Tuesday, July 16, 2013

El Viajero Hostel Asuncion, Paraguay - feels like home for a few days on our world journey

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We have had to move from our last lovely hotel.

We wanted to stay in the central area of Asuncion, so we contacted El Viajero Hostels of South America.
(They are a Hostel and B&B network located in the best places of Colonia, Montevideo, Punta del Este and La Pedrera, Uruguay, Cartagena de Indias and San Andres Island, Colombia and Asuncion, Paraguay.)

We emailed Hector, who worked patiently with us as we changed dates several times. They do not normally accept children, so we were pleased when he said "yes".

We wandered by the day prior to our change over and were instantly impressed at the modern fit-out, and the large open areas they had for socialising.  We discovered it is the newest option in quality accommodation in town.  So after a one second 'family meeting' (well not quite), we decided yes we would move to this hostel next day - that being today!  We continued our walk through town down to the central square - as this was close by.

My biggest mistake was trying to walk with our huge bags.  We have been trying to post 20 kg of souvenirs back to Australia, but we learnt it is $400 from Paraguay, so we will wait to the next country to hopefully get it cheaper.  So, we keep on dragging the extra gag around - yikes I should have lost this 3 months ago.  The crazy thing is we bought the bag in Bolivia, and the next country we head to could well be that!  So I decided to stay positive as I dragged over one of the 20 kg bags up the hill - that this was a good work-out, and who needs boot camp!

I do notice men sit, start, or plain ignore us as we walk on.  The pavements are broken and uneven. Paraguay has open grilles over their drain areas, so this caused the wheels to get stuck. I fast learnt to zig-zag pull across these 1 - 2 metre length grilles.

We finally arrive - we only have one of the big bags and a backpack and a day bag we use for the bus so far - we have one big bag to go back for.  Oh no - we manage the first lot of stairs.

We check in, and discover we are up the back of the courtyard. 2 more lots of stairs!  The lovely lady on reception helped me up both lots with the biggest smile - no complaints, and happy to help.

As we wandered past the pool (which was closed for Winter), we found ourselves in a quiet upstairs small room with an en-suite.

It was lovely and clean - not much space for our bags, but we made it work.
It even had an air-conditioning - which I think I might need after this work-out!
My son promptly found the flat screen TV, but as we had to go and get the other bag that had to wait.

This time we wandered past the old church behind.
We were impressed by the lovely singing and worship that came from it.
We snuck in and had a look.
There were only a handful of congregation, but it felt wonderful.
Getting the last bag was much easier.
I had no backpack on, and only one to pull, and my son had his hands free to help at the kerbs.

When we returned the cleaner helped me up with the bag.  Time for a nice hot shower. It was a gorgeous day, so I did some hand washing and was able to hang it out in the wash area near the kitchen.

We then had a wander around the grounds - the hostel is placed in a totally restored old mansion, which has 2 huge common rooms, bar and barbecue, a beautiful colonial backyard with lots of local vegetation.  I liked the briar brooms, and the painted artwork they had outside. 

Finishing this blog off a few days later .....
I think the nicest thing was that we made friends at the hostel. There were a lot of University mature age students from Brazil. They made our stay feel like family.  We shared meals, wine, stories, and they taught me some Portuguese.  I wish I had met them before I had been to Brazil, not after, as they really helped me with my Portuguese.  Each time I saw them they would give me a smile, a kiss, and a hug.

We also made friends with a Mum from Norway and her teenage daughter.  In fact we went out with them for a day trip, and will be meeting them again in a few days to travel together.

Now as we say good-bye we wish we were not moving on.
As much as we love staying on hotels, hostels are definitely the place to meet other travellers and make new friends.
We recommend El Viajero Hostel, and thank Gary and the staff for their hospitality.

Their services includes: breakfast with local fruits, breads, and juice (and great freshly brewed coffee), bed linen, hot water 24 hours, free Internet & WI-FI, laundry service, public telephone, bike rental.
They can also organize activities for you, both inside and outside the Hostel.

Calle Alberdi 734, Asuncion, Paraguay

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