Saturday, December 17, 2011

The border to Villa General Belgrano

The 470 mile drive will take us two days travelling through the provinces of Entre Rios, Santa Fe and into Córdoba. The border crossing was very routine and quick. After crossing the Puente Internacional at Salto, there is one small building with two counters. One for Uruguay and one for Argentina. After getting our passports stamped and the auto permit released for exit, we moved to the Argentina counter. They stamped our passports and copied the temporary auto permit directly from the Uruguayan paperwork. We were then directed to a group of officials outside. A lady from customs checked our RV permit but did not request to look inside the vehicle. Another man asked for Winston’s rabies certificate and looked at that and his USDA permit which is now almost 2 years old. After only about 30 minutes total, we were on our way. We had planned on our overnight stop to be in Parana the capital of Entre Rios province. Situated on the eastern side Parana River – the same river which feeds the Itaipu Dam by the way – Parana is a fairly large town with a very pretty river walk area. They also had a Wal-Mart! Although we later discovered that there is one in most of the larger towns. Tom went to see if he could find some of the products he likes from the US and I walked Winston. We ate and had dinner in their parking lot but had to park overnight at a Shell gas station. It was dark but had we driven a little further, we would have found the river walk which had plenty of places for overnight parking and even Wi-Fi zoned sections. Oh well, live and learn. On the west side of the Parana River is Santa Fe, capital of the province of Santa Fe. Since 1969, the two cities are connected by the The Raul Uranga – Carlos Silvestre Begnis Sub fluvial Tunnel, named in honor of the two governors who initiated the project. The 3 kilometer (about 2 mile) tunnel runs under the Parana River and at its deepest point is about 32 meters (100 feet) under water. It made me a little claustrophobic and Tom contemplating about their seeming lack of accident preparedness did not help my anxiety level. Santa Fe seemed a little seedier than Parana and not as well taken care of so we did not stop. As we entered Córdoba province and began climbing the first of the three mountain ranges which combined make up the Sierras de Córdoba, the scenery changed from industrial to agricultural and the weather got noticeably cooler. Our destination is Villa General Belgrano, about 60 miles from Córdoba in the Sierras de Córdoba. A German owned campground “Camping La Florida” is reputed to be set up for RV’s and it had in fact been recommended by a German couple in Grapey. As night approached, we looked forward to finding the campground and settling in.

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