Birthday in Paraty and stuff

Trip Start Jun 30, 2010
Trip End Aug 15, 2010

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Rio de Janeiro,
Monday, July 19, 2010

Yesterday morning Anna and I left Ilha Grande via a 2 hour ferry journey to Angra dos Rois and a 2 hour bus journey from there to Paraty. The road was incredibly scenic, with dramatic mountain scapes and jungle, the bus driver had little respect for speed limits and raced around hair pin bends, forcing us to hold on for dear life-always fun! The weather improved as the day went on, eventually the bus left us in the bus station in Paraty where no one seemed to know English. Thankfully we worked out our way to our hostel with "donde faccia" and lots of gesturing. Our hostel is positioned on the edge of the old town, across a river beside rainforest and mountains. The swimming pool looks gorgeous. Last night we went into the old town for a walk and to find somewhere to eat. The streets are a labyrinth of colourful collonial buildings, the paved streets are only accessible by pedestrians. Apparently every full moon the streets allow in the sea at high tide and become temporarily flooded. We found ourselves at the centre of the Santa Rita festivities, the church ceremony was going on next to the park and a mini fair. The mini fair was similar to the one we had explored in Ilha Grande with stalls selling corn on the cob, sweets like coconut balls, strawberries in chocolate and churros and lots of alcohol like caiprinhas and caiprifrutas. Fireworks were lit in the park. Eventually we decided to opt for the unusual crepe like pancakes made from tapioca in an Amazonian bar. They are pretty impossible to describe, crunchy and salty outsides with jelly interiors. I had mine stuffed with mussarela (easy enough to guess right?) and tomatos. I liked whatever it was and had a dolce de laite churro com coco per dolce at the market.

Today I woke up to be 19 and slightly confused about it being my birthday. The people at my hostel made me a heart shape vanilla birthday cake, after that and coffee Anna and I went horseriding through some stunning mountainous jungle scenery with a local and a couple from Ponte Allegre. My horse was a dapple grey stallion called Cassica and the ride lasted almost 4 hours, fortunately for our bums we rode on western saddles. There was such a huge variety of landscapes on the ride, from open fields on the top of mountains to dense jungles, we even rode through deep rivers and strong currents. Not only this, but such wild flora, fauna and pretty little houses and farms. So many times we just stopped to say "wow." I wasn't surprised in the slightest at the leniency of health and safety, we rode with no helmets. The couple we met gave us our contact information and said we could go stay with them anytime in South Brazil.

Tonight we're going out to a pizzeria, they are very popular in Brazil, especially the type with weird toppings like Romeu e Julietta. Then we'll head for a caiprifruta somewhere. I'll try and upload photos as soon as possible. Anyway, Paraty is as described on the map, a treasure between the mountains and sea.
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Grace Elizabeth Gear on

Sounds a wonderful way to spend a 19th birthday.

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