After 6 days in the countryside it was time to explore the big city and so, we found ourselves in Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay. With limited information, we kept our expectations low so as to not be disappointed, waiting for something, anything to surprise us, and it did.
Like Concepcion, Asuncion is dirty. Rubbish litters the old centre, buildings rot in disrepair, and people sleep under plastic tarps by the hospital but, there is beauty here and for me, it was in the form of urban art which, the city is not short of.
We’ve had our fill of museums and monuments so instead we took ourselves on a walking tour of Asuncion, first visiting the colourful neighbourhood of Loma San Jeronimo. While they’re not the ‘Painted Ladies’ of San Francisco, it was an easy meander from the hostel on route to the river.
Then it was simply a matter of walking the streets to discover beautiful, old buildings, murals and other artworks. Much more interesting than an art gallery in my opinion!
We lazed in shaded plazas and watched the locals go about their daily business with most people carrying their own personalised thermos with matching cup and straw from which to sip their yerba mate from, a tea that we’ve decided has to be addictive because they drink so darn much of the stuff.
We did make it out to the Zoo and Botanical Gardens though which were interesting. The animal enclosures were large and well maintained and the animals didn’t show any signs of being distressed which was a relief. There is also a small Natural History Museum on the site (free entry) with the most hideous stuffed animals and jars of deformed animals including a 2 headed cow. We definitely should have eaten lunch before this visit!
And then there was Korean BBQ and the main reason we’d decided to visit Paraguay in the first place. Well, it was the reason I came, Justin just came along for the ride. We had to walk 3 km to get to the restaurant and it was by far the most expensive meal we’ve had to date (USD $40 including drinks) but, I was in heaven! The service was fabulous and they even had soju!! How was I going to leave Paraguay after experiencing this??
On the way home we stopped into a karaoke bar and with the entire place to ourselves, we sang our little hearts out, to be told later that this is the first time the owner has ever needed the ‘canciónes en ingles’ book. I’m sure he will suffer nightmares of our visit for the rest of his life…
Buses leave the terminal frequently towards Ciudad del Este (from 50,000 Gurani).
It is also possible to take regular services to Concepcion, Encarnacion and other regional cities in the country.
International buses run from Asuncion to Bolivia, Brazil, and Argentina.
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