A Travellerspoint blog

October 2018

Curitiba Part 2 (20-22/10/2018)

CURITIBA HIGHLIGHTS

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For our return visit to Curitiba we thought we should experience its two princpal tourism icons, and hopefully have better weather than a week ago!

  1. the Serra Verde Express - for a spectacular journey through the Atlantic Rain Forest and the mountains between Curitiba and Morretes!
  2. the Curitiba Botanical Gardens - with their impressive glass house - the no1 "Thing to do" in Curitiba with more than 23000 reviews!

Morretes to Curitiba on the Serra Verde Express

The Serra Verde Express journey is the only significant journey that can be taken by train in the whole of Brazil. It is a spectacular journey through the mountains - taking about four and a quarter hours for the journey - from Morretes (practically at sea level) to Curitiba (up at nearly 1000 metres). It is used exclusively by tourists, most of whom take a day trip from Curitiba. The bus takes less than half the time and is a fraction of the cost. The price for the train journey varies hugely depending on the level of luxury required and whether there is a guide in tbe carriage. Our economy seats were fine and were 65 BRLs (about 15 euros) each.

We left on time at 1500. There was just a couple of non Brazilians in our carriage, which was only about a quarter full. Most of the passengers were members of a local environmental group on a day outing - they had obviously done the journey a number of times, and were very helpful telling us when something interesting was coming up and which side to look - one of them insisted on taking photos of us looking out of the windows, and even positioned us for them!

It was a spectacular journey through the mountains covered in Atlantic rain forest, with some magnificent scenery and precipitous drops to the side of the track. Unfortunately for photographs, the mountains were shrouded in cloud and it was late afternoon when we were passing the most scenic part. We made slow progress and a couple of times had to wait for very long goods trains (in fact the first seemed impossibly long - maybe more than 250 wagons with 2 engines pulling and two engines pushing) to pass before we could continue up the single track.

QSerra Verde Express - arrives in Morretes ar 1215

Serra Verde Express - arrives in Morretes ar 1215

Serra Verde Express - Economy class carriage

Serra Verde Express - Economy class carriage

Serra Verde Express

Serra Verde Express

Serra Verde Express

Serra Verde Express

Serra Verde Express - view

Serra Verde Express - view

Serra Verde Express - view

Serra Verde Express - view


Serra Verde Express - stop waiting for goods train coming down

Serra Verde Express - stop waiting for goods train coming down

Serra Verde Express - goods train coming other way - two engines at front, two engines behind, 250  wagons !

Serra Verde Express - goods train coming other way - two engines at front, two engines behind, 250+ wagons !

Serra Verde Express - unbelievably long goods train going round the bends down the track

Serra Verde Express - unbelievably long goods train going round the bends down the track


Serra Verde Express

Serra Verde Express


Serra Verde Express - view

Serra Verde Express - view

Serra Verde Express - view

Serra Verde Express - view


Serra Verde Express - view

Serra Verde Express - view


Serra Verde Express - approaching precipitous bridge on curve

Serra Verde Express - approaching precipitous bridge on curve


Serra Verde Express - precipitous bridge

Serra Verde Express - precipitous bridge


Serra Verde Express - on precipitous bridge on curve

Serra Verde Express - on precipitous bridge on curve


Serra Verde Express - view

Serra Verde Express - view

Serra Verde Express - view

Serra Verde Express - view

Serra Verde Express - view

Serra Verde Express - view

Serra Verde Express - view

Serra Verde Express - view

Curitiba

We enjoyed the trip very much, although were finally happy to arrive in Curitiba after four and a quarter hours to do 70 kms!

Arriving at 19.15, we took a taxi to the Hotel O'Hara. The Aladdin (where we stayed the weekend before) was full and we had stayed at tne O'Hara when previously in Curitiba ten years ago. Nothing special, but more than a third cheaper than the Aladdin, very well located for the centre of town, and a decent breakfast included.

As with our previous visit, we were in Curitiba for a Sunday. This time the sun was shining and it was warmer! Again, we went to the Sunday morning artisan market, and a definite plus this time was discovering a band of musicians playing at an old 'bandstand' - a variety of instruments, beautifully played, and a lovely (aging) singer - a little reminiscent of Buena Vista Social Club!

Around Curitiba on Sunday - leafy square with mosaic paving

Around Curitiba on Sunday - leafy square with mosaic paving

Around Curitiba on Sunday

Around Curitiba on Sunday

Around Curitiba on Sunday

Around Curitiba on Sunday

Around Curitiba on Sunday - Bolsonaro rally propoganda! Brazil's right wing "Trump"

Around Curitiba on Sunday - Bolsonaro rally propoganda! Brazil's right wing "Trump"


Around Curitiba on Sunday - Bolsonaro rally propoganda! Brazil's right wing "Trump"

Around Curitiba on Sunday - Bolsonaro rally propoganda! Brazil's right wing "Trump"


Around Curitiba on Sunday - Bolsonaro rally propoganda! Brazil's right wing "Trump", slogan: "o soldado que vai a guerra e tem medo de morrer e um covarde" = "the soldier who goes to war and is afraid to die a coward"!!

Around Curitiba on Sunday - Bolsonaro rally propoganda! Brazil's right wing "Trump", slogan: "o soldado que vai a guerra e tem medo de morrer e um covarde" = "the soldier who goes to war and is afraid to die a coward"!!


Around Curitiba Sunday Artisan market

Around Curitiba Sunday Artisan market

Around Curitiba Sunday Artisan market

Around Curitiba Sunday Artisan market

Around Curitiba Sunday Artisan market - time for Xmas decorations!

Around Curitiba Sunday Artisan market - time for Xmas decorations!

Around Curitiba Sunday Artisan market - preparing cane sugar drink

Around Curitiba Sunday Artisan market - preparing cane sugar drink

Around Curitiba Sunday Artisan market - pouring cane sugar drink

Around Curitiba Sunday Artisan market - pouring cane sugar drink

Around Curitiba Sunday Artisan market - enjoying cane sugar drinks (hers with lime, his with pineapple

Around Curitiba Sunday Artisan market - enjoying cane sugar drinks (hers with lime, his with pineapple

Around Curitiba Sunday Artisan market - reminiscent of Buena Vista Social Club

Around Curitiba Sunday Artisan market - reminiscent of Buena Vista Social Club

Around Curitiba Sunday Artisan market

Around Curitiba Sunday Artisan market

Jardim Botanic

As the sun was still shining in the afternoon(!), we took a bus out to the Botanical Gardens and joined the large number of locals who were there to enjoy their Sunday afternoon in a bit of sun. The glass-house is an impressive structure, filled with examples of the vegetation from the Atlantic rain forest. The gardens are laid out with hedges "a la francaise" but otherwise it is nothing particular.

The park is also popular with Southern Lapwings (birds) for nesting on the grass, although their choice of nesting place, close to areas used by large numbers of people, seemed curious! One pair, with sevëral chicks, were on a small area of grass close to the entrance, constantly being hassled by children and people wanting to take selfies with them (no dogs allowed so as not to disturb the wildlife, happily!) , but the birds seemed to handle it all stoically! They probably look forward to the peace and quiet in the week!

Curitiba Jardim Botanic

Curitiba Jardim Botanic

Curitiba Jardim Botanic

Curitiba Jardim Botanic

Curitiba Jardim Botanic - Southern Lapwing - stoical whilst being hassled by Sunday afternoon visitors!

Curitiba Jardim Botanic - Southern Lapwing - stoical whilst being hassled by Sunday afternoon visitors!

Curitiba Jardim Botanic

Curitiba Jardim Botanic

Curitiba Jardim Botanic

Curitiba Jardim Botanic

Curitiba Jardim Botanic

Curitiba Jardim Botanic

We had discovered the friendly and extremely good value bar/restaurant, Quintal do Monge in the Centro Historic, on the Saturday night, so went there again on Sunday. Not the most atractive bar as full of screens showing football (!) but a good selection of beers, cheap, tasty food with copious portions (enough for two) and apparently the cheapest caipi in town! Packed on Saturday but practically no-one on Sunday - they have to go to work on Monday (we were told!) - so they closed early, at about 2100, which was just right for us as we had to be up early for the bus the next morning.....

Posted by Lindseyalan73 15:49 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Morretes (18-20/10/2018)

The sun was, of course, shining on the morning we left Ilha do Mel! The journey up to Morretes, which is about half way up to Curitiba and only a few kilometes off the main highway, was a lot more complicated than the journey down. After catching the 10h00 ferry from Brasilia to Pontal do Sul on the mainland, which took about 20 minutes, we discovered there was no bus onwards until 1215! When the local bus finally arrived it took about an hour and a half to reach the bus station in Paranagua, where we then had a fifteen minute wait for the local bus to Antonina, which went via Morretes. We had booked to stay in a pousada about 7 km beyond Morretes with the idea of continuing on the bus, and getting dropped off at a particular spot in the countryside, then walking the 10 minutes down another road to get to the pousada itself. However, as we approached Morretes, the sky got darker and darker, and finally the heavens opened and we arrived in Morretes in the middle of a heavy storm - so we decided on a change of plan - got off the bus at the bus station, waited for the rain to calm ... and then got a taxi out to the pousada - definitely a better idea!

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira

The Pousada Cabanas do Curupira has 3 cabins and is located in beautiful surroundings of Atlantic rain forest. Their communal area, where breakfast is served, is a sheltered outdoor area surrounded by forest, so lovely to have breakfast there. They also have a track through the forest round their property which took about 10 minutes to negotiate. It was a very interesting place to stay although, of course, it looked and felt rather better when it was not raining and even better still when the sun shone! It was very peaceful with just the noises of the birds - and the colourful plants and flowers, planted especially, attracted a number of hummingbirds.

Our cabana

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - roadside entrance

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - roadside entrance

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - faces by entrance!

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - faces by entrance!

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - our cabin

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - our cabin

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - our cabin bedroom

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - our cabin bedroom

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - view from our cabin

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - view from our cabin

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - hummingbird by our cabin

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - hummingbird by our cabin

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - our cabin

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - our cabin

Communal area

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - view from our cabin

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - view from our cabin


Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - breakfast area

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - breakfast area

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - breakfast area next to the forest

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - breakfast area next to the forest

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - view from breakfast area

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - view from breakfast area

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - View from breakfast area on last morning (sunny!)

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - View from breakfast area on last morning (sunny!)

Trail through the rain forest on the property

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - trail around the forest in their property

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - trail around the forest in their property

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - trail around the forest in their property

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - trail around the forest in their property

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - trail around the forest in their property

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - trail around the forest in their property

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - trail around the forest in their property

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - trail around the forest in their property

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - trail around the forest in their property

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - trail around the forest in their property

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - trail around the forest in their property

Pousada Cabanas do Curupira - trail around the forest in their property

It finally stopped raining later that afternoon and, as we had not had lunch, we decided to check out the buses and head into town for dinner. Making sure we had torches with us for the return in the dark, we found that it was about 10 minutes walk to the main road, where we hailed the bus and arrived in town just as it was getting dark. Morretes is very quiet in the evenings (except perhaps at weekends) and we only found one main restaurant open (and one other table occupied!)! We weren't out for long, caught the bus back - and had a peaceful walk back along a lane lit up by numerous fireflies!

Corner where we got picked up and dropped off the bus - about 10minutes walk from the pousada

Corner where we got picked up and dropped off the bus - about 10minutes walk from the pousada

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Morretes

Morretes is a quiet town normally, but suddenly gets busy with visitors for a couple of hours each day (between about 1215 and 1415) when the Serra Verde Express comes into town from Curitiba. Its the only significant train journey in Brazil - and runs every day at peak holiday times but only 3 to 4 days a week otherwise. The town is colonial-style, colourful and single storey - and the area down by the river is particularly attractive. We caught the bus in again the following morning, and had a wander round. We also checked out the railway statIon (we are catching the famous train back to Curitiba the next day) and found there would be no problem leaving our rucksacks in the station ticket office for a couple of hours before leaving - so refreshing - no thought of security issues....!

After the first night, we decided to have our main meal at lunchtime (and return to our pousada for the evening) and to try out the local speciality - Barreado - at the Casa del Rei restaurant (recommended by our pousada as the best bet in town). The traditional version is like a meat stew which is thickened at the table with manioc flour and served with rice and cooked banana. The staff laid on quite a show for us of preparing/serving the dish at our table - at one stage the meat sauce is thoroughly mixed with the manioc flour to quite a thick consistency and the waiter then held it upside down over Lindsey's head while the restaurant boss looked on and took photos! They sent us the photographs afterwards. More meat was added to Lindsey's dish juices before it was actually served ... We really enjoyed the meal, the staff were friendly, and we had a lovely view over the river from our table.

Around Morretes

Around Morretes town

Around Morretes town

Around Morretes town

Around Morretes town

Around Morretes town

Around Morretes town

Around Morretes town

Around Morretes town

Around Morretes town

Around Morretes town

Around Morretes town

Around Morretes town

Studio_20181021_170251.jpgBirds around town ...

Birds around town ...

Down by the river

Nhundiaquara river in Morretes

Nhundiaquara river in Morretes

Nhundiaquara river in Morretes

Nhundiaquara river in Morretes

Nhundiaquara river in Morretes

Nhundiaquara river in Morretes

Apero by the tiver and Barreado lunch at Casa del Rio

Sampling artisan beer (IPA)

Sampling artisan beer (IPA)

Sampling artisan beer (IPA) - tasty!

Sampling artisan beer (IPA) - tasty!


Barreado lunch at Casa do Rio - preparing the plate

Barreado lunch at Casa do Rio - preparing the plate


Barreado mix upside down over Lindsey's head !!

Barreado mix upside down over Lindsey's head !!

Barreado lunch at Casa do Rio

Barreado lunch at Casa do Rio

The following day the sun was shining (of course, we were leaving!) and we arranged a taxi to pick us up at midday from the pousada. Having dropped our rucksacks off at the station as planned, we had a couple of hours free before we needed to return to board the train. To liven things up, there was a jazz festival taking place that weekend (the Nhundiaquara Jazz Festival - named after the river flowing through the town). The town was really busy, particularly close to the river, where 2 stages had appeared, and rows of colourful stalls (mainly selling food) were setting up. Plus there were a number of stands and vans selling a choice of artisanal beers at reasonable prices. (Artisanal beers are quite common and popular in Brazil these days but are often more than double the price of a regular beer!) Unfortunately the festival was not due to start until 1500 (just as our train was leaving Morretes) but we were lucky to see a couple of numbers from one of the bands on the smaller 'bandstand' - shame we weren't staying a few hours longer!

Nhundiaquara Jazz Festival preparation

Nhundiaquara Jazz Festival preparation

Nhundiaquara Jazz Festival preparation

Nhundiaquara Jazz Festival preparation

Nhundiaquara Jazz Festival preparation

Nhundiaquara Jazz Festival preparation

Nhundiaquara Jazz Festival preparation

Nhundiaquara Jazz Festival preparation

Nhundiaquara Jazz Festival preparation

Nhundiaquara Jazz Festival

Nhundiaquara Jazz Festival

Posted by Lindseyalan73 15:23 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Ilha do Mel (15-18/10/2018)


View South America 2018 on Lindseyalan73's travel map.

Curitiiba to the coast and back

Curitiiba to the coast and back

After a couple of nights in Curitiba we headed down to the coast to the beautiful small island of Ilha do Mel for three nights, afterwards will be going back up to the small town of Morretes for a couple of nights before taking the train(!) from there back to Curitiba.

ILHA DO MEL - DAY 1

Curitiba to Ilha do Mel in the rain!

Raining when we woke up, raining when we caught a taxi to the bus station, raining heavily all the two hour journey to Pontal do Sul - the embarcation point for Ilha do Mel - and still raining during the half hour boat ride to Brasilia - the village we stayed in on Ilha do Mel.

Typical view from bus window on Curitiba to Ilha do Mel embarcation point - weather inclement!

Typical view from bus window on Curitiba to Ilha do Mel embarcation point - weather inclement!

Pontal do Sul Embarcation for Ilha do Mel

Pontal do Sul Embarcation for Ilha do Mel

Pontal do Sul Embarcation for Ilha do Mel

Pontal do Sul Embarcation for Ilha do Mel

Pontal do Sul to Nova Brasilia boat

Pontal do Sul to Nova Brasilia boat

Pontal do sul

Pontal do sul

Ilha do Mel map

Ilha do Mel map

There are two main settlements on Ilha do Mel - Brasilia in the north and Encandantes in the south. Just 2000 people live on the island and there are no cars. There are well marked trails around the island which are lovely to walk along plus beautiful stretches of beach, particularly along the wild eastern Altantic facing coast.

Pousada Fava do Mel

About ten minutes walk from the embarcation pier along a sandy track through the village to our pousada - fortunately nearly stopped raining. Pousada Fava do Mel was mostly good! Interestingly decorated (if small) mainly wooden rooms but unfortunately zero sound insulation! - we had an extremely inconsiderate Brazilian couple next to us (and her voice in particular was high pitched, loud and piercing). Otherwise, the main guy running the place was friendly, very helpful and spoke English, plus the food was very good, so we ate there each of the three nights (as well as having the 'included' breakfast).

Pousada Fava do Mel

Pousada Fava do Mel

Pousada Fava do Mel - our room

Pousada Fava do Mel - our room

Pousada Fava do Mel - our room

Pousada Fava do Mel - our room

Pousada Fava do Mel - dining area

Pousada Fava do Mel - dining area

Pousada Fava do Mrl - breakfast time

Pousada Fava do Mrl - breakfast time

Brasilia

Basilia seemed the best base to stay - there is more to do in the north than the south, and thats where we found our pousada.

Brasilia embarkment area

Brasilia embarkment area

Embarcation point and beach Brasilia

Embarcation point and beach Brasilia

Embarcation pier at Brasilia

Embarcation pier at Brasilia


Main street in Brasilia!

Main street in Brasilia!

Brasilia Mercado

Brasilia Mercado

Brasilia Post Office

Brasilia Post Office

We were installed in our room by about 15h00 so decided we should have a walk ... so put on our rain ponchos and headed for the Farol das Conchas lighthouse. Great view from the top of the hill by the lighthouse, after clambering up the steps. Then it started to rain more heavily again ...

Farol das Conchas

Farol das Conchas

Playa de Fora from Farol das Conchas

Playa de Fora from Farol das Conchas

Steps to Farol das Conchas in deteriorating weather!

Steps to Farol das Conchas in deteriorating weather!

ILHA DO MEL - DAY 2

Encandantes and the southern part of the island

The next day was very overcast but ok after breakfast, so we took the small boat down to Encandantes in the south, and then took the trail from there to the Gruta de Encandantes Cave before walking the length of the immense Praia da Boia beach nearby, returning to Encandantes by a different trail. Whilst we waited for a return boat in the early afternoon the weather closed in again so that was it for the day!

Brasilia to Encandantes trip

Brasilia to Encandantes trip

Small boat for Brasilia to Encandantes trip

Small boat for Brasilia to Encandantes trip

Encandantes - near the embarcation point

Encandantes - near the embarcation point

Encandantes - near the embarcation point

Encandantes - near the embarcation point

Encandantes - near the embarcation point

Encandantes - near the embarcation point

Encandantes - around the village - have seen these busts on window-sills throughout Brazil

Encandantes - around the village - have seen these busts on window-sills throughout Brazil

Encandantes - around the village

Encandantes - around the village

Encandantes - church

Encandantes - church

Encandantes - church

Encandantes - church

Gruta de Encandantes Cave

Gruta de Encandantes Cave

Near Gruta de Encandantes

Near Gruta de Encandantes

Gruta de Encandantes

Gruta de Encandantes

Gruta de Encandantes

Gruta de Encandantes


Near Gruta de Encandantes

Near Gruta de Encandantes

Path to Praia do Boia

Path to Praia do Boia

Southern Lapwing at Praia do Boia

Southern Lapwing at Praia do Boia

Southern Lapwing at Praia do Boia

Southern Lapwing at Praia do Boia

Praia do Boia

Praia do Boia

Taking photos of birds at Praia do Boia

Taking photos of birds at Praia do Boia

Caracara at Praia do Boia

Caracara at Praia do Boia

Caracara and Southern Plover at Praia do Fora

Caracara and Southern Plover at Praia do Fora


Praia do Boia

Praia do Boia

Leaving Encandantes in deteriorating weather!

Leaving Encandantes in deteriorating weather!

Leaving Encandantes in deteriorating weather!

Leaving Encandantes in deteriorating weather!

ILHA DO MEL - DAY 3

North to Fortaleza Fort and back

Our last day was forecast to be better! In the morning we headed north for the 4km walk each way along the beach to the Fortaleza fort. About half way along we were surprised by two large iguanas which came running out towards us onto the beach at a pace! One was chasing the other and appeared to have bitten quite a large chunk out of the other's tail (when we looked at the photos! - so have excluded photo with/out tail!). The sun actually came out towards the end of our walk.
Fortaleza Beach

Fortaleza Beach

Fortaleza Beach

Fortaleza Beach

Iguana on Fortaleza beach after being chased there by other larger Iguana. (We had other photos but this one appeared to have had his tail damaged during the incident - so have spared him the embarassment of showing photos with his diminished tail!)

Iguana on Fortaleza beach after being chased there by other larger Iguana. (We had other photos but this one appeared to have had his tail damaged during the incident - so have spared him the embarassment of showing photos with his diminished tail!)

Fortaleza Fort

Fortaleza Fort

Fortaleza Beach

Fortaleza Beach

Fortaleza Beach - if only the sun was shining !

Fortaleza Beach - if only the sun was shining !

Fortaleza Beach - it is now ! - well almost !

Fortaleza Beach - it is now ! - well almost !

Fortaleza beach

Fortaleza beach

From Fortaleza beach to Farol das Conchas

From Fortaleza beach to Farol das Conchas

Wonderful circuit from Brasilia to Praia do Belo to Praia Grande to Farol das Conchas to Brasilia

In the afternoon we took the trail which heads south of Brasilia passing through amazing woody vegetation (in the Parque Estadual) and then crosses to the east and, with the sound of the crashing waves getting louder and louder, emerges at the beautiful Praia Grande (surfing beach). Heading north, we had a further opportunity to clamber up the steps to the Farol das Conchas lighthouse where I had the camera to take some shots of the Frigatebirds soaring by.

Vegetation on Brasilia to Praia Grande trail

Vegetation on Brasilia to Praia Grande trail

Vegetation on Brasilia to Praia Grande trail

Vegetation on Brasilia to Praia Grande trail


Trail from Brasilia to Praia Grande

Trail from Brasilia to Praia Grande

Vegetation on Brasilia to Praia Grande trail

Vegetation on Brasilia to Praia Grande trail

Vegetation on Brasilia to Praia Grande trail

Vegetation on Brasilia to Praia Grande trail

Vegetation on Brasilia to Praia Grande trail

Vegetation on Brasilia to Praia Grande trail


Trail from Brasilia to Praia Grande

Trail from Brasilia to Praia Grande

Vegetation on Brasilia to Praia Grande trail

Vegetation on Brasilia to Praia Grande trail


Butterfly on Brasilia to Praia Grande trail

Butterfly on Brasilia to Praia Grande trail

Butterfly on Brasilia to Praia Grande trail

Butterfly on Brasilia to Praia Grande trail

Crimson Crested Woodpeckers on adjacent trees (honestly!) near Brasilia to Praia Grande trail

Crimson Crested Woodpeckers on adjacent trees (honestly!) near Brasilia to Praia Grande trail

Praia Grande

Praia Grande

Praia Grande

Praia Grande

Praia Grande

Praia Grande

Praia Grande

Praia Grande

Surfer at Praia Grande

Surfer at Praia Grande

Leaving Praia Grande

Leaving Praia Grande

Steps up to Farol das Conchas

Steps up to Farol das Conchas

View from Farol das Conchas lighthouse

View from Farol das Conchas lighthouse

Farol das Conchas

Farol das Conchas

Playa de Fora from Farol das Conchas

Playa de Fora from Farol das Conchas


Farol das Chonchas and Frigatebird

Farol das Chonchas and Frigatebird

Farol de Conchas - taking photos of Frigatebirds

Farol de Conchas - taking photos of Frigatebirds

Frigatebird at Farol das Chonchas

Frigatebird at Farol das Chonchas

Magnificent Frigatebird at Farol das Chonchas

Magnificent Frigatebird at Farol das Chonchas

From Farol das Conchas towards Brasilia

From Farol das Conchas towards Brasilia

Birdlife in Brasilia

We saw so many beautiful birds with striking colours! There are two bird-feeding tables close to the building by the embarcation pier where fruit encourages lots of birds (see below), and we also practically bumped into a spectacular Crimson Crested Woodpecker (which did not worry about us being less than a couple of metres from it) while walking along the trail near our Pousada.

Crimson Crested Woodpecker less than 2 metres away from us and not bothered at all !

Crimson Crested Woodpecker less than 2 metres away from us and not bothered at all !

Colourful birds at bird feeding table near embarcation pier at Brasilia

Colourful birds at bird feeding table near embarcation pier at Brasilia

Brazilian Tanager near bird feeding table near embarcation pier at Brasilia

Brazilian Tanager near bird feeding table near embarcation pier at Brasilia

Colourful bird near bird feeding table near embarcation pier at Brasilia

Colourful bird near bird feeding table near embarcation pier at Brasilia

Colourful bird near bird feeding table near embarcation pier at Brasilia

Colourful bird near bird feeding table near embarcation pier at Brasilia

Brazilian Tanager enjoying fruit

Brazilian Tanager enjoying fruit

Colourful bird

Colourful bird

Multicoloured  birds at feeder near embarcation quay

Multicoloured birds at feeder near embarcation quay

The sun was shining as we left the following day! However, despite awful weather conditions at times, we did manage to do all the walks we had hoped to do during our time on Ilha do Mel - superb flora and flora and a lovely place to enjoy nature unspoilt.

Posted by Lindseyalan73 03:32 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Curitiba Part 1 (13-15/10/2018)

Min: 13 °C Max: 17 °C!! Cloudy/rain Sunrise: 05h43 Sunset: 18h33

Our flight from Porto Seguro was at 1830. We decided to hang around the hotel complex until it was time to take a taxi for the short ride to the airport. The small airport was very busy and chaotic but we were away on time on our two hour flight to Campinus (Sao Paulo) for our short connecting flight to Curitiba, which arrived on time at 2320! No choice at that hour but to take a taxi for the 18kms ride into town (80 BRLs = about 16 Euros).

Curitiba Centro Historico on a Sunday

Curitiba Centro Historico on a Sunday

Aladdin Hotel was comfortable and about 20 minutes walk from the historic centre. We are just staying 2 nights / 1 day in Curitiba now and then doing the same (at a different hotel as Aladdin is full) a week later, after visiting Ilha do Mel and Morretes, and before heading further south to Florianopolis/Ilha Santa Catherina.

Aladdin Hotel Curitiba - excellent buffet breakfast

Aladdin Hotel Curitiba - excellent buffet breakfast

Aladdin Hotel Curitiba - breakfast

Aladdin Hotel Curitiba - breakfast

Aladdin Hotel Curitiba - view from our bedroom at back of hotel!!

Aladdin Hotel Curitiba - view from our bedroom at back of hotel!!

Although not at all obvious, Curitiba is a big city (more than 1.7 million inhabitants) and apparently prosperous and modern. The centre, apart from an ok Centro Historico, is quite ordinary, graffitied, sky-scrapers, and quite a number of homeless sleeping rough. Most 'attractions' are scattered away from the centre.

After a very good, substantial breakfast in the hotel, our first 'duty' was to walk along to the Rodoferroviaria (bus and train station!) to buy the bus tickets down to the coast the following day, plus the tickets for the classic Serra Verde Express train journey from Morretes back to Curitiba next Saturday. Half of the mission accomplished - we found the train part completely closed (so had to go back again the following day before catching the bus). A couple of features in the town we noted: attractive mosaic pavements, and large podlike glass bus shelters.

Bus shelter pods (a Curitiba speciality)

Bus shelter pods (a Curitiba speciality)

Bus shelter pods (a Curitiba speciality)

Bus shelter pods (a Curitiba speciality)

Bus shelter pods (a Curitiba speciality)

Bus shelter pods (a Curitiba speciality)

We next walked in towards the Centro Historico - everywhere was closed and pretty well deserted on a Sunday, but we then arrived at the Praca Garibaldi area where there is a very large Sunday craft market, and the whole area was packed with people and stalls. We probably wondered round looking at the stalls, and sampling a fresh sugar cane drink (tasty and very sweet of course) for a couple hours(!) - quite a variety of arts and crafts - of differing quality! - managed to resist (without much dificulty) buying anything!

Cathedral - Centro Historico

Cathedral - Centro Historico

Sunday craft market in Centro Historico

Sunday craft market in Centro Historico

Sunday craft market in Centro Historico

Sunday craft market in Centro Historico

Sunday craft market in Centro Historico

Sunday craft market in Centro Historico

Mosque in Curitiba!

Mosque in Curitiba!

Sunday craft market in Centro Historico - doing the samba to music!

Sunday craft market in Centro Historico - doing the samba to music!

Sunday craft market in Centro Historico - Making fresh sugar cane juice

Sunday craft market in Centro Historico - Making fresh sugar cane juice

Sunday craft market in Centro Historico

Sunday craft market in Centro Historico

Sunday craft market in Centro Historico

Sunday craft market in Centro Historico

Time for a rest and a beer after all the exercise ... we found the famous German style bar, Bar do Alemao, which has several seating areas, including a massive beer hall, and joined the locals for a "chopp" (glass of draft beer). The place was extemely busy and many clients were eating traditional Germanic fare eg bratwurst, massive plates with pork knuckle etc. After our substantial breakfast, we managed to resist!

Bar do Alemao

Bar do Alemao

Bar do Alemao

Bar do Alemao

After a month in the semi-tropical climates of the Pantanal and Bahia, our arrival in Curitiba coincided with a significant change in weather! - from sun, blue skies and temperatures regularly reaching 30 °C, to rain and what felt like 15 °C or below in the afternoon - so we retired back to the hotel! Curitiba is a long way south and 1000 metres above sea level - so cooler weather was expected - but, in addition, a cold/wet patch of weather arrived (as forecast, unfortunately) on Sunday.

Centro - showing mix of buildings and typical mosaic pavings

Centro - showing mix of buildings and typical mosaic pavings

Having asked the hotel reception staff for suggestions for somewhere to eat that evening, we decided to try the Paulista Avenida Pizzeria - although walkable from the hotel, we took a taxi (as advised to at night). It was an upmarket pizzeria (70 BRLs = about 15€ for a large pizza for two), with very pleasant decor, attentive staff, etc. We couldn't help but notice on arrival that there were very large wine glasses on the tables! ... and that many of the customers were drinking wine (instead of the ubiquitous Brazilian beer).. The last time we had had any wine was exactly one month previously on the flight from Lisbon to Brasilia! The half bottle of Chilean Merlot (60BRLs) we ordered with our delicious pizza was a delight! (It was our third Brazilian pizza on this trip, and all three have been good - they are happy to split a pizza 50/50 between different flavourings - which we greatly appreciate). Very enjoyable evening if on the expensive side by our usual standards whilst travelling in Brazil!

Paulista Avenida Pizzeria - savouring the Merlot! - our first drop of wine for a month!

Paulista Avenida Pizzeria - savouring the Merlot! - our first drop of wine for a month!

Paulista Avenida Pizzeria - savouring the Merlot!

Paulista Avenida Pizzeria - savouring the Merlot!

Posted by Lindseyalan73 14:57 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Porto Seguro (10-13/10/2018)

Min: 22 °C Max: 29 °C Sunrise: 05h08 Sunset: 17h36

It was a long time on the bus from Itacare to Porto Seguro (0700 - 1600) but comfortable and the scenery interesting and varied - passing through cocoa plantations and ranch country. Fortunately, on arrival, our hotel was only 5 minutes walk from the rodoviaria (bus station).

Itacare to Porto Seguro scenery - Cocao plantation

Itacare to Porto Seguro scenery - Cocao plantation

Itacare to Porto Seguro scenery - Cocao plantation

Itacare to Porto Seguro scenery - Cocao plantation

Itacare to Porto Seguro scenery

Itacare to Porto Seguro scenery

Itacare to Porto Seguro scenery

Itacare to Porto Seguro scenery

Itacare to Porto Seguro scenery

Itacare to Porto Seguro scenery

Hotel Solar do Imperador was quite different from anywhere we had stayed so far on this trip (and generally for that matter), being a large hotel in a large complex with gardens, pool, animations(!)... After the minute room in Itacare, this was just the opposite - with four poster bed, patio looking out onto verdant foliage and the pool area. We probably had one of the best rooms - only drawback was that it was close to the pool where the 'animations' took place - and they were loud to incredibly loud! (It was a bank holiday weekend and the hotel was full 2 of the 3 nights we stayed there).

Hotel Solar da Imperador

Hotel Solar da Imperador

Hotel Solar da Imperador

Hotel Solar da Imperador

Hotel Solar da Imperador

Hotel Solar da Imperador


Hotel Solar do Imperador

Hotel Solar do Imperador

Hotel Solar do Imperador

Hotel Solar do Imperador

Hotel Solar da Imperador

Hotel Solar da Imperador

Hotel Solar da Imperador - by our patio - see the cocoa fruit at the back?

Hotel Solar da Imperador - by our patio - see the cocoa fruit at the back?

Hotel Solar da Imperador - by our patio

Hotel Solar da Imperador - by our patio

The hotel was set on an escarpment above Porto Seguro town, with an impressive view over the town to the sea from the pool/open restaurant area where breakfast was served. It was good to see that the whole town was low level (nothing over two storey).

Porto Seguro from our hotel pool area

Porto Seguro from our hotel pool area

Porto Seguro from our hotel pool area

Porto Seguro from our hotel pool area

Once showered and settled into our room, we walked the 20 minutes down to town for the evening. The main drag is the road along the sea front, which at the time we arrived, early evening, was just rows of tacky souvenir/food stalls, numerous restaurants touting for business and, finally, the Passerela do alcool!!! Yes, loads of stalls selling cocktails (mostly cachaca and vodka based). We finished the evening off with a caipirinha each, but the local speciality was a Caipeta (vodka, chocolate, condensed milk and ice was the traditional mix) - tried one between us on the last night - interesting (according to Alan) or disgusting (according to Lindsey!)! As dark and late(ish), took taxi back to hotel (as advised!)

Bobo de Camarao (Prawn dish)

Bobo de Camarao (Prawn dish)

Passarela do alcool!

Passarela do alcool!

Passarela do alcool!

Passarela do alcool!

Passarela do alcool! - with caipirinha

Passarela do alcool! - with caipirinha

The following morning, we first walked to the "historic centre", also on the escarpment above town. Porto Seguro was where the Portuguese first landed in Brazil in 1501 and the initial settlement was here. Quite a pleasant and relaxed area to walk around with whitewashed churches, and brightly painted single-storey houses, with good views over the town and extensive stretch of beach.

Centro historico

Centro historico

Centro historico

Centro historico

Centro historico

Centro historico

Centro historico

Centro historico

Centro historico

Centro historico

Centro historico - view up coast

Centro historico - view up coast

Centro historico - view up coast

Centro historico - view up coast

Then, we took the steps down into the town and along the front by the sea. No beach - the water came right up to the wall. It was amazing to see the area empty of all the stalls of the night before and nearly all the restaurants closed up. Really very pretty with its brightly-painted shops and houses. At the far end is the river and the port area where the ferries depart.

Porto Seguro - around town

Porto Seguro - around town

Porto Seguro - around town

Porto Seguro - around town

Porto Seguro - around town

Porto Seguro - around town

Porto Seguro - sea front

Porto Seguro - sea front

Porto Seguro - ferry

Porto Seguro - ferry

Porto Seguro - around town - most washing machines in Brazil are top loading ... and plastic!

Porto Seguro - around town - most washing machines in Brazil are top loading ... and plastic!

North of the town there is a long, continuous stretch of beach (turquoise sea and soft, pale sand). Early afternoon we caught a bus which headed up the coast, and got off eventually after about 15 kms at a beach area called Muta beach. The whole coast there is protected by reefs offshore and is calm for swimming, and so very popular. In fact, across the other side of the road from the sea there are practically continuous resort complexes. The beach itself is backed by vegetation and palm trees, with large baracas/beach restaurants every couple of hundred metres or so. It would not be our choice for a holiday but was extremely busy with Brazilian tourists.

Muta Beach

Muta Beach

Muta Beach

Muta Beach

The next day we decided to head south, catching the car/passenger ferry over the river, picking up a slow, antiquated and practically empty bus for the 45 kms down to the small resort of Trancosa, with its very picturesque Quadrado Historico (a large, open, grassed area lined on either side by brightly painted single-storey houses, now mainly restaurants, nestling in the shade of big, old trees) set on a hill a couple of kilometres back from the ocean. Then, for the return, we found that there are mini-vans as an alternative means of transport (which can seat about 13 plus a few standing) which do the same route for the same price (more frequently and more rapidly than the buses and hence used by the locals). We stopped off at Arraial d'Ajuda, another pretty village with colourful houses/shops, which looked a very pleasant and relaxed place to stay, again set back, and up, from the ocean as in Trancoso. Finally took another mini-van to the ferry terminal, ferry and then a bus back to the hotel. Quite a trip!

Ferry - Coconut seller

Ferry - Coconut seller

Ferry

Ferry

Ferry

Ferry

Ferry

Ferry

Trancoso

Trancoso

Trancoso

Trancoso

Trancoso

Trancoso

Trancoso

Trancoso

Trancoso

Trancoso

Trancoso

Trancoso

Trancoso

Trancoso

Trancoso

Trancoso

Trancoso

Trancoso

Trancoso

Trancoso

Arraial d'Ajuda

Arraial d'Ajuda

Arraial d'Ajuda

Arraial d'Ajuda

Arraial d'Ajuda

Arraial d'Ajuda

Posted by Lindseyalan73 13:49 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

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