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Friday, September 25, 2009

The Missions Circuit

I didn't have enough time to visit all the missions. That's a 5 day thing, or shorter if you go with a travel agency, but i prefered to take the local transports and do it on my own.

My first stop was in Concepcion. Since this was the first mission that I visited I was really impressed with the wood-works. I wandered around it for 1 hour taking pictured until I decided it was time to figer out how to get out of there. I soon realised that the next bus to San Ignacio, my next stop is, whether within an hour or tomorrow at 5 pm. I forgot to mention, that the settlements around the missions are small and there's not much to do or see here. So I just decided to pick up (after a small discussion with the hostel guy which wanted to keep all my money when I stayed there only for an hour and didn't even use the bed) my stuff and hop on the bus the was heading to San Ignacio that day. This could have been a really bad decision...

I started feeling sick about half way between Concepcion and San Ignacio. Flu sypmtoms appeared quite fast and I couldn't wait to get off that bus and find a hotel to relax... It was after midnight when I arrived in San Ignacio. I asked a British couple whether I could follow them in the look for a hostel and just moved on with one thing in my mind: the nearest hospital is 12h away so lets hope this is a normal flu! I stayed in the first hotel we found. I bargained the price and ended up staying there for a couple of nights. The room was a bit noisy, but clean, confortable and breakfast was included which given the circunstances was perfect. A bit pricy for Bolivia, but whatever. I needed a place like that.

A few paracetamols later I adventured out of the hotel and tried to find a place to eat. It was Sunday and most places were closed, opening only in the evening. I also inquired about the buses to San Rafael. By now I had decided to skip one of the missions and try to get back to Santa Cruz as fast as possible... There were only buses at midday, the next day. So I had a full day to rest and try to recover a bit more. The mission in San Ignacio didn't impress me that much. There's a lake quite close and the square has some really nice statues.

In San Rafael, another adventure. Finding a place for the night. There are two, but...none is highly recommended! I end up staying in a room with a really dirty toilet, a bed where it's impossible to find a confortable place to lay down and with a very strange lady as my host! This is the simplest of all the missions I have visited. It's nice but a bit neglected, and it's possible to see that not many tourists stop here... Only a stupid, sick guy like me ends up here, I moan...

Finally I arrive in San José de Chiquititos, the place where the train stops and from where I'll go back to Santa Cruz. Instead of waiting 4 more hours for the train I decide to take the bus which departs at 20.30. I still have 6 hours to see one mission!!! It is actually really nice the one in San José, the only built from stone and that is still being rebuilt. I wandered around the square reading and writing. If I had known the kind of road that the bus was going to go on, I would have probably rented a room for resting during the afternoon. But I had seen some asfalt when my bus reached San José and concluded that the road to Santa Cruz was all paved... Once again wrong conclusions that resulted in a dusty sandy road and a bus having to stop twice with a broken engine...

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