***This blog comes to you from the UK, deep in an underground bunker....yes, i am unto returned hitherto thusly***
Bye bye dirty urban Sao Paolo, hello quaint, historical, picturesque...and a bit dirty in places too, come to think of it...Paraty.
Disembark from the coach and Sharan and i, along with several other travellers - including our sometime stalkers/stalked friends from Sao Paolo....we all have no clue about accomodation or even orientation for our new location - get a map in that book, Lonely Planet!!! Try to negotiate with a taxi driver to take us to a hostel, and he says it's just round the corner...it would cost a tenner...great logic cabbie. If it's just around the corner, why can't you take us there for cheap? As we march away from the bus station, he still hasn't got a fare???
On our way, we are set upon by a very chatty guy who claims to be from the local HI hostel...i was very wary, cos i know we make a good target just now. Turns out he was legit, phew, and we settle in a very pleasant room - the hostel has a pool, a bar, internet, nice location on the river/canal....good stuff. After checking in, Sharan and i relax with some cold beers watching bats swoop for insects over the river...it is all but pitch black up and down, hardly any light pollution. Then we take a stroll to a local restaurant, have some fantastic pizza - the waiter's english was very good too. I felt myself relaxing after being in Sao Paolo, this was a much more laid back place.
We returned to our room, tired from a travelling day....unfortunately the smell of drains was wafting in to our room....checked out the very next day, phew!
As luck would have it, the hostel around the corner as recommended by the Lonely Planet had a room and was reasonably priced. Turned out to be a great decision and we stayed there for the rest of our time in Paraty. The owner didn't speak much english but he was very friendly and the breakfasts we got were feasts....set us up for the morning and the afternoon....Sharan was a little sandwich ninja, secreting the odd roll here and a slice of cake there for later....we were served enough food for 6 every morning...and it was good: fruit, tea, coffee, cake, cheese, bread, biscuits.
Paraty itself was a great place to visit, an old colonial town, neatly preserved with cobbled streets, old town walls and buildings, an old fort to visit up the hill....all in a beachside setting. Nice bars and restaurants, live music, art galleries....a pleasant stop on the way to Rio. Our stay was extended thanks to our proximity to Trindade, a protected coastal area with phenomenal beaches. We even explored over rocks and mountains some of the more secluded options like the natural 'swimming pool'....most sensible people catch a taxi boat here, but the trek was a fun adventure through the jungle. Spent a while here sunning ourselves on the huge rocks. Most of our time we spent on the sandy beaches watching the huge waves crash against the shore. All this a mere 45 minute bus ride from town - marvellous.
Well, we were on a schedule to get to Rio to meet up with our friend Anisha so on the fifth day we hopped a coach to the big city - Copacabana, here we come!