ASUNCIÓN, PARAGUAY’S CAPITAL, hadn’t impressed us on our first visit. Maybe it was because it had been the region’s coldest winter in 80 years and the city looked quite depressing. After we’d run our errands — namely, replacing car batteries that had caught fire — we quickly drove on to Argentina.
A year later, we were back in Asunción with more car issues. With its dodgy tax system, Paraguay is not only the ultimate place to go shopping for electronics — especially in Ciudad del Este — but also car tires. This time it was sunny, warm, and nice to be outside. The city emanated pleasant, relaxed vibes. It felt good to be there, and our expected quick border crossing for car parts turned into a seven-week stay.
This episode taught us it’s important to give a place a second chance. Paraguay may not have the headlining attractions of its neighbors, but the country’s historical and cultural aspects deserve a visit in their own right. And of course, among our best memories of Paraguay are the open and welcoming encounters we had with the Paraguayan, Guaraní, and Mennonite citizens.
All photos by Coen Wubbels.