As we flew from Mendoza to Iguazu, we met Michelle at the airport during the layover in Buenos Aires. The Gutmann girls were so excited to be reunited that they didn't stop giggling the whole time till we got to Iguazu. Iguazu falls is surely one of the most amazing sights this world has to offer. Because it's so beautiful, Cheryl made sure we stayed at the Sheraton in the National Park which is the only hotel allowed to be located on the park premises. Cheryl also made sure we all had a room with a view of the falls in the distance. By far the best view out a hotel room we have had on our trip. We saw the massive falls roaring just out our window whenever we desired to gaze out our window, which was often. But the real excitement was being in the park on our various walks and activities, observing the different fauna, flora and falls.
The first day, we took a small hike that led us to bridges where we could stand over the falls. I think it made Ernie and Cheryl nervous to see us so close to the edge! The mist from the falls created the most perfect rainbows. Hopefully, the photographs will do this stunning view a little justice. After our hike, we went to eat lunch at a small cafe in the park when we realized we were surounded by this animal that looked halfway between a raccoon and an anteater. They were everywhere just trying to get a little of our pre-packaged sandwiches. We did follow the direction of the signs in the area and refrained from feeding them. After we returned to the hotel, we enjoyed a bit of time by the pool, never once forgetting about the falls just in the background. Once we had had a bit of relaxation, we decided to eat dinner at the hotel. We had heard that the food was nothing to write home about, but we were very pleasantly surprised. The buffet definitely had a little bit of everything, but the highlight was most surely the parilla, or the grill with all you could eat sirloin, fillet, black sausage, chorizo, lamb, chicken, veal, sweetbreads, you name it. Valerie, the resident vegetarian, even posed for a picture pretending to down the meat, but to all our disappointment, she declined an actual taste. We sat under a fig tree watching the sunset over the falls, having 3 courses of meat if we desired. We enjoyed ourselves so much that we returned the following evening for seconds.
The next day, we signed up for a tour that would bring us through the jungle by truck and then we boarded a boat. We traveled about 20 kilometers through the jungle on top of a large truck (with Cheryl holding on for dear life and Michelle dodging oncoming branches!) where we had a wonderful view of the plants and a surprising amount of differing bamboo. Any animals that would have been near probably ran away at the sound of the enormous truck bouncing down the dirt paths. After the truck, the best part was to come. We all boarded a speed boat that zoomed all around the falls providing us with up-close views of many different parts of Iguazu. The climax was when the boat drove us right into the bottom of the falls, drenching us and letting us feel its power. Despite Michelle's last minute pleas of not wanting to go in, I do not think any of us stopped laughing the whole time! We continued to take a ferry boat over to a small island that was covered in beautiful flowers where we climbed to the top to get some of our best views of the falls.
Our final day of the falls was possibly the most mesmerizing. We took a small train out to a part of the falls we had only previously seen from a distance, Devil's Throat. Most of Devil's Throat is on the Brazilian side, but we did not have visas to go over for the day. We then needed to take a two kilometer walk on a bridge that appeared to be solely over a river. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the river started to rush and lead to Devil's Throat. There is no way writing about this part of the falls could capture the power and magnificance of this section of the falls. Seemingly the river just dropped out from beneath itself and created the most vicious amount of rushing water falling hundreds of meters. Val, Michelle, Laurie, and I just stood and gaped at the enormous rush. It was even intimidating just moving to stand on the platform right over the falls because of its power. We took the train back and ran into Cheryl and Ernie who were on their way to experience the same magnitude. When we returned to the falls, our cousins, the Bauers (Uncle Joe, Aunt Marzy, and David), had just gotten to Iguazu, and it was great to sit and catch up a bit before we had to leave for the airport. They were going to meet us in Buenos Aires just two days later. The perfect weather, incredible natural spectacles, delicious all-you-can-eat meat, and good conversations made our experience in Iguazu something very special.