After crossing into Paraguay we settle into a hostel just a few miles from the border in Encarnacion. This town is home to a famous Semana Santa (Holy Week) celebration and we have only missed that by a couple of weeks.
We plan on riding out to see some of the ruins of the Jesuit missions about 20 miles out of town the following day, so we settle in for two nights. Encarnacion is a lovely city located on the banks of the Parana River with golden sand beaches making it seem more like oceanfront than riverfront.
I love the old buildings along the waters edge…abandoned as they appear to be they are still at least being preserved.
The morning we plan to ride to Asuncion I get all suited up and loaded up and as per usual, then go to start my bike. We had stayed an extra day in Encarnacion because of the heavy rains the day before. As in all day….and as in torrential. We tried rolling down a hill and bump starting it, like 6 times, but nothing happened. Betty was not willing to get moving that morning, at least not without some help from Brian.
He tried draining the carburetor but nothing happened. So finally he had to pull the fuel tank to get to the spark plug and take it out. Somehow, with all the rain, the water had gotten into some part that my bike didn’t appreciate. He changed the plugs and then she fired right up. Finally, after starting the day with breaking a sweat, we were off to Asuncion.
We rode about 225 miles to get there, passing through lots of small towns and a couple of larger ones.
This part of the world is subtropical, and very lush and green. We pass lots of fields of crops, grazing pastures, and forests.
All along the way we pass lots of fresh fruit stands, farm stands and shops selling artisan crafts and local produce – handmade hammocks, fresh honey, woven straw baskets, gourds, wooden furniture, fruits and veggies, and so on.
For miles and miles, the land is flat and wide open, and finally off in the distance I see some low hills rising up out of the green fields…one of these (no joke) is likely the highest point in the country.
Paraguay is lovely…much moreso than I had expected. I can’t wait to see more of it.