Our next stop is Lencois - an old diamond mining town six hours west of Salvador, bus journey felt like it was about ten minutes, we found a new game of Guess the Intro with our ipods. It was baking hot getting off the bus, the pousada (hostel) said they were sending someone to pick us up, but what they meant was someone to guide us back to there... A good twenty minute walk, longest we´ve had to carry the packs so far, nearly fainted!
Pousada was lovely, loads of shady chill-out spots, giant chess boards and Connect 4, very cool! It´s owned by a woman from the UK, who set it up fifteen years ago, she has a photo album of the restoration - massive job! She set up an excursion company too, so we booked a couple of hikes with them. We headed off ourselves that afternoon to do a mini one, to a waterfall about an hour away. It has a natural swimming pool at the bottom, where the locals head to cool off, imagine having that on your doorstep! The water was the colour of tea, our guide told us the next day that it´s because of the iron deposits in it, spotlessly clean, enough to drink it!
We had dinner in the hostel that night, we paid 13 reals, about £4/5e and a massive meal of traditional Brazilian food, so rice, beans, salad and a fish stew dish. We ended up doing that most nights, so nice to come in from an all day hike and know that dinner was sorted and we didn´t even need to go out!
Next day we went on our first hike - we got picked up in a Landrover (rattled the guts out of us) at 8,30am, and then we visited five of the sights in the area, can´t remember all the names but they went like this -
1 - waterfall, about half an hour hike to and from it, including stone hopping across little rivers
2 - Pau de Inacio - one of the highest mountains in the region - incredible views
3 - blue lagoon with protected shells at the bottom
4 - ´the blue pool´- glowing turquoise water with little fish that bit some peeling skin on Jay´s shoulder off, totally freaked him out!
5 - cave dating back 1 billion and 500 million years (or something like that) - beautiful stalgmites and stalactites, and crystal formations in the shape of jellyfish, monsters and other things. We walked right through the cave, which took about half an hour, and halfway through our guide put is in a circle holding hands, and switched off his gas lamp. Total, total silence and darkness, except for the odd of drip of water - incredible experience.
Day three, we went to Formacu waterfall, but rather than see the bottom, we hiked to the very top to see it at its source. First bit was almost hand over hand and very steep over rocks, we didn´t think we´d last the distance (three hours there and two back), but we went onto flat land then and hopped over a few rivers. View at the top was incredible, you have to lie down to see over, just so high up! We had lunch there, the hostel give you a packed lunch of sandwiches, frozen fresh fruit juice that melts over the day, granola, chocolate bars, fruit, nuts - absolutely loads but we really needed it to get through the day! We walked back down then and into the jeep for a ten minute drive to another smaller waterfall nearby for a cool-off swim - felt so good after being in the melting heat all day!! We didn´t back until after dark, knackered but delighted with our activity all day.
We went out on the town that night, i.e had a few beers and a burger in the town square with a South African guy we met - all we were up to after the day! Plan for the next day was to chill in the hostel, which was good as Jay´s belly got pretty bad again, so we changed the overnight bus we´d booked to the next day. The hostel staff were fantastic, offering him various stomach remedies (from coconut water to cinnamon tea), the one that finally did the trick was sipping sugar water every five mins for an hour. They moved us to another room with our bathroom as well. He slept most of the next day, we didn´t know if he´d be up to the trip, but we were able to keep the room right until the last minute, which helped a lot.
Then we got the overnight bus to Salvador, next stop Boipeba island....