A Travellerspoint blog

May 2011

Why is there a crab in our hostel?

3 days in Ilha Grande


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Because we're on an island jungle...

On Thursday, May 26th, we made our way from Paraty via local bus and ferry to arrive on Ilha Grande, Brazil. Ilha Grande is Brazil's third largest island and is known for its laid back vibe and gorgeous beaches. Unfortunately, the weather was largely overcast with showers while we were visiting, but we made the most of it by hiking and visiting the beaches despite the weather :)

During the first hour or so of being in our hostel we noticed a few girls taking pictures of something on the kitchen floor. My initial thought was "Oh my gosh, I hope it is not an outrageously large spider". Thankfully, it turned out to be a curious crab that decided the hostel life was for him as well.

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The next day we took a small boat to a secluded part of the island where we hiked to a spectacular beach called Lopes Mendes (consistently rated one of Brazil's best beaches). The beach sits within a cove and the surrounding hillsides are covered with a lush forest - making for a dramatic contrast. We navigated some steep rocks at the end of the beach and managed to get some cool pictures of crashing waves.

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For dinner, we hit up a "per kilo" restaurant, very common in Brazil. It's like a buffet, but your plate gets weighed after you make your choices and you pay per kilo. Jeff snickered when my plate was weighed; it was almost twice as heavy as his :)

Though it was a short trip to the island, we enjoyed it immensely. We are headed to Rio...I can already feel the beat of the samba drum...

Posted by geldere 18:36 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Beaches, Waterfalls, and Caipirinhas...

Exploring Paraty, Brazil


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On Monday, May 23rd, we journeyed from Sao Paolo to Paraty via a six hour bus ride, arriving late at night, so we plopped ourselves at the Che Legarto Hostel, a surf-inspired hostel with a relaxed vibe. We spent our first morning exploring the small town. Paraty is on the coast of Brazil and prides itself on being a well preserved colonial town and has a "Williamsburg" feel to it. I thought the guide book was exaggerating when it stated "you know a place is authentic when the cobblestones are so uneven, it's actually painful to walk the streets". Really, not an exaggeration. The town definitely achieves a feeling of authenticity, and combine that will the mountain and ocean backdrops, Paraty is a beautiful place.
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On Tuesday afternoon, we took a local bus into the mountains to see some waterfalls. After my initial panic wore off, we spent time sliding down one of the waterfalls, a "natural waterslide", into a freezing cold pool of water...it was fun! To see Jeff taking the plunge, click here. That night we ate at a quaint local restaurant and enjoyed caipirinhas, Brazil's national cocktail :)

On Wednesday, we spent our time in Paraty relaxing on a boat in the bay with four other hostel guests (a couple from Ireland 50 of 52 weeks into an around the world trip and two German fellas seven months into an 18 month trip). To see Paraty and the surrounding area by boat gave us a different appreciation for the landscape. The scenery was spectacular with mountains that seemed to go straight into the water. We snorkeled and chilled on two private beaches which made for a very blissful day!
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Paraty was great and we are looking forward to our next destination, Ilha Grande, an island off the coast. Until then...

Posted by geldere 18:40 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Touched Down in Brazil...

So...after months of planning, our trip has finally commenced! It didn't quite sink in until we touched down in Sao Paolo, Brazil, our first stop on this crazy adventure.

Initial reaction once we left the airport...holy crap, we don't speak a word of Portuguese. "Don't worry", said a lady in line as we check in for our TAM flight to Brazil, "you'll find lots of people speak English". In contrast, we've found most people don't speak a word of English and we must communicate by smiling, pointing, and charades, though we have picked up a few words and phrases to get us by. Brazilians are generally sympathetic, but when you pronounce "reales" (Brazilian money) like you think it would sound, instead of "hay-ice", like you're supposed to, there's not much they can do for you :)

We spent our first three days in Sao Paolo, a pretty fun place to start the trip. We spent our time navigating the city via the metro (very clean and efficient). We visited the main parks downtown (Praca da Se, Luz, and Placa da Republica) and surrounding streets.
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Metropolitan Cathedral

Metropolitan Cathedral

We also traveled to Sao Paolo's beautiful, central park. We hung out and watched how the Brazillians entertain themselves...pretty much like us; sunbathing, skateboarding, frisbee, and lots of soccer ("football"). We also stumbled upon a farmer's market and tried our hand at buying produce. The woman was so confused that I only wanted one banana that she just gave it to me for free. We capped our day off by eating at a pizzeria, which was very good (Brazillians believe they have the best pizza in the world, even over New York and Italy, but the jury is still out on that one :) ).
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I've learned quite a bit over the first few days about Sao Paolo (pronounced "Sam Paolo" and called Sampa by the locals) and Brazil. Sao Paolo is the largest city in the southern hemisphere with about 19 million people - it's a monster. It also has geography a lot like San Francisco, just not on the water, and reminds us constantly we are out of shape. Also, there is an enormous Japanese population here, apparently the 3rd largest Japanses population outside of Japan...things you learn :)

So, for now, we'll leave you with lots of love. We travel to Paraty next, a historic, small, colonial town on the beach!

Posted by geldere 14:58 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Welcome to the "Hostel" Honeymoon!

This blog was developed to give our friends and family an up to date accounting of our travels as we circumnavigate the globe over the next 11 months. Our goal is to post pictures and videos as well as blog about our experiences. We hope you enjoy it! Feel free to leave a message; we'd love to hear from you :)

Below please find our rough itinerary:
May 20, 2011 to June 29, 2011: Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile
June 30, 2011 to September 27, 2011: South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya
September 28, 2011 to November 19, 2011: Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey
November 20, 2011 to February 17, 2012: Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia
February 18, 2012 to March 18, 2012: Australia
March 19, 2012 to April 15, 2012: New Zealand

Posted by geldere 14:57 Comments (0)

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