By the time I got to Iguassu (or Iguazu, or Iguaçu, depending on which side of the border you are), I was tired. I remember phoning home – my regular ‘Hi Mum, I’m in a new country’ call – and for the first time, I felt a little homesick. I had been travelling for a long time and suddenly, I was jaded by it.
But I had just crossed the Argentina-Brazil border, getting to grips with the tropical weather after the winter of Buenos Aires. And I was about to visit the Iguassu Falls. It was a moment I’d been anticipating from the very start of my trip, so I hoped it would revitalise me.
It was an unpromising start – the weather was dull and grey and the tour guide was an hour late, having been sent to the wrong hotel. I didn’t even want a tour guide. I had booked the trip before I’d left Britain, still naive and worried about going it alone. But at this point in my trip, I would have been happier going independently.
But when we got to the Falls, past the ticket office and souvenir shops and along the boardwalks, my grumpiness evaporated. There, past the towering palm trees, were the waterfalls.
The falls seemed to go on forever and the rush of water filled every sense. As I neared the end of the platform, I had to pull up my hood and shelter my camera from the soaking spray.
It made me giggly and giddy – my travel fatigue was washed away.
From the rush of the first waterfalls, a tranquil walk across a long bridge over the river. It gave me time to take in the tropical air and lush vegetation, but I still couldn’t quite believe that I was here.
Eventually, ahead of me, I could hear excited squeals and shouts and wondered what was coming. Everything looked perfectly peaceful where I was. As I got closer, I saw the huge plumes of spray reaching up and over the rails. Then, as the first droplets hit me, I looked down into the Throat of the Devil.
Here, a circle of waterfalls met and plunged down into white oblivion. Once again, I got a soaking, but I was beaming.
The Iguassu Falls reaffirmed to me how amazing nature’s landscapes are and how powerfully they act upon our human spirit. I was enlivened again and ready for the last chapter of my South American adventure.
Which place fills you with wonder?