A Travellerspoint blog

Paraty - Day 6

Beaches, a Natural Pool and steak

28 °C

As it is our last day by the coast for a while we wanted to go to the beach, even though it was overcast. The hostel owner, Alan, told us we could catch the bus for £1 each to Trindade, where there are four beaches to choose from and also a natural pool to visit.

The journey was mainly fine but as we got closer to our destination the roads were so steep, the bus had to go very slowly. It took 40 minutes to get there in total (a long time for a 9 mile trip). We got off at the stop for Praia do Meio beach, which was nice but it was the landscape around the beach that was better - big rocks in the sea, mountains and lush green forests.

Alan had told us there was a short nature walk to get to the natural swimming pool so we headed straight across Praia do Meio to get started.

It turned out it was 1200 metres 'walk' up, down and across the side of the hill in between the trees and over rocks, with a beach in between it! There were natural and man made steps, which were quite large for someone like me(!), and the rain we'd had the day before meant the pathways were slippy and muddy. A lady in the Brazilian couple walking ahead of us, who was at least twice my age, kept trying to help me, holding my arm down the steps!

The first stretch was the hardest, which led us on to Praia do Caixadaco, a long white beach with big waves and a nice place to stop for something to eat.

After cheese, tomato and herb pastels - we need to stop with all the fried snacks!! - and a cold drink, we walked the length of the beach to the start of the next trail, which started with slippy rocks on the beach with the sea lapping around it.

Twice the length but much easier on the thighs, the path took us into the natural pool. I'd never seen anything like it - with large, smooth, perfectly placed rocks around the mountain, it almost looked man made. The water was cool and clear, with large stripy fish swimming all around, so Andrew swam and I sat on top of one of the big rocks and watched.
IMG_0420.jpgIMG_0435.jpgIMG_0423.jpgIMG_0429.jpgIMG_0426.jpg IMG_0434.jpgIMG_0433.jpgIMG_0432.jpg

We noticed you could get a boat to and from the pool once we'd got up there, but the exercise was good for us and saved us money, so we went back the 1200 metres, had a swim in the sea and ran for the 4pm bus back to the hostel!

Andrew's flip flops had made quite a mess of his feet, mainly because they've been wet constantly from the rain, so after asking Alan (a very tall man) where he got his Havaianas from, we went back to the supermarket and found size 12-13 flip flops for only £5! We also picked up rump steak (only £3 for two big steaks - take a look below!) jacket potatoes and corn on the cob for dinner and some fruit and crisps for tomorrow's bus journey to São Paulo.

There are more English people at the hostel tonight. We started chatting to a guy and two girls - Simon, Olivia and Amy, and it turned out that Amy's boyfriend lives in Crouch End! Such a small world. We spent the rest of the night talking about their trip (especially an optional hike that Amy had taken), ours and other random things including Hooch, the Samiad and comas?!

Posted by staceywaugh 04:17 Archived in Brazil Comments (2)

Paraty - Day 5

Old town exploration and samba

25 °C

Despite the lack of many things at Adventure Hostel, the breakfast was brilliant. Many varieties of bread, cheese, ham, tomatoes, chocolate spread, toffee spread, melon, papaya, mango, fruit smoothies, cake that I think contained condensed milk, and lots more that I can't remember. We filled up and headed out in our mac in a sac's and with our umbrellas to explore the town.

During the morning it was foggy, which made it difficult to see landscape but the old buildings and cobbled streets were amazing. The boats were as brightly coloured as the doors and windows of the houses, and there were lots of horse and carts going up and down the cobbled streets...one Brazilian man leant out of the cart for his picture to be taken and said 'tag me on Facebook'

It continued to rain as we checked into our new hostel, Bossa Nova Hostel. Getting from Adventure Hostel to here was our first real walk with our backpacks and we soon realised we didn't have the straps fitted properly. 10 minutes in we were moaning about our back, neck and shoulders hurting! This was first priority to sort out when we got to the next place.

This hostel is much nicer than Adventure, the set up was almost like chalet style in that your room door was also the outside door, and felt very safe set behind a big gate and had chairs and tables for us to sit outside. The kitchen seemed well equipped and clean, which meant we were able to cook for the first time. The owner Alan was really helpful and told us there was a month of festivities happening and tonight there would be a traditional Brazilian band playing followed by a band practising for Carnival.

The rain stopped and we could see the mountains that had been covered in fog since we arrived so we went to the bus station to buy tickets for our journey to São Paulo, before going for another walk around the town. A nice Brazilian man helped us when the ticket office didn't understand us, but Andrew wasn't happy when we were told the 9.40am was full and we'd have to get the 1.40pm instead, as he said he could see on the screen that the earlier bus wasn't full. But what could we do, we can barely speak a few words, never mind argue in Portuguese?!

We grabbed salgados for lunch again and headed for another walk around the town. The tide had come in so we were able to pass through some of the streets and had to walk over a makeshift 'bridge'. The water on the cobbled streets allowed us to get some really nice pictures though.

With all the rain, we thought it best to get some spare flip flops, especially as Havaianas are so cheap out here. I got some pearly pink colour flip flops for £7 but unfortunately they only went up to USA 12 (UK 11) so Andrew couldn't get any!

There's a large supermarket a minute away from the hostel so we bought items for a pasta on our way back from town. We wanted chicken so I used my best, phrase book-learnt, Portuguese to order two chicken breasts - he understood! The only problem was the chicken was frozen so we settled on sausage, even though we didn't have a clue what was in it. Turns out it was a hell of a lot of fat and I'm pretty sure, through a rough translation later on, that the main meat in there was tongue!

After dinner we went to the town to see the festival. There was a lot of music and singing as we approached the square, but it didn't sound like what I expected at all. As we passed the church we saw people piling out and realised mass must have just ended so went in to have a quick look.

The square was busy and had stalls selling drinks, crepes, popcorn and churros, so we had a chocolate filled churro each and began to watch the band on stage. There were quite a few of them, the lead singer played an accordion, the female singer had a triangle, there was a guy with a drum, another with a guitar and couple more in the background. The music was a folk style, with a couple of main rhythms, and the definitely got the crowd going.

Soon the square was filling up with people, albeit it so much less than in Lapa(!), and it had a completely different feel to it - it was a family occasion with everyone from one to seventy years old, and there was real dancing. A young woman and an older woman were doing the tango (it seemed to me?!), and they were incredible! Other couples, young and older, we're dancing in a similar style and it was amazing to see - I could have watched all night.

I hadn't had a caipirinha yet so we went to a stall to get one and paid £3 for two cups. Andrew took a sip and his face was a picture - his description of it was that it taste like "lighter fluid". I thought it was fine, reminding me of the Barcelona trip touch PR made a few years ago, and drank both :) Luckily this was my only alcoholic drink of the evening!

Back to the stage, and after a small power outage, more folk band music and Brazilian people dancing (cue Andrew saying "I wanna' dance my own steps...it's the Pan Pacific Grand Prix", thanks to Strictly Ballroom), there was a brief few minutes of silence before an almighty sound came almost from nowhere. Then in front of the stage walked a 50 piece samba band and the sound was like nothing I'd heard before.

It was so loud but beautiful and precise, and the crowd went crazy for it! It gave a small, old, sleepy little town a fun, party atmosphere but one that was steeped in tradition - you could feel the pride of the town. Its hard so to describe how it felt to be in the crowd watching them. The conductor or director of the band was unbelievable, keeping all the sections in time with a hand or arm movement. Most of the music was traditional but then on stage came two guitarists, one accoustic, and together with the band they played Linkin Park's Numb?!

This was my favourite night of the trip so far! And I think it will take a lot to beat it :)

Posted by staceywaugh 12:02 Archived in Brazil Comments (2)

My random thoughts so far, by Andrew Waugh aged 29

This is my first posting on our blog and I thought I would write about a few random things.

Things break

When I was researching what to pack a few people had said duct tape. I thought this was a little odd but decided to bring some just in case and I am glad I did. When we changed buses to get to Paraty I has handed my bag with one of the waist straps almost fully ripped off. It went in fine but came out a right mess. I had read that although backpacks are great the straps can get caught on stuff, I think I was a victim of this. A tube of superglue (bought in Rio for another reason, I will come onto this) and a fair bit of duct tape later, I now have a functioning bag again. How long this will last for, I don't know, as there seems to be a few other places ripping that I don't think are duct tape-able.


Stacey sandals broke on her first wear, Stacey thinks I stood on the back of them, I don't think I did but with my poor spacial awareness and general clumsiness it's a high possibility that I am to blame. I bought some superglue to fix them and was really chuffed with the result until stacey tried them on and I had glued the fastener to the base and not correct bit. Oops! Some hacking with a knife later this was sorted and they're as good as new...if you don't look to close.

Things I have noticed so far:

Brazilians love to pose for photos. For me, a picture in front of something is arms by my side, look straight forward and smile. If I am feeling extravagant, I will put a foot up on to a low wall - this is a move my Dad mastered over the years. Here there is pouting, hair flicking, full on poses, it wouldn't shock me if someone busted out a vogue.


Italian food is popular. Every other restaurant seems to be an Italian. Mainly pizza places but there is a fair few doing pasta. Tempted to move here and open an Indian, think it would do well.

There is a perk to not speaking Portuguese, chuggers don't even approach you. I walked past 6 UNICEF chuggers and not even one of them tried to stop me, I obviously look very foreign.

Posted by andrewwaugh 15:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (2)

Rio to Paraty - Day 4


25 °C

Luckily we were packed and ready to go when the transfer bus picked us up 45 minutes early! The driver put on some classic 80s and popular 90s music videos; 4 Non Blondes, Carly Simon, Natalie Imbruglia, Britney Spears - Andrew was in his element. Off we went to pick up the other passengers and at one hostel on an extremely steep hill, the driver put on his handbrake and shouted 'no bouncing, no problem'!

It took an hour to pick the other 9 travellers up so we set off in earnest around 12 noon. The driver put on a movie for us - Hangover 2! - it's almost like he knew I was onboard ;) Apart from the low volume on it, it passed the time pretty quickly and not long after it finished we arrived at our first stop - Mangaratiba. This is where some people were getting the ferry to Ilha Grande and we had to get off and change minibuses. This was also where Andrew discovered the waist strap on his backpack had almost been torn completely off! I will let him tell you this story in another blog, but needless to say I wasn't able to get any pictures during the melee.

Off on another bus with two English women, one a midwife in London, an American couple and six Australians, four of whom couldn't remember the name of their hostel, the rain began to pour down. It was biblical (leading me and Andrew to whisper "In the biblical sense..." from Talledega Nights every few minutes since!), I'm sure the driver could barely see a thing, and rain was running in waterfalls down the hills into the road. Good job they seem to have great drainage!
Our view for half the journey!:

After a seven hour journey we arrived at our next hostel, Adventure Hostel, which was much more bohemian than the previous place! The building looked tiny from the outside, painted orange, and inside, through a gate and tiny alley way, there was no real reception so we made our way in.

This was our first night with a shared bathroom and I knew as soon as I saw it I wouldn't be showering in it...I imagine my tolerance for dirt will get better as time goes on. The room was fine on first glance but there was no AC only a fan, we found the window was broken and covered with cardboard, no curtains, the plug sockets didn't work and although clean the sheets had some marks :( Not ideal but it was only for one night...
IMG_0288.jpg IMG_0286.jpg

So we unpacked and headed out for dinner and drinks...in the rain. Sheltering under our umbrellas we tried to find a budget place to eat, but in the end we were soaked and just jumped in a reasonable looking restaurant called Caramujo. We decided on bife grehaldo, arroz, feijoa e fritas - steak, rice, beans (not the baked variety!) and fries to you and me - as weren't sure what some of the dishes were. The party across from us had a stuffed chicken dish with what looked like tomato rice - we wished we'd had that! But ours was tasty and after a couple of beers (all of which cost £23) we headed back, discussing how we need to eat less expensively and stop drinking, as that was £6 of it...unless, of course, beer is cheaper than water or juice then it would be rude not to surely?!

Posted by staceywaugh 13:07 Archived in Brazil Comments (2)

Rio de Janeiro - Day 3

Lazy day and Lapa street party

34 °C

I forgot to mention that on the evening of Day 1 we saw a dead, headless, fully feathered chicken in a bowl on the pavement near our hostel. No one around, no houses close...odd?!

Anyway! This morning we had breakfast while uploading our photos to Google drive, looking at bus routes and booking hostels for the rest of trip in Brazil and for our first night in Argentina. A relaxing morning, and I think we started to feel more like 'travellers' as we could help the new English people out with simple thing like buses, taxis and where the nearest cashpoint was. We had lunch at the hostel to save money, Andrew made noodles in the "death trap" kitchen - slight exaggeration, I think he just had a problem lighting the hob!

We decided to spend the afternoon at the beach so off we went to the Metro, asked for two tickets to Ipanema and Andrew opens his empty wallet! Oops. Back to the hostel and luckily it was not lost, just in his other shorts. Back at the Metro we buy tickets, easily get through the barrier, now we knew how, and got on the train. We were feeling quite cocky until we got the next stop and realised we'd gone the wrong way!

When we finally got to the beach and it was unbelievably hot - we hadn't checked the temperature all day but as we were leaving the beach at 6pm it was still 34 degrees. Hiding under an umbrella (from a seller who told us it cost five reais, then later tried to charge us ten - NO! *puts a strong palm out in front of body in a 'fuengirola lift situation' fashion*!), Andrew made friends with a Brazilian man called Rafael, who we talked to for about 2 hours non-stop - in English of course! He wanted to learn from us and he taught us some Portuguese words that I probably can no longer remember and introduced us to his friends Jacquelina and Alex. So far everyone had been so nice to us and made it really easy for us to talk to people and understand everything.

There was a free concert in Lapa that evening with samba music so we thought it would be fun to head there. First we needed a cheap tea (dinner for our southern readers!), so we found a pizza place - there seems to be so many Brazil so far? - and for only £7 we got one big enough to share one. The waiter had no English and I had no Portuguese but together we got there! By pointing and saying Portuguese words I thought were vaguely right :) After the last couple of days, and I know we've said this before, but we do really want to learn another language.

We jumped in a taxi to Lapa as we were told this was the safest route and not very expensive at all. There were taxis, buses and people everywhere. Walking round to where the stage was, we were over 200 metres away from it when we hit a wall of people. It was 11.30pm, still 30 degrees and we were surrounded by tens of thousands of people having a street party. The sellers and stalls were running out of beer and water, the heat from the barbecues was stifling and we could barely hear the music. And I definitely couldn't see what was happening of the stage! People were buying drinks from the shop and ice from sellers, then carrying them in the bag of ice to keep their drinks cool - if we could have got through the crowds to the shop, we would have done that too.

With all that said though, it was a crazy experience and again, definitely worth going to see what it was all about. Andrew said it was like the Morecambe Light and Water show back in the day!! Obviously a lot smaller(!), but the idea is the same, and I can imagine if you were there with a big group of friends you could have stayed all night talking, drinking and dancing...

P.s. sorry for the lack of photos in this blog, we were lazy in the day and didn't want to take it to Lapa for safety!

Posted by staceywaugh 04:43 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

(Entries 71 - 75 of 83) « Page .. 10 11 12 13 14 [15] 16 17 »