Vern: In the morning, we walked around the gardens of the last emperor Don Pedro the Second's palace (no obvious link to the boozy coffee) but didn't go in because the museum didn't take bank cards, so we crossed the road to the Yellow Palace (the town hall) where a bilingual young clerk gave us a free tour on the condition that we signed the guestbook. We learnt you can paint concrete to look like oak or marble and that one seemingly must have a moustache to be chairman of the town council. My backpacker facial hair almost connects beneath my nose, but the application forms were in Portuguese.
Two buses, two hours and a muddy walk up to the Parque Nacional de Serra dos Orgaos and we convinced the ticket office to let us in for citizens' rates (because foreigners rates were R$22 - a lot more than the "old price" of R$3 that the Informacion Touristico had quoted us in town). According to us, we have been living in Rio for several months learning Portuguese. Next time we go we promised, in English, to take some proof of address.
We entered the jungle in our ponchos, ready for what the rainforest had to throw at us. We walked to two pools where the rapids had calmed down and decided to go for an impromptu swim--for which we weren't fully prepared. After we got out from the incredibly refreshing dip, the drizzling that is the norm in Petropolis had turned into a full on rainforest shower and the fact that we had no towels to dry off was completely moot at this point. But our clothes and shoes were getting properly wet so we scrambled to get dressed in the driest way possible and hit the road back to the entrance of the park. The path back was doubling as a drainpipe at this point and we were trying our hardest not to slip in the torrents rushing passed our feet. A hop, swing and a thump later and we'd made it back to the entrance gatehouse where we noticed in the guestbook that the only other adventurers in the park that day, arrived after us and walked to the same pools as us before leaving a little while later. They must have had quite an eyeful!