So where were we? Ah yes, the bus station in Foz do Iguaçu and the existential question: to Río or not to Río? Unfortunately after some quick calculations I realized that going to Río, however tempting it might have been, would have meant a lot of long bus journeys in a rush back down to Buenos Aires for my flight back to Europe. Alas, it was not to be this time. But I did get a small taste of Brazil, a taste that left me wanting much more, so I’ll be back soon baby!
From Foz, therefore, I took a night bus to Curitiba. Very nice bus, with the biggest pillow of all the night buses I’d been on, but I still didn’t sleep very well. I woke up just before 6am when we were supposed to arrive, but we didn’t arrive for another two hours. (I’ve found that long-distance buses in South America will almost without exception take two hours longer than advertised; but I still continued in the naive belief that we would arrive on time.) I had found a great hostel, located right in the pedestrian area of the historical part of town. It took the taxi driver half an hour to find it, but he didn’t charge me for the extra time, and he made up for it by complementing me on my Portuguese. (Ha!)
On a friend’s recommendation, I committed the ultimate act of tourism: I took the open-air sightseeing bus round town. But if ever you’re to take one of these buses, do it in Curitiba: there are all sorts of sights to visit – an architectural museum, the theatre, various memorials and parks – all distributed too far apart to be able to see them all by foot. Linha Turismo makes 25 stops; you get five ticket stubs, allowing you to get off and back on again at four different locations. It kept me busy all day!
In the evening, I was taken out to dinner at a gorgeous Argentinian restaurant by one of my dad’s former colleagues. Together with his family, we had the most amazing meat (I had the biggest pork ribs you’ve ever seen), a delicious salad (what did they put in it?!), and fabulous wine, all rounded off with a portion of pancakes with dulce de leche (yum) and a shot of Licor 43 (double yum – apparently the name comes from its 43 ingredients, including citrus juice, vanilla, and various spices).