Welcome to Brazil... Time for beach & sun

Trip Start Apr 12, 2011
Trip End Apr 01, 2012

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Where I stayed
Barra Beach Club

Flag of Brazil  , State of Santa Catarina,
Monday, May 30, 2011

We get an overnight bus to Florianopolis which is the main city on the Island of Santa Catarina. We go straight through it to our hostel called Barra Beach Club and is overlooking a little beach and next to small fishing port called Barra de Lagoa.  On first impressions, the island is beautiful – very green forest  right down to the beaches and plenty of beaches as well, we didn't realise the scale of the island until we got here.  Could easily spend a week or two exploring but we have a few days to relax in the sun.  The other thing we didn’t realise is the surfing is banned between May and July due to fish migration patterns (basically for the fisherman to be able to fish all over the bay) and so Jonny’s hopes of practising his surfing skills and getting me to learn are dashed (I’m secretly relieved as not so happy out of my depth in the sea but I did promise to try.)

The hostel is set up as houses on the hill side overlooking the bay, very picturesque and relaxing, the staff are really friendly with everyone introducing themselves as soon as we arrive and most importantly, there is other guests – some people to talk to!

We realise very quickly it’s difficult to move from the hostel veranda overlooking the sea as we lose a couple hours quite quickly but then make ourselves walk over to the natural pools, 10 minutes from the hostel.  The first thing we learn about Brazil is that when they say there is a path, take that term loosely.  We scramble up muddy slopes and jump from rocks in flip flops to get to the natural rock pools which are essentially some flat rocks to sunbathe on and then if you’re brave enough you can jump into the sea.  Luckily for me the sky clouds over so I’m not forced into the sea quite yet and we spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing by the sea.

The second thing we learn is that the sun sets pretty early and quickly in Brazil and by 6pm its pitch dark.  We take a walk down to the fishing port where the fishing boats are coming in and the tradition seems to be that people walk along the port to meet the boats and watch the boats coming in.  After the sun goes down, almost every person we see has a fish in their hand on their way home for dinner.  Some of the hostel guys have bought fish to have a bonfire on the beach but as we’re still recovering from an overnight bus (the journey wasn’t quite as smooth as in the Argentinean buses) we head to a fish restaurant.  We get the anchova (local white fish) for two people and a feast appears with fish, beans, rice and chips.   A lot of meals seem to be served for two people in Brazil – so we’re quite happy getting a good value meal, if you were by yourself, eating out would be alot more expensive or pretty limited.

Next morning we get breakfast in the hostel, Brazilian breakfast is more exciting than any of the other countries we have visited so far with a choice of cereal, bread, cheese, ham, fruit and cake – I’m not sure which I’m happier to see fruit or cake!

We chill out at the hostel for a while and then as we feel we should do something we take a walk to the nearby beaches.  Again we are on a Brazilian 'path’ but this time at least we thought ahead and swapped the flip flops for shoes.  Half an hour later of scrambling up a hillside and through a good deal of foliage we are at the top of the hill between the beaches and can see right across the bay, which is postcard perfect.  There are some mighty big stones on the hillside that have apparently been placed there to be in line with the sun at certain times of the year but no one knows by whom or why.  The guy at the hostel told us that people either feel drawn to them or repelled from the stones.  Both Jonny and I felt pretty much indifferent about the stones but maybe we’re just not into the travelling spirit yet! We then start our scrambling down to the first beach we can see, which we find out as we leave this beach that it was the nudist beach.  Lucky for us the sun had disappeared from that beach or we may have got a few surprises. The next beach is a big wide bay and one that you can still surf on but the waves are so big that only the experienced surfers can try and from all reports even they were scared at some point.

Back to the hostel for fejoda complete which is a traditional Brazilian dish involving a meat and sausage stew (| think better not knowing what exact meat parts), rice, beans accompanied by mulled wine – a little bit random but we’re happy with that. A tasty, hearty meal and the rest of evening was spent chatting with other guests.

Our last day in Barra was sunny, so Jonny allowed me some time on the beach to work on not being the palest person in Brazil.  It seems to be the place that the Brazilians do their exercise so between the men working out, the women power walking and the random film crew on the beach, there is plenty to look at.  We also hit the natural pools again where Jonny is brave enough to go in but I’m not.  My excuse is not one person that went in the water looked like they were enjoying it as it’s a little cold at this time of the year and they were all out of the water pretty much as soon as they went in.

In the evening we head into the town at the edge of the lake, which is pretty much just a functional town but is meant to hold the nightlife for the island.  As we are a bit early we have to settle on the British bar called Black Swan for a drink (not so surprisingly it was the only bar with people in it) and try some of the local drinks with some live jazz and blues music.  My first caprihina made from the local unmatured rum which was strong but tasty and I also try a chope de vinho which tastes like a fruit beer so we’re gradually adjusting to Brazil. 

After a couple days of beach paradise, we decide to leave the beach and head further north for some more exploring.
Full photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonnymillar/sets/

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dmillar1952 on

the fish and chips sound good...change from steaks!!!

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