Monday (Lunes) 19th April, 2010
Day 402

Hohenau, Paraguay
Hohenau, Paraguay
Miles: 40,665
S 27.08508°
W 55.66380°

This morning we were again at the bridge over the Rio Parana going from Brazil to Paraguay. The crowds of pedestrians carrying large shopping bags of Saturday were gone, replaced by large numbers of trucks choking the bridge and its approaches.

The more relaxed version of border formalities were also back in operation. We had to stop the vehicle and ask at both the Brazil and Paraguay ends of the bridge for immigration processing, also neither side seemed interested in applying any customs inspections or documentation.

The first couple of miles of the highway into Paraguay was hectic, with lots of trucks and vendors jumping onto the road to try and get us to stop and buy from them. Once out of the city however things became relaxed. The country side is gently rolling hills, signs of extensive agriculture everywhere, lush green fields, and the most amazing red soil, and of course red dust. Every thing is stained by it.

Throughout the days travel Nina read us some brief Paraguay history from the guide book. The major Western city of Paraguay, Asuncion, was founded in 1537 and for many years was the capital of the Spanish presence on the East coast of South America. Most Spanish expeditions to explore the new world set out from Asuncion. In 1865 a particularly megalomaniacal ruler of Paraguay, Francisco Lopez, declared war simultaneously on Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. By the time the war finished Paraguay had lost 26% of it's land to their victorious foes and half of its population. For almost all of the 19th and 20th centuries Paraguay was a dictatorship of one form or another with the first free elections taking place as recently as 2003. The current president is a Roman Catholic Bishop - so much for separation of church and state. And surprise surprise he is facing accusations by a series of women that he is the father of their children. Finally, the guide book claims, that Paraguay is renowned as the most corrupt state outside of Africa.

So by now you must be wondering why we came to this place? Reports from other travelers that Paraguay is pretty, and friendly. Also this is the best way from Iguazu to Mendoza without traveling through Argentina's Corrientes Province - which is infamous even amongst Argentines for its corrupt police.


Park Parque Manantial, Hohenau. We heard about this place from other travelers. It is certainly one of the better campground we have stayed in on this entire trip. A shaded camping site, water and electricity at the site, two pools, very clean showers and toilets. It advertises its self as a country club, has a bar, restaurant, horse riding. When we arrived, on a Monday (Lunes), we were disappointed to note the sign cerrado lunes. But we eventually found someone and only the country club part is closed on Mondays not the camping.