So here we are in Petropolis. It is a mountain town about 1.5 hours out of Rio. By all accounts it's a very affluent place. We originally decided to come here so we could do a 3 day hike into the nearby mountains. Unfortunately the guide companies all said they couldn't do it as the weather is too unpredictable at this time of year. They said the rain can get very heavy in the mountains and electric storms are common and dangerous.
On our first day here we had a look around to get our bearings. To be fair we were both knackered from the overnight bus experience. We found the main hub of the town which is actually quite large.
I needed some things from the chemist. No not that get your mind out of the gutter!! I needed some antiseptic cream, some shampoo and shower gel. I'm currently reading a book by Bill Bryson. In it he says (and he is right) that the toughest thing abroad is buying washing stuff. I'm stood in the supermarket looking at plastic bottles. Everyone has a picture of a girl in a field smelling a flower. Question is, is it shower gel, shampoo, washing liquid or toilet cleaner.1,2,3 that one.
Next day I was either smelling of shower gel or those people laughing were saying 'the stupid gringo stinks of toilet cleaner'
All the staff lined up in the chemist to help. 'Anyone speak English' I said more in hope than expectation. 'A little' said one assistant.
I wanted antiseptic cream. Ok how do I do the charade for this? Book, film. Point go ouch and rub the spot. Nope.
Now I don't want to stereotype nor do a Fast Show sketch but.......... Out came the phrase book and the Portuguese is Antiseptico Creama.Big laughs all round.
Finding food in restaurants is proving a little difficult. During the day there are lots of Self service outlets where you buy by the kilo. Yep, they weigh your plate. Nigel T aylor you would be broke lol.
In the evening everything seems to shut. Just a few stand up food outlets selling pasties etc. More later.
First night and it was sleep at 9pm. ZZZZZ until 7.30am. Nice brekkie then we were off to explore the mountains in the National Park.
We had been to the Tourist Info and a nice young chap had given us excellent directions. We went to the bus stop and got on board. 2.5 riel per trip. That's about 1 pound. The bus took us to the local terminus where we changed to one that took us into the mountains for the National Park. We didn't need to pay on this bus.
It was about 45 minutes of bone shaking. The roads were cobbled. Eventually the conductor looked at us and pointed. Time to get off. Could have done with him on the night bus !!
We got off and started walking up a dirt track in the hope of finding the entrance to the park. Luck was with us. It was very rural.
We were met by two nice chaps at the entrance, both spoke English. A basic map and some words about safety, we signed the book with our name and time and headed off into the forest.
It was amazing. Not another soul about. Just fantastic scenery and jungle noises. The track was pretty clear but it still felt like an adventure. We hiked for about two hours up hill. All the way there were noises and rustling in the undergrowth....fab. Lizards appeared then darted away, birds called warnings and the river was roaring in the distance
Onward we went until we found the waterfall. What a great place. We sat on the rocks in the river and ate our meagre lunch and sipped water. We felt like proper explorers.
After sitting and soaking it all in we headed for a rock pool. Another trek through the jungle and then another stunning location. We took our walking boots and socks off that had the wildlife running for cover!! Then Oooooooooo bare feet in a mountain river....sheer bliss.
My camera is in melt down again. So many postcard shots.
We could have sat there all day but had to make our way back down the mountain.
Out of the park we walked down the road and found a little roadside bar. No guns this time just a cold beer.
Half an hour later the bus turned up and we did the reverse journey.
The buses have a turnstile at the front....no pay no ride.
Back at the hotel we scrubbed up and went in search of food.We eventually went into an empty Italian fast food place. We now have a business idea for when we come home.This was like a pasta version of a pizza shop.
We went to the counter told the chef which pasta we wanted. He put that in the hot water. Then we selected 8 different toppings, tuna, prawns, onion etc etc. He then cooked it all in a hot pan.Then off to the condiment table for chilli flakes and spring onions. It was gorgeous.
Now back in the hotel writing with a glass of red.
Today has been stunning. Bumpy bus rides, rural Brazil, hiking, amazing scenery, no crowds, no traffic. This is what we love.