So how did we find the Danish colony? Well it all starts back in Denmark, where my parents have a friend called Carsten Bundgaard, and he turns out to be a relative to Carlos Bundgaard, who lives in Mallorquin, Paraguay. That was the short version of the story. Through email and WhatsApp we got in contact with Carlos, who invited us to stay in one of the guesthouses on his property.
No welcome without a BBQ – here in Paraguay they also love meat! meat Paraguay
This is a overview of where Carlos live, it only covers the houses and not the additional land for farming
The house where Carlos live (left picture) and the guest house where we stayed (right picture)
The longer story… back in the days the Bundgaard family was famers in Denmark, but a crisis hit the Danish farmer from 1978-1982, and some of the farmers started to invest in land in Paraguay. Some farmers moved to Paraguay to start a new life, others bought land and rented it out to existing farmers in Paraguay. Carlos’s father invested in some land in Paraguay, and started to rent it out to existing farmers. In the beginning Carlos’s farther would travel between Paraguay and Denmark to keep an eye on the land. He would buy merchandises in Paraguay, and sell them in Denmark, which would cover the cost of the trip. After a few years traveling between the countries, the Bundgaard family moved to Paraguay in the mid 1980’s. In 1990 Carlos was born. In 2003 the family started to organize vacations for tourist from Denmark. The first Danish tourist came to visit in 2003, and the guesthouses was built 5 years later in 2008. Each of them are owned by Danes, but are also used for housing Danish tourists, who come to visit Paraguay and the Iguazu falls. Today Carlos is the manager of the guesthouses and the additional land for farming.
Meet Carlos and his dog “Rifort”
Carlos gave us a tour on the farm, where they primarily grow soybeans. The production of soybeans was introduced in 1921, and in the 1970’s Paraguay was already a major soybean power in the Americas. The soybean production grown from 122,000 tons to 375,000 tons in the 1970’s (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soybean_in_Paraguay). In 2017/1018 Paraguay will produce 10 million tonnes of soybeans (Source: https://www.agriculture.com/markets/newswire/paraguay-201718-soy-crop-seen-around-10-mln-tonnes-chamber). In just 2 years it is possible to make 5 harvest of soybeans due to the climate in Paraguay. In the right picture you see a small manioc (also called yuca, mandioca, cassava), which is native to South America. It is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions, and a major source of carbohydrates in the local diet. Cassava is the third-largest source of food carbohydrates in the tropics, after rice and maize (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassava). We really like it, but it takes forever and ever to cook it, unless you have a pressure cooker.
We continued the tour around the house of Carlos’s uncle (Jan) and aunt (Beatriz)
Banana trees in the backyard
They have built a small trail through a piece of jungle, which we followed. We also met their pet, a Puma called “Silver”. They actually wanted a northern tiger cat (Leopardus tigrinus), which is a small spotted cat living from Central America to central Brazil. So they bought this small spotted kitten, but as it grew bigger it “lost” all the spots, and they realized that it was not a northern tiger cat, but a puma.
Now Jan and Beatriz own Hotel Puma in Mallorquin (https://www.facebook.com/pg/hotelpumamallorquin/posts/?ref=page_internal), and don’t spend much time at home. We didn’t get to meet Jan since he was in Denmark, but we visited Hotel Puma.
Drone photo by Esben of Hotel Puma
Here we got to meet Beatriz, who invited us for coffee and cake. Finally a real cup of coffee accompanied by Danish cinnamon rolls, dream cake (drømmekage) and a layered cake with whipped cream (lagkage). It was just amazing.
Later she invited us for dinner “bøf med bløde løg, brun sovs og kartofler” = ground beef patty with fried onions, gravy and boiled potatoes (right picture). So Danish , and it was so good. Thank you so much Beatriz, we had an amazing time with you. It was so “hyggeligt”.
The food doesn’t end here. We finished with dessert, which was ice cream with blackberry marmelade. Love when Paraguay meet Danish food traditions
After dinner Beatriz invited us for American breakfast the next day. We never say no to food, so the next morning we were back for breakfast – everything is homemade. It felt like home spending time together with Beatriz .
We also spend a lot of time in the guesthouse. We were waiting for a shipment from the United States (send from our friend, Douglas in California), with Esbens new hiking boots and a few other things. BUT… no more long stories, it got stuck in Custom in Asuncion, Paraguay. So we spend time on cooking food in the oven (mini pizzas) and updating the blog.
Esben also did some maintenance on Lance. Actually the starter motor stopped working, when we pulled into the driveway at Carlos. So Carlos contacted his local mechanic, where Lance would be in good hands. Lance got new oil and filter, even new gear oil and the starter motor was repaired again. Carlos was a big help! Thank you. We also spend a day shopping i Ciudad del Este, and Esben had some time to play around with his new toy – a drone.
In the meantime I have had a headache for a week, so we went to see the local doctor. Nothing helped, and even after trying several painkillers the headache was still there. In the end we called our travel insurance, and they send us to a hospital in Foz do Iguacu in Brazil. We spend a hole day there, they checked for everything. I only had an infection, which was treating itself, but probably had been the course of the headache. BUT… two weeks with strong headache is hard. It is all about recovering now.
It was time to leave Mallorquin, and our shipment was still trapped in custom in Asuncion. So our plan was to drive to Asuncion and pay the tax and fees for our shipment. Carlos had done everything he could to get the shipment send to Mallorquin, but in the we ended up picking it up in Asuncion. Slowly I was getting better, and the headaches were getting less and less. My mom would always ask me, what I would like to eat when I was sick as a child, so we stopped at Lactolanda on our way to Asuncion, and got some ice cream.
I felt so much better after that ice cream. See you in Asuncion in the next post. This is also were we will reveal, what happened with our shipment from the United States.