Wednesday 18 March 2009 - Saturday 4 April 2009 28 °C
With only 2 ½ weeks left of my journey and a tropical coastline to explore it was into holiday mode!
I left Sao Paulo after two nights as there isn’t much to see there and it isn’t the safest city! I got the bus up the coast to the small colonial town of Paraty. Spent a couple of days there, tripping up and down the very uneven cobbled streets, admiring the many churches and avoiding the horse drawn carriages. A few months earlier the whole town had flooded and they were still having water supply issues which resulted in very quick (and usually cold!) showers!
On the advice of a traveller I met in Sao Paulo I headed for the village of Trindade, a 40 min bus (rollercoaster!) ride from Paraty. With the bus madly swerving up, up, up as high as we could go and then plunging down, down, down towards the coast we arrived, slightly shaken, in the quiet streets of Trindade. The hostel was gorgeous, wooden cabins nestled in the green shady jungle, absolute silence except for the toucans chattering high in the trees. Close by there were three lovely beaches to choose from, golden sands, clear waters, all backed by lush jungle. The perfect place to relax, read, even eat home-made upside down pineapple cake for breakfast!!
After a week it was time for another white knuckle ride over the mountains back to Paraty to catch the bus to Rio de Janeiro, my last stop!
Spent a few days wandering around the beach neighborhoods of Copacabana and Ipanema, marvelling at the brevity of the Brazilian swimwear- both womens- and mens! Unfortunately the weather took a turn for the worse and after the weekend it got a bit rainy. Rio isn’t the best city to be in when the weather is bad as most activities involve the beach! I was waiting with my fingers crossed for a clear day to head up to the Christ the Redeemer statue (some people get up there, are enveloped in cloud and can’t see a thing!) Thursday morning I looked out the window, saw a patch of blue and decided to go for it. As the train climbed Corcovado (the Hunchback) it started to ascend into the mist…oh dear, not looking good! I needn’t have worried as at the summit the clouds were drifting by, nice and high, giving a perfect view of the statue and of the city spread out below. The sandy stretches of Ipanema and Copacabana, the deep blue Lagoa, the white apartment buildings punctuated by the oval Jockey Club to the right and the Maracana Football Stadium to the left. The statue itself wasn’t actually as big as I thought it would be, but at 120ft, it’s still pretty impressive! The simple, clean lines are easy to appreciate and irresistibly photogenic, making you want to snap away from every angle- which I did, of course!
I spent today relaxing at the nearby Flamengo beach which is overlooked by the stunning Sugarloaf mountain, very glad that the sun has made an appearance for my last few days!
Well these are my final dispatches from the road, tomorrow all I have to do is finish packing and head for the airport!
Trying to find words to sum up the past year is proving impossible other than to say it’s been a truly unforgettable experience, one that hasn’t even begun to sink in yet! I hope everyone has enjoyed reading about what I’ve been up to and thank you for keeping my updated with news from home along the way! See you all when I get back, I can’t wait to catch up. Now….....who wants to see all 10,357 photos????!!