23.08.2016 - 26.10.2016
After lots of indecision about our next stop, we eventually agreed on the destination of Paraty (can´t not read this as PARTY), about four hours south of Rio. We packed up, and said our goodbyes (rather teary on Becky´s behalf) to the family, and jumped on our bus. The stretch of coast between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo is called "Costa Verde" or Green Coast, a name it most rightfully deserves. It was the most breathtakingly beautiful drive, winding our way along the coast, bright blue waters and white sandy beaches to our left; steep mountains, covered in ridiculously green jungle, to our right. I normally pass out on a bus as soon as it starts moving, but for once I stayed awake on this journey, purely to enjoy the views.
Being sensible planners, and forward thinking travellers (new concept for me!) we had looked up a few hostels to try once we arrived. Our stroll through the town to find "Leo´s Clan" turned into a bit of a frantic dash, after failing to find a public toilet I was feeling a wee bit (pun intended) concerned. Especially when Becky told a particularly filthy joke, which had me in stitches, and desperately crossing my legs. (Too much information?) We found Leo´s, and thankfully his toilet, checked in, dumped our bags, and headed out for a stroll around the town. Straight away we knew we were going to enjoy it here, cobbled streets lined with colourfully painted shops, restaurants and bars, brimming with tourists, and most excitingly, pudding carts! (More on those later). This evening, we just had time to wander down to the seafront, along the groyne (?), before it got dark. We cooked dinner back at the hostel, and then headed out for a drink, ending up sat outside a bar, where we could hear two live musicians at the same time! The perfect way to enjoy our happy hour caiprinhas.
The next day we opted for a lazy day by the beach, but not before two hours of strenuous paddle boarding. We must earn our relaxation! We headed down to the beach and collected our boards from the very chatty Ian. We set off around the headland, in the hopes of reaching the next beach. Thankfully the sea was relatively flat, as I find it hard to keep my balance when it is wavy! After working out a few steering issues, we were soon well on our way. I love paddle boarding, it is so peaceful and relaxing, and it´s not until later in the day you realise quite what a workout you´ve had! We made it to the next beach, and decided to have a little break, complimented by some fresh fruit juices from the beach bar. Gosh, what a hard day we were having. After a little recovery, we headed back around, a little more challenging with the breeze and waves pushing against us as we rounded the headland. Once on some calm water we realised we simply must take a selfie, so delicately maneuvered towards each other, being ever so careful not to knock each other in... HA! Sorry Bex!
The rest of the day was spent lounging at the beach, enjoying a couple of beers and generally doing nothing. That night, Becky treated me to a delicious meal in the hostel, the most culinary cuisine I have eaten in a hostel, followed by the obligatory caiprinhas in one of the bars in town. This night we ended up practically sat in the band, I actually had to move my chair so the bass player could sit down. Becky even attracted a delightful admirer who promised to dedicate a song to her the following night. What a lucky girl!
Up early again the next morning, this time to jump on a short bus ride to the nearby national park, for a spot of river wading and waterfall chasing. Is there anything more satisfying than walking up a river, coming across more waterfalls, more hidden pools, slipping and sliding your way up rocky rapids? "NO!" I hear Mama C cry! After watching some spectacular (-ly stupid?) rock sliding, we made our own way further up stream, clambering up falls, until we found a lovely, quiet, shady little pool to swim and enjoy our picnic lunch.
We headed back in the early afternoon, to make the most of the afternoon sun for some more town exploring, photo taking and a little bit of shopping! My photos definitely don`t capture this little town at all, but it is honestly so picture perfect. This evening we decided to treat ourselves to a meal out, and after perusing every menu in town, ended up in a lovely little restaurant, which we had all to ourselves! There was even a 4-piece band playing, and they kept going the whole time we were there! After our private dinner, we finally gave in, and indulged in the sweetest sugary somethings from one of the many pudding carts in the street (these should exist everywhere). Stomachs well and truly full, we headed back to the same bar as the night before. We had been invited to a forro party on a boat in the harbour, this is a style of dance that originates from further north in Brazil, the state of Bahia, but you can bet your ass everyone here knew how to dance it too. Several hours, and hundreds of spins later, we eventually stumbled (because of the cobbles, I swear) back to the hostel at 4am. 2.5 hours sleep later, and I was definitely not raring to go for our next marathon bus journey...