It was a four hour bus journey through some beautiful country to get from Petropolis to Paraty.
Paraty is described as a quaint, picturesque historic town by the sea. We got off the bus knowing that our Pousada (hotel) was only a very short walk away. In keeping with all Brazilian bus stations it is noisy and looks chaotic. We walked out onto the street with our very heavy rucksacks on our backs. Our mate Dave had said "the bigger the rucksack, the more you will take. The more you take the heavier it will be" How right he was.
Anyway first impressions were of a town with shops and dirt and noise. We waddled off down the street and found our hotel. As usual check in was fun. The girl on the desk tried to explain that we should pay half in cash and half by credit card. She asked in Portuguese if we spoke Portuguese. A little Jill said. She then proceeded to talk for about five minutes in Portuguese. Ok, didn't get any of that.
Resort to charades again. Ok now I'm with you. I'm on the phone talking to my boyfriend so I can't take your credit card payment now. 190 million people in the world speak Portuguese. Of those 160 million live in Brazil. 30 million live in Portugal. Why then isn't it called Brazilian? Well while the Brazilians were sitting on beaches and playing footie, the Portuguese were conquering the new world. To the victor go the spoils as they say.
Anyway I digress. The lady showed us to our room.
As usual it is basic but clean. It has a small balcony but no lock on the balcony doors. Trusting I thought.Jill and I invested in a Pacsafe before we left. Basically it is a webbed wire cage which goes all over your ruckie and can be padlocked to something heavy. So we've been locking the ruckies together and then chaining them to an oak table. Good luck moving them.
I checked the fan in the room which didn't work. Down to reception with the fan. The girl plugged it in, knocked it and fiddled with the control......now it works.
Once we got organised the room is actually quite nice. We took a little stroll out and found that the area around the bus station is not typical. As you move towards the sea the town transforms into cobbled streets with quaint little houses and shops. It really is very pretty.
We found a bar on the sea front and had a cold beer. Next day we got up and had brekkie.Everywhere is a B & B. We popped back to the bus station to sort our ticket out to Sao Paolo in a few days time. Then headed off through the cobbled streets. The draw to this place is that it has lots of islands and small beaches scattered around.
We had a lovely walk along two beaches indulging in a cold beer at each.
This evening we decided to try a self serve restaurant. As I've explained before it's a buffet system but you get your food weighed and are charged according to the weight.
We found one that was recommended in Lonely Planet. In we went. It's never easy when you don't understand the system and you can't really ask anyone. We sat down and ordered a drink then plunged in. Up to the buffet.
Unlike most restaurants they give you big plates to encourage you to pile food on. I had a lovely piece of steak while Jill went for chicken, potatoes and green veg. Next it was to the girl who weighed it. She wrote the price on our tab and we went off to eat it.
It was really very nice and worked out, with two beers at around 7 pounds each. Excellent value.
After the meal we headed for the water front and sat for an hour or so watching the sea and sipping beer. I like beer !!!!
Tomorrow we are planning a day on one of the beaches. I'm charging the Kindle and ipod ready for a lazy day.
Ps as I am writing this the town has been plunged into darkness. The only light in the place is my netbook. We have found our head torches and are sipping a glass of red, very romantic !!!
Ok next day now. Power is back. After brekkie it was off to the beach. It's a little overcast but that's what you get when you are surrounded by mountains I guess. As we left the hotel a lady on reception spoke to me in Portuguese. As I had only previously spoken to her about the flush on the room toilet I assumed she was asking me if it was ok now. I gave my best charade of toilet now ok. It seems she was actually asking if I was going out for a walk and hoped i enjoyed it. Oops.
On the walk to the beach we were adopted by two local stray dogs. Wherever we went they followed dutifully along beside us. We called them Colin and Brian. Colin had a liking for chasing cars and cyclists. Fortunately he didn't bite anyone or we may have had trouble proving they weren't our dogs.
They tagged along for a few hours then I think they realised we weren't buying lunch and they slopped off.
We had a relaxing few hours swimming in the sea and reading. We've just spent a bit of time booking onward accommodation. After a night in Sao Paolo we are into the Pantanal for a few days trekking.