Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Best Of Asuncion, Paraguay

By Jonny Blair

Here's a top 5 things to do in Asuncion, Paraguay.

People talk about places like Rio, Buenos Aires and Cuzco when they mention South America. They don't often mention Paraguay. Which is why it's an excellent option to go off the beaten track and visit Asuncion. It's an inspirational city and contains a lot of charm. Get over to Asuncion and check it out.

1. Head to the first ever train station in South America

Amazingly Asuncion is where South America's first train station was. Over time, it was not needed and is now only used as a museum. There are no trains departing anymore but you can climb inside one and reminisce. It's worth visiting this museum!

2. The Argentina Border and Slums

Asuncion has some very run down areas, and these slums are down by the riverside. The slums are cool to look at in the day time but at night it's not really recommended. You can stare across at Argentina as Paraguay borders it. A river separates Asuncion from Argentina. You can boat or bus it across to another country if you like.

3. Reminisce about Jose Luis Chilavert

Personally my Panini Sticker albums as a child influenced and inspired my football dreams. I remember seeing Paraguay in the 1986 World Cup and wondering "who the fuck they were". Just over a decade later and their goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert had become one of the world's best keepers and a final point in their international team which qualified for 4 consecutive World Cup Finals. I visited the national stadium, sneaked through the gates to stand on the pitch and "do a Chilavert". A local mused "this boys a nutcase" as I flew my well travelled Northern Ireland flag at the centre circle. "I am mate, but not as nuts as Jose" I replied, while reminiscing the time the Paraguayan struck the crossbar with a free kick in the World Cup. Not bad for a charismatic goalkeeper.

4. Plaza de Los Heroes and Buildings

Paraguay, like most countries has a history of war and this is remembered by the monuments and plaques in Heroes Square. It's worth a visit and Paraguay also has a lot of army around them.

Then have a walk round and admire the other buildings in Asuncion such as the Palace, the Cathedral, the Army building and the old style skyscrapers.

5. Go for a night out!

If you're in Asuncion it would seem ridiculous not to visit some bars and you'll be pleased to know it has some great pubs, a relaxed attitude and a good nightlife. Some bars serve good food, have special shots, their own beer and even live music. This is an unusual capital city to party in.

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