Days 8 - 9: Petropolis, Brazil

Trip Start Sep 23, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

Flag of Brazil  , State of Rio de Janeiro,
Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Day 8 - two very different bus journeys

Today we left Walk on the Beach hostel to make the trip to the imperial city of Petropolis, one hour north of Rio. The first leg of the journey involved taking a city bus to Rio bus station. After a week in the city, we knew what to expect of the 'urban buses' but it seemed Rio had saved the worst 'till last! 

After 30 minutes organ bruising spine shattering travelling we began to question whether the hostels instructions to get to the 'rodovario' were correct. The neighbourhoods got gradually dodgier and we began to panic a little. This wasn't helped when three heavily armed 'policia militair' boarded the bus and barked orders at the driver and then assumed crouching positions near the doors. Nobody else on the bus seemed to bat an eyelid but us gringos didn't know what to think. Five minutes of the police talking in hushed tones passed and then all of a sudden they drew their handguns, the doors opened and they rushed off the bus. Pretty bemused, we watched them run into a block of houses and that was that! 

Our second bus couldn't have been any different to the first. The tickets to Petropolis cost £6 and for that we got luxury that put National Express to shame. To top it all off the mountainous views from our 'lazy boy' recliners was spectacular. We hardly even noticed the sheer cliff face metres away from our coaches tyres. 

Day 9 - comfort, a bit of history and Kelly's becoming Brazilian! 

Petropolis isn't a renowned tourist destination. Its relaxed atmosphere contrasts starkly to the all night parties, manic traffic and endless tourist attractions of Rio, but thats why we chose it. For £13 each per night we managed to find a double bedroom which after 7 days of sharing a room with 12 others felt like a five star hotel. 

After a lazy start we wandered into the town centre and got some groceries from the market to put in the feijoada (A brazilian black bean stew) that we'd be making that evening. I gave Kelly a quick lesson in wildlife photography (only charged her mates rates) and then we worked our way around the historical attractions recommended to us. We found it hard to believe that the 'palace', with peeling walls and hardly any furniture, was the summer vacation home of Brazils president - I wonder what the Camerons would have thought. The relaxed day was just what we needed and the dinner we cooked in the evening topped it all off very nicely.  
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