I took the bus from Iguaçu to Sao Paulo. The busses, by the way, are ice-cold. I always wear long trousers and a thick vest. Can you believe it? Airco? Why!? Maybe to cover all the funny smells in the bus ;-) I stayed in Sao Paulo for one night and took the bus to Paraty the next day.
Paraty is a small fisherman’s town between Sao Paulo and Rio. It has an historic center, with a cosy atmosphere. It has been said that a lot of writers, actors and chefs settled here after visiting this city and I truly understand why. I simply love this city! It is really inspirational. When you walk the historic centre in the evening you see all these picturesque buildings. The horse and carriage crossing the street in front of you, nice people relaxing in front of the botecos, live samba music coming out of all corners and restaurants, the smell of delicious food all together give you a warmly embrace. I only needed to get used to the paving stones in the historic centre, that kill your ankles hahaha. But that is just a matter of practice.
The day after my arrival I took a bike to the Cachoeira Tobogã which is a waterfall with a natural water slide. Yeah! No kidding! Seriously! A natural water slide! I had to see that one! I was told that there was a small chance that it might rain that day, but was optimistic because the sun was still shining brightly as I rented the bike. But as soon as I started my journey the rain kicked in. It was an 8 km trip, with 3 km of constant steep uphill climbing. I wasn’t going to let a little water change my plans. I threw on my bright, blue poncho and just started. It must have been a strange sight, seeing me pass by. For a moment I forgot I was in Brazil. It felt just like home, but then again at home I stay inside when it rains and don’t go cycling. ;-)
The journey was harsh, the rain was like a waterfall and my glasses where fogged. The climb uphill was killing. At one point walking was even quicker than cycling. So I did. Then out of no where luckily the rain stopped and the sun started to shine again. And it would stay dry for the whole day! I got to the falls, but could only see a restaurant across a provisionally constructed bridge made out of wooden shelfs and wire. I parked the bike, crossed the bridge and asked the owner of the restaurant where I could find the falls. I had to go under the bridge, through a tick bush, over a brook and then it would be on my left side. At first I was sceptic, but I followed his directions and it was a crazy moment when I heard the sound of joyful people and suddenly saw people really sliding down in the midst of nature. Wow! I was eager to do the slide too, but as soon as I took off my flip flops I slipped and landed straight on my buttocks. Hahaha Its that slippery over there! But then I took a run-up and slid all the way down! Loved it! I could not resist to do another slide!
To get to the Cachoeira Tobogã took me about two hours uphill, but to go down hill only took me 30 minutes. I didn’t have to cycle just kick back, enjoy the landscape which even had some cows in it and use my breaks at the right moment.
That same night I had a great time in the historic center. Good food, nice people, Caipharinas and I even got to play the drums with the live band. Amazing!! The next day however I had planned an Island tour with a boat. I was really tired from the night before, but then again, laying on a boat, enjoying breathtaking sights and go for a swim now and then, next to a coral reef, plus hopping from beach to beach is the best way to relax. At one time all the boats stopped at this coral reef for us to take a swim. One after the other jumped of the boat in the crystal clear water. I took of my t-shirt… check! Took of my flip flops… check! Took of my leather wrist band, watch and glasses… check! And I plunged into the water. Then I felt in my pocket. My wallet!!! Fortunately my wallet only contained money, but I paid with wet real notes for two days.
One thing I will surely try to see when I visit Paraty again is the world famous Puppet theatre. I missed it this time. I was told about it, but only discovered it’s beauty when I looked at movie clips online.
My last day in Paraty I again rented a bike to visit the historic sights in the centre. I still wonder why I rented a bike, because there is no way you can bycilce on the rocky pavestone road. I visited the church for former slaves, the Forte Defensor Perpétuo where the gold was stashed and protected during the gold rush and a lot more historic sights.
Now I’m on my way to the “Cidade Maravilhosa”. Carnaval is just a few days away!!!