Concepción

The city of Concepción is north of Asunción, in the Departmento de Concepción. It’s about a five and a half hour drive from Asunción regardless of whether one travels north on Route 3 and then west on Route 5, or through the Chaco as we did driving north on Route 9 and then turning east at the town of Pozo Colorado.

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Concepción is cattle country. We saw cows crossing the street, nursing in the street, walking on the side of the street and grazing in the fields alongside the street.

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We also saw goats, sheep and chickens.

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While there are many estancias and cattle ranches in the Chaco, that area of the country doesn’t produce the highest quality beef, in part because of the breeds that thrive there and in part because of the high salt content in the graze lands. Concepción and the eastern half of Paraguay is home to the Nelore and Brangus breeds of cattle, thought by Paraguayans to be the most delicious. The Nelore cattle is easily identified by the distinctive hump on its back.

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Concepción is located on the Río Paraguay and was founded in the late 1700s. By the late 1800s it had become an important shipping hub, receiving goods from Brazil and other parts of Paraguay and then shipping goods south, down the river to Asunción and Argentina. Concepción welcomed many Spanish, Italian and Arab immigrants during this time and their influence, particularly that of the Italians, remains visible in the architecture of the town.

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We observed some very dangerous gas station practices.

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In his defense, while there were a few warning signs posted at the gas station, there was nothing specifically advising against bringing your horse cart with four 55-gallon drums to the gas station and then filling them all with gas at the same time.

The majority of the town streets were dirt roads, aside from a few paved main streets. We saw motorcycles everywhere, and almost no helmets. There were young kids riding motorcycles to school, there were families of four or five people riding one motorcycle and there were elderly women riding sidesaddle being ferried about by younger drivers.

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We watched a gorgeous sunset that night.

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We enjoyed dinner al fresco in prefect weather taking in the atmosphere of the town at night.

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It was a nice end to a long day!

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