Argentinian adventures continue


We arrived in Córdoba after a nine-hour bus ride through the Argentinian countryside. The highway from Buenos Aries reminded me of driving in Saskatchewan – long, straight, flat, see-for-miles.


I instantly liked the city. Even though it’s a big city (second largest in Argentina), it has a small city feel. It’s easy to walk around, the people are friendly, you feel safe.


We did a walking tour the next morning and discovered the city is quiet on Sundays, with most shops closed. But we explored churches whose beauty reminded me of Europe (Córdoba, Argentina is named after the Córdoba in Spain and you can see the European influence).


There were stray dogs everywhere and one cute black dog followed me the entire walking tour – sitting or lying at my feet when we stopped for photos and walking beside me down the streets. I took it as a good sign that I would love this city!


Last month I wanted to visit Iguazu Falls but the flights were expensive, and I was so sick that it didn’t happen. But my friend Jesus (from Mexico, not a religious reference!) found a website with cheap flights and a few days later we were on our way!


A wall of humidity hit us as we walked out of the airport and I felt my hair getting bigger and bigger. We were definitely in a rain forest and now it felt like vacation!


Our hotel was a former Jesuit Mission at the end of a dirt road and overlooked the river dividing Argentina and Brazil.


As it was Adrienne’s birthday, Jesus had secretly arranged champagne to be waiting in our room. It definitely makes it easier to plan a surprise when your travel mates don’t speak fluent Spanish!


We were excited to explore the next morning, but Adrienne had to work so Jesus and I headed out to the National Park on our own.


Jesus had heard about an extreme boat option and quickly signed up. After my white-water rafting experience in Bulgaria, I easily said “no, thanks” and we arranged to meet in a couple hours.


Armed with my map and a bottle of water, I headed off into the park to explore alone.


I quietly strolled along at my own pace, taking photos and enjoying the warm breeze. Every so often I heard a rustling in the leaves and my steps quickened!


I saw black monkeys (which I stayed away from after warnings about getting bit), coatis (which look a bit like raccoons except with long noses, and equally as mischievous), large iguanas (who moved much quicker than you’d think), and hundreds of butterflies.


As I walked along, I caught glimpses of the main waterfalls, smaller waterfalls and rivers. I saw a speedboat cruising along and heard people screaming.


Yup, I had made the right decision to skip the boat ride!


I met Jesus at our agreed spot and he was soaking wet with a huge grin. We were both happy and swapped stories about the great day we had as we headed back to the hotel for dinner.


We walked down to the restaurant and sat outside in lounge chairs to take in one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen. The sky slowly turned pink, then red and orange, and finally a deep purple as the sun set lower. We sat there speechless, except for me saying “wow!”, “can you believe it?”, “stunning!” – yes, I’m my mother’s daughter!


The next day the three of us headed back to the National Park. There were several trails we hadn’t explored so I thought we’d start with those…but Adrienne had other ideas. She really wanted to do the boat trip.


I mistakenly thought I could send her off with Jesus but she gave me her best puppy dog look saying; “All I really want for my birthday is for you to come with me!”


Ackk! Not fair! How could I refuse a birthday wish?


I reluctantly agreed and we headed off towards the river. I had to admit the views were amazing as we walked down the trail. The waterfalls are three times as wide as Niagara Falls and surrounded by lush rain forest. Absolutely stunning.


Arriving at the boat launch, they handed us a waterproof bag for our belongings, strapped on a life jacket and helped us in the boat. I looked at Adrienne with what I’m sure was terror in my eyes but she was so excited and I tried to focus on that.


We sped off down the river, wind whipping through our hair and I thought – I can do this, I like the water, this will be great.


But as we turned towards the rushing waterfalls, my heart started racing. I was committed, there was no escape. I grabbed onto Adrienne, closed my eyes and remember hearing her shrieks of laughter as waves of water washed over us.


“Again, again!” she screamed, and the driver turned the boat around and took us through again. Cold water rushed down on us, taking my breath away and completely soaking us. “More, more!”


Ackk! Really?!


With the initial shock over, I relaxed a bit and opened my eyes for the third time through.


I’ve heard that when we’re frightened, our senses become heightened. The main thing I’ll always remember is the sound of Adrienne’s laughter. She had loved the adventure and isn’t that the best birthday gift a friend could give?


The rest of the boat ride was calmer as we zipped along the river to a second boat launch and climbed out – wet, tired but smiling.  I had done it and it wasn’t so bad!


We met up with Jesus to join a tour over to the Brazil side of the park. Sadly, we got stopped at the border as they decided we needed a tourist Visa to enter. We had been told you didn’t need one if you were only visiting the park with a tour group, but they wouldn’t budge and we had to turn around.

(Side note – you can go on Saturday or Sunday, as there are no guards working on the weekend!)


Getting ready for dinner, we heard thunder and decided to head back to the lounge chairs. Flashes of lightning streaked across the sky, bolder and brighter than I’ve ever seen – lighting up the entire night sky. The lightning continued and the thunder roared louder and louder.


After about half hour, we felt a few drops of rain and decided we should head indoors. Just as we walked inside the restaurant, the skies opened and rain poured down so hard we couldn’t hear ourselves talk. (Rain on the roof is one of my favourite sounds!)


We flew back to Córdoba the next morning – relaxed, refreshed and recharged.


I’m so happy things didn’t work out for me to go last month because this trip, with these people, turned out to be one of my favourite side trips. Funny how that works, hey?



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Showing 4 comments
  • Krista Hargrave

    Sounds like a fantastic, amazing, incredible adventure.!!
    You taught us some important life skills in this blog. Don’t disregard the stray dogs in life…Surprises come in many languages…It’s okay to say no…Enjoy your surroundings….Love your friends…You can overcome fear…..Trust the timing of everyday living…delays and disappointments can mean something better is around the bend.
    I wouldn’t have been surprised if Jesus had turned the water into wine.
    Love you lots, Mom xoxoxo

    • Michelle

      Thanks mom! xoxo

  • Stef

    Thanks for sharing Michelle! Your stories and adventures make it feel like we’re there with you 🙂
    Thinking about you and wishing you well!

    • Michelle

      Thanks Stef! I’m so glad you are enjoying my stories! Thinking of you guys too, hope all is well. xo

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