Brazil, Paraty (Parati): ("River of Fish")

Trip Start Aug 27, 2008
Trip End Oct 25, 2008

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Rio de Janeiro,
Monday, October 6, 2008

Mon 6.10.08: Brazil, Paraty (Parati): ("River of Fish")

A night 12hr bus ride through busy and smog São Paulo and along the coastline before reaching Paraty.

Not long after arriving in town and taking to exploring the many cobblestone streets and its well preserved baroque buildings, I met Andreas whilst browsing at a sweets cart. We were so immersed in the conversation that we lost our way! One beer led to wine & dinner which then to more caipirinha drinks.

The weather has not been as welcoming the next day with its constant cloudiness and the on-off drizzling of rain. So the day was spent enjoying relaxing and rounds of the local beer accompanied by interesting conversations.

Next day's weather was the same (starting to be rather miserable!), there is only so much beer one can drink! Would rather participate in any of the outdoor activities alas, more beer it is. As Andreas was a free agent holidaying with no set concrete plan, he suggested tagging along with me to Ilha Grande.

Seaside resort
Historic Colonial Centre and Buildings

Paraty was founded formally as a town by Portuguese colonizers in 1667, in a region populated by the Guaianás Indians. In Tupi language "Paraty" means "River of Fish". The town is located on the Bay of Ilha Grande.

After the discovery of the world's richest gold mines in 1696 in Minas Gerais, Paraty became an export port for gold. The gold was transported down windy trails and cobblestone roads and loaded on ships sailing for Portugal.

Once gold became scarce, Paraty switched to coffee, but with the abolishment of slavery in 1888, that too dried up and Paraty faded to near oblivion; the population fell from 16,000 in its glory days to 600 in the early 1900s. The town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1966 and preserving this, cars were banished from the historic colonial centre with pedestrians only.

The hills are covered in lush green coastal rainforest and the waters around Paraty (dotted with 65 islands) are tropical turquoise, warm and crystal clear - perfect for swimming, snorkelling, or scuba diving.
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