On our way towards Asuncion we had planned one stop in a town called Caacupé, to visit the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Miracles, which is a religious building that functions as the Catholic Cathedral. The Sanctuary of the Virgin of Caacupé (the largest sanctuary in Paraguay) is a Catholic basilica in Paraguay that was inaugurated on December 8, 1765 and became a place of pilgrimage for many local believers. The basilica as you see it today was not built until 1945.
Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Miracles
The story dates from the 16th Century, when a local sculptor and convert to The Faith, Indio Jose, was chosen by the Franciscan to carve a statue of the Blessed Mother. Looking in a nearby forest for a suitable tree to use for the statue, he was almost discovered by a local tribe that was violently opposed to Christianity. Hiding himself inside a large tree nearby, he invoked the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary, promising to carve two statues of her if his life was spared. His prayer was answered, as soon she appeared to him. The hostile tribe passed him by without discovering his hiding place. He cut down the tree in which he had been hiding, and carved two statues. One he kept at home and the other one went to a nearby church (Source: https://thecatholictravelguide.com/destinations/paraguay-lady-miracles-basilicain-caapuce/).
So after being sick for 2 weeks, we went here to pray for a good health and safe travel
For just 2000 PYG per person (0,35 USD or 2,5 DDK) we could enter the staircase, that lead past paintings of the story of Indio Jose, and to the rooftop of the basilica
As we walked back to Lance, we noticed that the street signs was sponsored by Lactolanda, where we had bought ice cream earlier today. People who say that women can’t park… well, with this parallel parking I proved them wrong, at least today .
Our stop for the night was a campground called “Hasta la Pasta”. Usually we would not be staying overnight in a campground, but this place is special. The campground is Swiss owned, and a place where a lot of overlanders stop by and spend everything from 1 night to 1 month. Also they store vehicles for people, who want to go home and visit family and friends. To our biggest surprise our Italian friends, Simone and Luci were at the campground when we arrived. The first time we met them were in Santiago de Chile at Travel Camper, just after we had bought Lance. They invited us for dinner , and we had a great time.
Why is the campground called “Hasta la Pasta”? and why is the owns nickname “Nudle René”. They do make homemade pasta at the campground! The white pasta is the regularly one, the red taste of chili and yes it is spicy (we love it) and the green one taste of oregano. Great pasta, especially if you mix it with some cream cheese from Lactolanda.
The campground offers a lot of different services, so we took the change and did a little bit of laundry, and I had to sow my shoe, because the fabric was falling apart. The shoes just have to make it until December, when we are back in Santiago de Chile to sell the van. When you travel you really learn to fix things instead for buying a new one.
Our big project for the day was to drive the last hour to Asuncion, and hopefully be able to pick up our shipment from the United States. We made it to the FedEx office in Asuncion, and calling Carlos in Mallorquin, we finally convinced the employee, that it was our shipment. It would only take 5 minutes, and then we could pay the tax and fees and get the package. Just saying that those 5 minutes quickly turned in 30 minutes, and nothing happened. Well there was nothing we could do, other than wait. So what happened? Well first we ordered all the things we needed on www.amazon.com and got it shipped to our friend, Douglas in California. He unpacked everything, and refitted everything into one box (one shipment). Then we bought a label for the shipment, so that the package would be send to Paraguay with FedEx. To avoid custom in Paraguay, Douglas had set the value of the package at less than 100 USD (everything less than 100 USD doesn’t go through custom in Paraguay). BUT… the custom in Paraguay chose to set an extra value on the mail service bringing the value of the package over 100 USD, mean that we had to pay tax and fees. After 45 minutes we finally got the package – so mush for 5 minutes.
Now we just needed a place to sleep in the capital of Paraguay. We have read on www.ioverlander.com, that we could stay in the Botanical garden for free… check out our next post to see if it worked out.