A Travellerspoint blog

Paraguay

Asuncion Adventures


View World Tour 2016 on Glichez's travel map.

Today was my one and only day for sightseeing here in Paraguay - and it may have been a bit too long! LOL

The hotel had a decent breakfast buffet, but for some reason I was not terribly hungry this morning. I nibbled a bit before meeting my tour guide for the half-day tour of the city.

The guide met me at the hotel at 8:00 and we set off into the city. We had a driver with us as well and he drove us around the old town area for a bit, including along the newly completed waterfront road. The bay of Asuncion is small, but very pretty; the waterfront roadway was completed only a few years ago and is planned to extended further. My guide informed me that today was a holiday: the anniversary of the founding of Asuncion! He explained that this was why there were so many people out last night partying. Since it was a holiday, many places were closed.

After driving around some, we got out for a walk around the old town area. Our first stop was the Catholic church.

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They were holding a mass inside, so we weren't able to wander around very much, but I was able to see all of the highlights. There were some spectacular icons and the altar was done in silver. Outside of the church was a large square that was preparing for the day's celebrations. We saw a police escorting a truck to the square - and the truck was only carrying the statue of the city's patron saint, which the guide found ridiculous. As we walked around the square I was amazed at the number of police officers present, including many in riot and swat gear.

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We walked along the streets of Asuncion, which, I'm sad to say, were in terrible shape: major potholes everywhere, sidewalks torn up, garbage strewn everywhere. My guide said that the city had quite a problem with the garbage. Outside of one building was some interesting street art that wasn't related to the holiday.

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We next made our way to the new legislative building, which the government of Taiwan helped build with a donation of $20million! They donated this amount because Paraguay is one of the few countries to recognize Taiwan rather than mainland China. Directly across the street from the legislature was a shanty town.

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We tried to walk to the Palacio de López, one of the nicest buildings in the city, but found that all roads leading to it were barricaded off and lined with police. One of them explained that there was a protest planned for that day and they wanted to march to the Palacio de López, which the police were going to prevent. At one point a group of riot police came running up to the barricades to prepare. As we made our way back to the car we could see the protesters making their way down the street.

Back in the car, we headed down to the new town area. This town had clearly been better developed and invested in, but it still was quite run down. We drove around some of the affluent neighborhoods and one street was so torn up that we had to drive on the sidewalk to get around - and this was less than a block away from a HUGE mansion that one of the former dictators had lived in. Finally we made our way back to the hotel around noon. All in all it was a good and thorough tour of the city, touching on all of the highlights.

I spent some of the afternoon relaxing at the hotel before heading out for a quick bite to eat. Most every place was closed and I didn't fancy wandering around the city too much, so I grabbed some food at... Burger King. Don't judge me! Outside of the BK were several poor children begging for money; the BK had a guard at the door to make sure they didn't come inside. After ordering my food, which was an ordeal, I found that the garbage problem extended off of the streets and into restaurants as well: there was garbage all over the floor. They did have someone going around cleaning up, but there was so much for the poor guy to keep up with!

I came back to the hotel and planned to read by the pool and go swimming (the hotel has a rooftop pool!), but once I got to the roof I heard some commotion out on the street: there was a parade coming! I hurriedly went out to the street and watched as the parade went by.

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The parade was rather simple, but quite nice. There were little bands that beat out on their drums mostly. Groups of little girls marched with them, twirling batons. The parade was religious in nature and was part of the holiday celebrations. The end of the parade was made up of the clergy, with members of the military escorting a religious statue with them. The parade lasted about 20 minutes, after while I returned to the roof of the hotel to admire the view.

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While I might not have been able to see the Palacio de López up close, I was able to see it from the roof:

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I've got to make it an early evening though; my airport transfer is leaving the hotel at 3:00 for my flight to Buenos Aires at 5:00.

As I was writing the above I heard fireworks outside, so I ran back up to the roof and caught the tail end of a firework show that was down at the waterfront. There were several hotel staff members on the roof watching as well. It was fun getting to see the holiday festivities here today!

Posted by Glichez 15:26 Archived in Paraguay Comments (0)

Off to Paraguay


View World Tour 2016 on Glichez's travel map.

Off to Asuncion, Paraguay today!

I was up around 7am this morning for some reason, despite going to be so late last night. I was still on cloud 9 from spending time with Ryan. I sent him a text to see if he and Sarah wanted to meet for coffee before I left for the airport, but I unfortunately didn’t hear back from him. I spent the morning packing and getting ready.

My airport shuttle arrived on time, which I was thankful for because I had read several poor reviews on Trip Advisor, complaining that the service was habitually late or failed to show up. The first flight was quick, though the turbulence when flying over the Andes Mountains was rather intense (far more so than when I flew to Santiago). The view of the Andes Mountains from the plan was spectacular though.

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I had a layover in Buenos Aires this evening, which flew by, thankfully. I noticed on Facebook that Sarah, whom I had met at Iguassu Falls a few days ago, was also at the airport. As I was making my way to my gate we passed each other in the hall way (and this at a very busy, crowded airport)! We stopped for a short chat and decided to grab a quick drink as well. Sarah bought us each a glass of very delicious red wine (and the glasses were HUGE). She was on her way back home to Ireland; she was leaving tonight (Sunday), flying to Miami, then Charlotte, then Dublin; she wouldn’t reach home until Tuesday! I had to quickly drink my wine as I needed to run to make my flight. It was really great running into her at the airport!

I slept during the flight to Asuncion, which was another quick flight. Towards the end I woke up and got a splitting headache right behind my right eye; it was a very sharp, stabbing pain. It has mostly subsided by now, but it was incredibly painful on the flight. I think it was due to the fact that I am still recovering from my cold and the change in pressure as we were descending into the city.

The hotel shuttle was waiting for me and we headed off into the city. It was nearly 23:00 by this point and starting to storm. As we reached the city center the traffic became horrendous – it was like rush hour traffic! Tons of people were out wandering the streets, coming from or heading to bars or clubs. I was really surprised by the amount of people that were out and about, especially on a Sunday night.

The hotel is very nice – possibly the nicest hotel I’ve stayed at so far on this trip. I don’t generally splurge on lodgings, but I did here in Asuncion, mostly for safety reasons.

Posted by Glichez 14:41 Archived in Paraguay Comments (0)

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