The Dusty Road To Posadas
On the back road from Carlos Pelligrini to Posadas.
Saturday, February 6
Our driver Manuel picked us up at the Eco Lodge around 9:30. We had booked him through the folks operating the lodge. We started out on the five-hour ride to Posadas, the capital of Misiones Province and our next destination. Although his $200 price seemed a bit expensive, it was a greater savings in both time and money than the alternative of back-tracking west to Mercedes and then north to Corrientes. This would also include a hotel cost and then a nine-hour bus ride to the Puerto Iguazu. By going straight northeast to Posadas we were doing in five hours that which probably would have taken over twenty-four. The downside was the road wasn’t paved and that, if it rained, it could take up to six or seven hours, that is assuming the truck didn’t get permanently bogged down in the grease-like mud. Lady Luck was with us though, and we only ran into one short rain squall that turned only a few kilometers of the road into a slick mass of red muck. The truck had four-wheel-drive. Manuel was an experienced driver in this terrain and was able to negotiate through it without too much difficulty.
For most of the drive, the sun was out and the blue sky was filled with bulbous cumulus clouds. The landscape on both sides of the road varied from marshland, vast grazing fields studded with cattle and horses, and the occasional grove of tall and stately eucalyptus trees which usually sheltered an estancia consisting of a small ranch house, barns and other assorted outbuildings in varying degrees of repair. Occasionally another pickup truck would pass us going in the opposite direction; everyone waved, as if to acknowledge each other’s existence in this vast and lonely landscape.
About two hours into the ride we began to see extensive groves of pine trees neatly planted in long evenly spaced rows. These trees were grown for commercial lumbering as we soon found out when we passed a crew of lumber men gathered next to a couple of truck loads of cut trees. After about four and a half hours of this bone-rattling ride, we finally turned on to provincial route 12, a smoothly paved asphalt highway leading straight into Posadas. We arrived in town in the late afternoon and without a prior reservation for a hotel. After checking TripAdvisor on Bryna’s iPhone and a short walk pulling our luggage behind us, were lucky to find a reasonably priced room for three in the mid-range Julio Cesar Hotel. That evening we explored this tranquil provincial city of about 230,000 people which had grown up on the banks of the wide and muddy Rio Paraná.
Our favorite part of the city was the costenera, the wide road and tiled walkway that parallels the river’s edge. It was from here that we caught our first glimpse of Paraguay, actually the city of Encarnation, which was stretched out in the distance on the opposite bank. It was a warm Saturday evening, and many of the locals had migrated down to the river’s edge to enjoy the open space and cooling breeze and to drink the ever-present mate. Cafés and parrillas lined one side of the costenera with sidewalk and parks on the other. We stopped for drinks at one of the cafés which happened to have a video monitor playing Latin pop music, and as we were sitting outside on their patio gazing across the river, a familiar sounding rhythm drifted from the audio speakers. We seemed to all respond with the same puzzled look on our faces as we strained to decipher what obviously-not-Spanish language the pop song was being sung in. Almost simultaneously we exclaimed, “It’s Thai!” In this crazy quilt of a globalized world, we found ourselves watching and listening to a Thai pop music video in a frontier town of Argentina!
A rare vision along the long and mostly straight but very bumpy road to Posadas.
The drivers exchange road conditions from each direction.
Giving us a chance to stretch our legs
A thunder storm in the distance we were fortunate that it was moving in the opposite direction, they are known to turn the road into a slippery mess.
Posadas Argentina and a homage to a bygone era of travel.
Another crusty old relic from the past
A colorful corner in Posadas on our walk to the river.
Apparently the big thing in Posadas to do on a Saturday night is to go down to the costenara, sit by the river, relax and drink mate. La vida esta buena
Estamos muy tranquillo! The international bridge that crosses the Rio Parana to Paraguay can be seen in the background.
That is the city of Encarnation Paraguay across the Rio Parana'.
A contemporary monument to boatmen and graffiti. On the horizon is the bridge that connects Posadas to Encarnation Paraguay.
Looking like something out of a Terminator movie, this is a monument to Andreas Guacurari, a Guarani indian who fought with General San Martin in this area during Argentina's war for independence from Spain in 1811.
I made this last photo on our way back to our hotel. We were passing through the Plaza 9 de Julio, when I found this lovely couple posing for the wedding portrait, that's life on the Argentine frontier in the 21st century.
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