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BRAZIL | Tuesday, 18 September 2007 | Views [816]

The skipper of our boat, to Isla Grande.

The skipper of our boat, to Isla Grande.

Laura writes:

Well, Brazil was very enjoyable, especially after spending the coldest Winter in 48 years in Uruguay!  It was a real pleasure to experience the warmer weather and beautiful beaches. 

We travelled on a long distance bus from Montevideo to Sao Paulo where we arrived at 3.00am.  At the Rodoviaria (bus terminal) in Sao Paulo we waited to 6.00am to take another bus to our first destination which was Rio de Jenairo.  All up it was a 36 hour trip.  In Rio we stayed 3 nights and then headed to a cheaper and more relaxing town a couple of hours north of Rio.  We stayed in a town called Peró, in the department of Cabo Frio.  Even though this place had a strong, unpleasant and constant wind blowing, it felt a lot safer than Sao Paulo or Rio and the town also had a distinct character, with cute houses and interesting people.  The youth hostel was also ideal to get away from it all.  Not only was it set on a huge piece of land with alot of privacy and nice vegetation, but it was also only 500 M from a popular and very pretty beach, with cafés and restaurants along the waters edge.  It was very different to anything we had seen before, as beach chairs and umbrellas belonging to each restaurant decorated the waters edge with a rainbow of different colours.  The lively Brazillian music played in each café also added to the lively atmosphere.

The owners of the youth hostel also added to the whole experience.  Due to this couples more personal touch with their guests, we felt this was our home away from home and not just another youth hostel.

We spent approx 7 days in Pero and even though we had an invitation from the owner to join her, her husband and some other youth hostel owners, to go north to Bahia, (1,200 kms) with them, we decided it was too expensive, as well as too out of our way considering we had to return to Sao Paulo in 4 to 5 days time to take our flight to Peru.

Following Carmem´s (the youth hostel´s owner) recomendations, we decided to leave 4 days earlier and head south to Isla Grande & Patatí which were on our way to Sao Paulo.

We had to travel from Cabo Frio, back to Rio to catch another bus to Angra Dos Reis and then head to the dock to catch the 3:30 pm ferry, (the only ferry for the day), to Isla Grande.  Well, easier said than done!  We ended up missing the ferry and joining up with 2 North American guys on a passenger boat that was more expensive, but well worth it, as it was a very nice sail boat.

We arrived at Isla Grande at night, and after saying goodbye to these very intelligent guys (not your typical Yanks!) we had to find the youth hostel we had already booked.

Getting off the boat at around 7.00 pm, and being tired, cold and lost was not a nice feeling, especially when we still needed to find our accomodation.  After asking around at the pier, one guy introduced us to another guy, who worked at this particular hostel.  We were lucky to find him, as finding this place would have been challenging to say the least.

We spent 3 nights here, and loved it so much so that I regreted not leaving Cabo Frio a few days earlier.  The island was very unique.  The streets were all sand and the shops, restaurants and houses were all different to those in other islands I had been to in the past.

One of the things that struck or surprised Nigel and I were the catholic masses that were held every single night.  At one particular church, they would sing together, but the music was very different to the usual church choirs. This was more African style music and it was very impacting and beautiful to listen to.  The voices were also of a very high standard.  It is surprising how religious Brazillians are and churches are found absolutely everywhere!  It is actually one of the buildings most commonly seen.

After leaving the island, we spent 1 night in Paratí, also very unique in style to the other places we had visited in Brazil.  Paratí was actually one of the first settlements of the Portuguese colonisations and it has retained it´s destinct Portuguese architecture, cobblestone streets, and artesinal shops with a variety of crafts and paintings.

After Paratí we reached Sao Paulo again after a 6 hour trip and met up with my uncle´s brother and family.  This was also a great experience, and it was also good to see some familiar faces once again.  I had seen Alfonso and his family in Uruguay on 2 or 3 occasions when both them and I had been visiting.  They were very happy to see us, and even their children, who were now teenagers (the last time I had seen them they were only little kids).  They were also incredibly warm towards me and Nigel.

Well, Brazil was a special experience, not only because of it´s beauty, but also because of the people we met while travelling.  We had not met as many people anywhere else on our travels and this human contact made the experience a lot more rewarding and fulfulling.

The only challenge was the language, but since Spanish and Portuguese are so similar, understanding each other was easier than what I thought it would be.

Tags: Adventures


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