So. Currently I am cold and wet. Not something I thought I would be saying in Brazil if I’m honest. I hope I don’t say it again!
I’m sitting in Florianopolis Bus Station waiting for our 12 hour overnight bus back to Maringá. Overall, a good trip.
Vamos back to Tuesday night when we began out family holiday (Matthias and Klara are the rents and Frankie is my lil sister). It’s now scary how much of a slightly dysfunctional family we actually are.
We arrived in Curitiba nice and early Wednesday morning. Thankfully stuff was open so we bought our tickets for the 2nd stage of the holiday, then set about getting to the hostel I had booked to drop out bags off before exploring the city. Now, from my A-level geography I know Curitiba buses are efficient and reliable. Sure enough. They are pretty good by Brazilian standards. Although I’m still yet to see any sort of timetable!
Each bus station is a giant raised up tube, each one has an attendant who you pay R$2.90 to and who lets you through a turnstile. The extra long double bendy bus then pulls up and a ramp lowers like a drawbridge to meet the station and you walk right on. No queue to buy a ticket. Very efficient. Very German. In fact Curitiba doesn’t seem to be Brazilian at all.
(Okay now in at home, bus ride was awful)
We saw Italian, German, Jewish, Japanese, Arabic, Japanese, Spanish and all sorts of other memorials and gardens and monuments.
Being tourists, we bought tickets got the Linha Tourismo (tourist line I think) which took us to everything important and allowed us on and off 5 times. Being a national holiday in Brasil, most of the historical centre was closed so we hopped (eventually and eventfully with a locals help) on the bright yellow buses to the Museo Oscar Niemeyer.
Apparently this is famous and I felt like I’d seen a photo of it before but essentially it’s a big eye-shaped museum. Modern art normally passes right over my head and I don’t understand it at all. This place was no different. There was some vaguely interesting exhibition about illusionist art (M.C Escher … The brains behind the Inception concept) but with lots of queuing to see each piece.
Hence, we hopped back on the bus. Hopping off at Opera De Armae (I didn’t translate that yet, I think it’s a name though). It appeared to be a disused opera theatre… All the benches had been pulled up so we sat and ate food. We walked to the next stop, efficiently saving the 3 tickets we had left.
Parque Tangua is supposedly the best park in Curitiba. Now I can’t categorically say that it isn’t because we didn’t go to the others. But. It was okay. The best Parque Tangua in the world for sure. We wondered around some fountains and statues then down a big hill to a cafe. Sat in the grass and soaked up the sun a bit the proceeded to “The túnel” (it was a long arch at best). After big hill walking, I had a passionfruitfanta and we jumped back on the bus.
By now the sun was setting so we passed numerous other memorials without so much as 2 photos. I think Frankie fell asleep. I did learn the Portuguese word for ‘next’ though! The bus passed An Italian portal into the gastronomic district of Curitiba which seemed to have a bit of life about it, and some fancier restaurants and shops.
Our final stop before returning to the hostel was the Torre Panorâmica (panoramic tower… You can tell my portuguese is improving everyday), essentially it is Curitiba’s version of London’s BT Tower with a viewing platform. The photos weren’t great though because its all enclosed in glass and not open air.
I had to explain why the name of our hostel was funny. Motter Home. Celebrity Juice may now have 3 international viewers. We headed into the city centre for dinner hoping it would be a tad more lively. Luckily we weren’t disappointed and had some pretty decent grub at ‘The Farm’ on the main square.
The breakfast was good. Frankie smashed a prato (plate) and we met Cooper, an American from Memphis who had been learning Portuguese in São Paulo for 2 months. He was seeing some more of the country before heading back and came with us to the ‘Jardim Botanico’ (take a guess what that might mean in English). I mean, it was pretty.
Pretty closed. We couldn’t go in the actual greenhouse but it was only small and we could almost see everything from outside. We wondered round some trees and other stuff you find in gardens before calling it and heading back for food.
Passing through 2 of the main shopping areas, the pedestrianised (a big deal in brasil) Rua das Flores and the more commercial Rua 24 Horas (mainly offices it looked like) before lunching on a pretty little Spanish Sq. Much of Curitiba seems to be named after places not in Brasil and did feel very European. Matthias even found a German bar to look at! No Irish pubs though.
An uneventful bus (so many buses) later, we arrived in Florianopolis about midnight. Being the party animals that we are… We went to bed.
The walk Praia da Jaoquina was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. My holy book says its famous for its sand dunes and I can now agree. Pure white sand dunes towered in front of us and we chose the scenic route over them rather than the short route around. Definitely worth it. We saw people sand surfing (snowboarding for hot countries) and then completely forgot about coming back to try it once we reached the beach. Muito bonita! (Very beautiful). The perfect backdrop for Bay Watch style photos.
Frankie and I tried body boarding, with mixed degrees of success. I remember last time I tried in Cornwall and I was 12 or something. Got stung by a fish and refused to go back in the water. But this is Brasil. It was dirt cheap aswell, £3 for a hour! Definitely worth it and it burned up some calories for sure!
The plan had been to do 2 beaches in the one day. But we didn’t arrive until about midday and by the time we had body boarded and ‘tanned*’ (*burned) and swallowed enough salty water for a life time it was nearly 5. True to form though, we walked back to the beach down the hill from our hostel, Praia Mole (I think in portuguese it must mean something different to english because thats a bad name for a beautiful beach). It was deserted save one or two hardcore surfers catching some final waves. We sat there until nearly 7, happy hour and free caipirinha’s at the hostel! Just taking in the beachiness of everything. (Thats not Portuguese, I just made up that word).
Me and Klara decided to check out the ‘strip’ after the other losers were too “tired”. Instead we ended up on a hostel outing to Casa De Noca. Potentially one of the weirdest but surprisingly alright places I’ve ever been too. Think Louisiana soul mixed with Brasilian funk (it’s sort of R&B style rap, difficult to explain). With caipirinhas for R$10,a live band though and an irish accent in the midst who could argue with that. Not a bad little night. Just a strange one. Very strange.
Day 2 and we headed north, but not as far north as we were planning after some advice from the hostel. Praia Barra da Lagoa was almost equally beautiful. The waves were much less ferocious and better suited to learning to surf. I had high ambitions of being a pro by the end of the day. However a mix of colder water, yesterday’s sensitive skin and increased cloud cover, I only went in the sea once. Without a surf board. We borrowed a sun umbrella from the hostel, which the wind then decided to snap, so Matthias spent most of the day holding it in the sand.
We left around 5, got some food and headed back. Apparently I looked like I might die. I put that down to continued burning, lots of sand everywhere, wind and dehydration. A fun day all round.
A much better night though. After a nap and a shower (post drowning some cockroaches and a millipede) I felt much better and headed straight for happy hour. I met an Alaskan (I know right?! He was unimpressed all I knew about Alaska was Sarah Palin) who had been in South America since January and Frankie befriended some nice Aussie boys with a guitar. We then met some Brits! Finally. And ended up all together in a Samba Bar called Coro De Gato. I imagine a local hideaway as no tourist would ever have found it. Thankfully, Vinnie (our local) hooked us up. Was another pretty decent night, less strange than before, with a lot more talking and dancing (yes I know, me dancing again?!).
This blog seems to be getting pretty long…Sunday was wet. Nao Praia. (no beach) So we went into the city to ‘sightsee’. Muito fechado. (Very closed) Even the church was fechado! On a Sunday! We eventually found a museum that was open, spent 2 hours mainly taking photos of each other and looking through the guest book. Then we found a supermarket open with a ‘cafe’ and spent muito tempo (lots of time) deciding what to have, then deciding if it was nice or not. Generally, it was not. Again I tried to find baked beans but no such luck. I did find some shortbread though which improved my mood enormously!
Today begins out final week of TALK, -sad face- and I feel like I’ve got lots to cram in before we say goodbye and depart for Rio!
Hopefully I’ll do a video sometime this week, again though the wifi is having a tantrum and not working as I write this.