Kyrle Probus Club
   of Ross-on-Wye


FOUR week trip across South America

 A FOUR week trip across South America using public buses was the subject of a talk and slide show given to Kyrle Probus Club club by guest speaker Nicholas Clark.

The journey began in Santiago, the capital of Chile on the Pacific coast and ended in Rio de Janeiro on the Atlantic coast. The bus route took them close to Copiapo where the Chilean mining accident occurred in August 2010 and then across the edge of the Atacama desert and the foothills of the Andes before crossing the border into Argentina.

Here they began to see more greenery and streams started to appear, although it was still very dry. They visited a farm that raised horses and also a vineyard. They passed hectare upon hectare of sugar cane, a bi-product of which is used as a bio-fuel. Then they crossed the river Parana into Paraguay, a much poorer country than Argentina.

In Paraguay they came across the remains of Jesuit missions set up in the 17th century to encourage the indigenous people (Indians) to convert to Christianity. The visitors were able to admire the ruins of the huge churches, pretty much all that remains of the missions today and which have been declared a world heritage site.

Back in Argentina briefly, they visited the magnificent Iguazu Falls and national Park, which Nicholas compared with the Victoria Falls in Africa. When they finally crossed into Brazil, they came across wild orchids everywhere, even growing out of trees. They eventually reached the Atlantic coast and turned South down to Rio, which he described as a vast city dotted with slums.

Nicholas said his abiding memory of the trip centred on four places – the Iguazu Falls, the visit to the remains of the missions, the salt lakes in the Andes and the salt desert of the Atacama.


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