The Must-Sees of Asunción

It’s hard to select a favorite moment of my parent’s visit to Paraguay. The combination of hanging in our town, day-tripping it for some ruins, taking on the in-need-of-repair road to the Chaco (and losing, but not really because what fun it was to make friends in the hospital), and ending the whole trip in the capital of it all was what Goldilocks would call juuust right.

Allison and mom

We saved a bit of time before my parents flew out to explore the capital city of Asunción. Although, like Isaiah and me, I think my parents prefer the beauty of our small, tranquilo town, we all four agreed that the bustle of Asunción is a fun and different taste of Paraguay.

Allison and dad in Asuncion Paraguay by fountain

While Isaiah and my dad returned the rental car and ironed out the details of who would pay for all those new tires we needed (the story goes that my dad, confident in his Spanish by the end of the trip, even tried to sell one of the tires personally to the guy working at Hertz. Surprisingly, to no avail.) mom and I hit the artisan goods market downtown. We browsed over tables and tables of handmade wares, many in the traditional Paraguayan style, selecting a few of the treasures for our very own.

Mom at Expo in Chaco, Paraguay

Of course we stopped in to taste some of the most delicious traditional Paraguayan food at the famous Lido Bar, a diner at the heart of the city that keeps its old-timey charms. Well, I don’t mean to say it’s too old, since it was started in the same year my dad was born. No wonder it’s still in its prime.

Tasting traditional Paraguayan food in Lido Bar in Asuncion, Paraguay

Mom and dad at Lido Bar in Asuncion, Paraguay

What’s Asunción fun if it’s not a trip to the Mercado 4? Some of you might recall us shouting victory after discovering precious things like almonds and quinoa for sale in this market. You can imagine then what a special place it is to us. So we hopped on a city bus and enjoyed watching the street salespeople enter and exit the bus, carrying their store on their shoulders and doing their best to entice the riders.

It’s more of the same inside the Mercado 4, each vendor calling out, “What are you looking for? Just ask!” as we passed stalls selling fruits or veggies, kitchen supplies, shoes, electronics, raw meats, fabrics and nearly anything else you can imagine. Although I haven’t caught on to any system to the layout of the market, there are sections of like-items like leather and Asian groceries.

Mom and dad shopping in Mercado 4 in Asuncion, Paraguay

It was in the latter section where we took a late lunch at one of the Korean restaurants in the market. We carefully selected a couple dishes to share and in the end it turned out to be quite a lot of food, most of it absolutely delicious.

Eating in Mercada 4 in Asuncion Paraguay

Exploring the city of Asunción with my parents was the perfect way to wrap up a wonderful trip. Perhaps with the exception of the random dog that lunged at my dad’s ankles with his teeth, luckily tearing only his pants and not skin. (Did Isaiah taunt the doggie? It all happened so quickly.) With no real harm done and a fulfilling day under our belts, we took time to lounge at the hotel and later to enjoy a leisurely Chinese dinner at a nice restaurant within walking distance of our hotel.

Biding my parents goodnight, knowing they were headed for the airport in the morning, it hit me (as in, my tears were flowing) just how nice it was to be in their presence, to have my mom and dad around again and get the chance to show them a glimpse of our life in Paraguay.

Saying goodbye to mom and dad after trip to Paraguay

Thanks for visiting, mom and dad! It was such a treat to have you around!


8 thoughts on “The Must-Sees of Asunción

  1. Sounds great. we haven’t been to Mercado 4 yet. We have been to Bar Lido several times and enjoyed the Sopa Pescado (Surubi), chipa guazu, sop Paraguaya, and an mbeju mandioca that wasn’t on the menu. Also, a delicious lengua!
    We are celiac, so we are still trying to find chipas made from corn or even manioc. So far they all are made from harina blanca (trigo).
    The mbeju has been fun. Na Huest… has several options of mbeju and the empanada mandioca is mandioca stuffed with beef.
    We regularly return to Bolsi as well. They have nice people there and we can upload photos on their wifi for our family to keep in touch with us.
    We started the trip at Asuncion Palace which is extremely well-located and definitely reasonably priced (about $50-60 per night for double occupancy + free breakfast) and is only about 6 blocks from the center of the Asuncion Centro.
    After we returned from Iguaza, We are now staying at the Gran Hotel de Paraguay which was Madame Lynch’s private residence. It is about $85/per night and is not as centrally located, but the grounds are amazing with 3 courtyard gardens, a pool, a parrot and a toucan, a tennis court, and really neato architecture. I miss being able to pop over to Lido, but we are having fun with the kids here for our last few days…
    We will be back, so keep up the great bloggy posting.
    I tried to send you an email at one point, but I couldn’t find it on your blog…

    • Great info, Joe! You guys definitely need to make it to Mercado 4 if have the chance. And then you should watch the Paraguayan movie, 7 Cajas, which takes place in Mercado 4! I’m sorry about the chipa struggle. They really are tasty enough that you should keep searching. I have a couple friends who are celiac and one of the few things they can count on being to eat is the chipa, so it is out there! Here’s Devin’s blog if you want to check in with him for his tips on finding the real deal:

  2. It sounds like you all had a wonderful time together! I’m sure it was hard to see them go! It is so fun reading your stories and getting a glimpse of your life there! It sounds pretty amazing to me!

  3. Looks like a wonderful time exploring! I have to admit I got a little teary-eyed reading about you getting teary-eyed saying goodbye to your parents. Some things never change 🙂

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