When we heard about the famous Wanda gem mines in Argentina, we put immediately a pin on the map. I have a great passion for stones, I bring stones from every vacation and every place. At home, there are more than 50 kilos of stones, I have collected from different vacations (most of them hidden from Ivan). So, this mine couldn’t be missed.
We’ve been to silver mines before and I expected something similar – a huge and dark mine with deep underground tunnels and wet, slippery tracks. Probably dwarfs with pick axes digging the stones and pushing cars filled with gems. When we approached the entrance, I even asked Ivan if they are planning to give us some safety shoes and hard hats. Then I saw the crystals just lying on the river bed.
To my great surprise, the Wanda mine was about 50 meters long, a few meters deep and just partially underground. The entire mine probably could fit in our backyard. Some of the gems are on the earth’s surface. Still, the quartz crystals, amethysts, topazes and agates are spectacular.
I tried to chip some amethysts from the rock, but the only thing I was able to break was a few fingernails.
We couldn’t leave the place without any stones, so we bought a big amethyst crystal from a lady selling stones in front of her house close to the mine. I suspect she is digging them somewhere in her backyard.
The next day was the day for Iguazu falls. According to some waterfall rankings, this is the most complex waterfall system in the world.
There is really a lot of water running there, with between 150 and 300 waterfalls and cataracts, depending on the water level. Half of the water falls into the Devil’s throat, the biggest waterfall of all, which reminded me of Niagara. Being a Canadian, I must say that Niagara Horseshoe is definitely bigger and most importantly, free of charge to visit and enjoy.
Most of the falls are on the Argentinian side, in a huge tropical forest, full of birds, butterflies and the Argentinian cousins of our lovely raccoons.
We walked more than 10 km that day, trying to visit and count every one of the small falls, rivers, streams and other varieties of water running.
As the groundwater was not enough, the afternoon brought torrential tropical rain. We tried to stay dry for a few minutes, but when we figured out this was impossible, we decided to enjoy it.
We run under the water, jumped in the puddles, splashed each other and did everything a couple of five years old would do in a summer rain. I think we are getting very good at acting stupid.