Anthony on the Gringo Trail 2005 travel blog

San Ignacio Mini and big cactus

Church entrance

Close up of church entrance

Another doorway

Ruins and trees

On the wrong time again! So got up an hour too early for breakfast. In the bus station, everyone (as they do all over the place in Argentina) is drinking mate tea out of their special little bowls with straws. Many public places have huge hot water urns in order to keep the mate brewing. Also read in my book about this enormous dam near here, that flooded a set of falls even better than Iguazu! How could that happen?! (Don't tell me, I know how, it was a rhetorical question and an expression of shock).

So off I go to San Ignacio to see one of the famous Jesuit Missions, called San Ignacio Mini for some reason. It was nice, very nice even, but clarified for me that I did not want to go into Paraguay to see more, seeing as how this was considered to be the best. It was quite atmospheric and pretty, but Angkor Wat it wasn't. Last bit of jungley red earth and luxuriant vegetation I shall see for a while though. So I get a minibus to the nearest big town, Posadas, pass up the opportunity to whip over the river to Paraguay just for the sake of going there, and get a night bus to Buenos Aires. This has to be the best bus I have ever been on anywhere. Huge seats that fold down into almost complete beds, blankets, big pillows and all, two uniformed flunkies, and red wine and fizzy wine with the nice three course meal! Even the screaming toddler behind me shut up when I went to sleep and didn't start again until the outskirts of Buenos Aires.

Couple of bits of (summarised) history for young people. For a long time, Argentina had essentially military dictatorships, right up until about twenty years ago. Over 30,000 people have never been accounted for, they just 'disappeared', and lots more were tortured, etc. One of the things that finally finished all this off was the so-called Falklands War, when Argentina occupied some of the (British) Falklands Islands off their coast, and Maragaret Thatcher declared war. We completely trashed the Argies, as they were called in those days. One of the less good bits was when Peru had nearly brokered a peace deal about a month after the war started and before it had really got going. Argentina was basically ready to sign, when a British submarine destroyed an Argentinian ship outside the war zone (and steaming away from it). 400 sailors died, mostly younger than my kids now, and the war stepped up a notch. One for those with a cynical view of politics. The ship was called the Belgrano, and this is also a district of Buenos Aries and every town has a street called Belgrano, so I am constantly reminded of it. People here always assume I am french or Italian for some reason, and laugh when I tell them I am English, probably because of the war, but they are still very nice to me.

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