11.07.2009 - 13.07.2009 60 °F
Corrientes, miles traveled……448.
Followed by San Ignacio Missions, miles traveled……326.
From Salta, we took the 4 hour bus trek to Corrieintes, the Hotel Gran Turismo. This was just an overnight stay before heading to the missions. We stayed in a historic hotel on the Parana River front. Our room’s vintage décor reminded me of being at my Grandma’s house back in the day. The comforters on our beds, the curtains, floors, and light fixtures all took me back (Regina said the same!). We walked along the boardwalk at night, where locals were out selling their goods. The restaurants had restricted hours and were closed until 8:30 due to the H1N1 virus. We wasted time walking and chatting until we could get a bite at the restaurant in our hotel.
Regina commented that she was waiting for Grace Kelly to show up while we ate. The historic restaurant was such that it felt like we had stepped back in time to the 1930s. It had high wooden cathedral ceilings. The wood was dark and polished with age. The men who came to eat were dressed in suits and the women attired in dresses or formal pant suits and sweaters with their hair in stylish up- dos. During dinner, several young women celebrating their 15 years came to have their pictures taken and be videotaped greeting their family and friends at different spots within the hotel. You can imagine in our traveling clothes we did not make the most stylish impression on our hosts.
That night we slept beautifully. We woke up, showered, and bid farewell to the stylish Grand Turismo. We caught an afternoon bus to make the next leg of our journey to San Ignacio Mission. The bus was nothing fancy, but we steadily made our way stopping briefly in several small towns. All the while it was growing slightly warmer and the vegetation increased in density.
We finally, arrived at san Ignacio as dusk was falling. We walked the half a mile to where our “reservation” was. When we arrived they said… “we don’t hold reservations past the afternoon.” So we wandered off to find another hostel. The receptionist gave us another suggestion for way we might find a room and we headed that way. When we found the second hostel, which had plenty of room and appeared more tranquil than our initial choice, we settled in.
We spent the next day and half visiting town and touring the missions. The first night I bought the “Mission” dvd because we thought it would be interesting to watch while visiting the missions. Sadly, the dvd did not work. I exchanged it for another which also did not work. Finally, we tried to rent it from itunes which also did not work. So, apparently, watching the dvd at San Ignacio mission was not meant to be!!
The mission ruins were beautiful, but it was more amazing the “utopian vision” that was realized there. By all accounts they were incredible examples of Jesuit evangelization that respected indigenous culture and protected the indigenous from many of the harmful effects of initial colonial contact…for a time. The power of the missions was seen as a threat to royal power and their economic and social egalitarianism was too far ahead of its time, and they were destroyed amid international power struggles. Later the next day we boarded our bus, which would take us to Iguazu Falls.