were on the bus for our second night in a row for the 14 hour trip to Foz. After arriving and being stuffed from our back to back trips we checked into the hostel and after taking a quick walk around town crashed for part of the afternoon to try and recover.
Just to give you a little background so the next part makes sense. The Igazua falls are located on the boarders of Brazil and Argentina. The Iguzua river meets at the Brail, Argentina and Paraguay boarders. I have no real idea where it comes from initally perhaps the Amazon but my geography is not that good. So on the Tuesday we headed for the Brazillian side of the falls. We took a package through the hostel which included the transfer there and we met a couple from New Zealand and spent the day with them . This package also inclded a jungle trip in a jeep and a boat ride down the river. The boat ride was very cool and gave us an amazing perspective of the falls including how cold they can be when the boat hits the rapdis and is taken under one of the waterfalls. So drenched we headed back to explore further the area. We walked along the tops of the cliff getting closer and closer to the mouth of the falls and these falls really are something there is nothing like it in the world for size - I think Niagra falls has more volume. The energy and the noise from the falls is something else you can hear it in the distance as a murmer and then all of a sudden you are upon them. No photo or descrition could do it justice. I guess we wandered around looking for about 4 hours and we headed back to the hostel via local bus. The wednesday we went to the Argentina side of the falls. You can see each side from one another - bascially the river cuts right down the middle of the countries. After boarder formalities we were dropped at the park and started our day out. We travelled all the paths given on the map and saw many smaller but no less amazing waterfalls. The power again was incredible. We eventually took a train ride and walked the 1 km board walk to the mouth of the falls and this time the thoughts as you walk up to it are OH MY GOD. The Argnetina side is much closer to the actual falls themselves which is known as the Devils Throat. You almost feel as though you want to jump in. The power and energy generated is something else you can hardly hear yourself speak for the noise and mist as it rises up can get you rather wet. But to look at the top of the water coming down it is almost peaful till it hits the bottom and there is no way you would want to end up going over the edge. But to look at the river itself you would have no idea that this could be coming as it seems so calm. We were very lucky because about 6 weeks before we went there the river was dry and there were no falls but luckily there had been a lot of rain and the falls were running again although apparently not at one hundred percent capacity so I can only imagine what it must be like when it is... Boris said it is the best thing he has seen all trip and given what we have seen that is quite something, but I would almost say I agree - they were something else and again no words or pictures can do them justice - you would need to go and see for yourselves.
So after a few days in Foz we left and headed back down to the coast of Brazil to Floronopolis. It is a beuatiful coastline and they actually hold a leg of the surfing world titles there. We were met at the bus station by some random person and he offered us an apartment and although we didn┤t know him from Adam we went with him and ended up in this lovely apartment right near the beach and chilled out there for a couple of nights there.
So our time in Brazil had come to end after spending a whole lot longer there than we planned we hit the buses again for the hop to Porto Algrae and the whole half an hour spent there before we hopped another bus bound for Montevideo, Uruguay. And so here we are in the place descibed by the lonely planet as Switzerland without the cost.
We have just realised how much this is costing us and so am going to finish now and will tell you all about our Uruguayian adventures in the next installment. Till next time....

Love The BorowickÝ┤s
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