When we prepared for our trip, we studied Spanish for a few months. We are far from fluent, but we know enough to get along on the road and to have a decent conversation with locals (thanks, Adriana). But we never studied any Portuguese. We were planning a short trip to Brazil on the way to Roraima and since we were told both languages are pretty close, we hoped to manage somehow in Brazil with our basic Spanish. It is just like if someone who studied Russian for a while and barely spoke it tries to speak Bulgarian. If I may quote Julia Roberts – “Big mistake. Big. Huge”.
We entered Brazil for the first time almost by mistake, when we were trying to cross the border between Bolivia and Paraguay on a non-existing road. It was love at first sight and we decided to spend a few days on the Brazilian beaches. Initially, we were planning to meet the New Year in Iguazu, but it was too crowded and touristy there for our taste. We cut the waterfall visit short and hit the road to Florianopolis.
There are a few reasons I am totally in love with Brazil:
– It is clean. When I say clean, I mean really, really clean. In Curitiba, the 2.5 million capital of the state Parana, I couldn’t see even one empty bottle or plastic bag on the streets or the grass.
– It is not only clean, but it is also tidy. The farms, the fields, and even the cows on the fields around the road are looking neat and beautiful.
– It looks safe, it feels safe. You can tell just by walking on the streets in Florianopolis, Curitiba, Gramado, and Canela. There are no iron bars on the windows and no big heavy walls.
– The people in Brazil are the friendliest and most curious people I’ve ever met. Even the ones not speaking any English or Spanish are trying to converse with us, giving advice and smiles.
– There are a lot of handsome men around. The border officer was the sexiest officer I’ve ever seen. I was considering committing some minor offence and being detained, unfortunately, I couldn’t come up with a good escape plan and was not sure Ivan will come to rescue me.
– The beaches of Florianopolis are beautiful. There is something for every taste – huge, almost empty stretches of sand and ocean, crowded beaches with lots of restaurants and bars, beaches with big waves, and quiet beaches. Just name it. Florianopolis is the best resort in Southern Brazil and a touristy place but is not too popular outside of the country. The only foreigners there seemed to be from Argentina and Paraguay.
We have been stopped regularly and asked about our Canadian car, and people waved and smiled at us on the streets and on the highways.
– There are no mosquitos. We slept for ten nights on open windows and I got only a couple of mosquito bites. This is not fair. In Toronto, when the weather is hot, I will not be able to have dinner outside without bathing in repellent.
When I was telling the locals how much I like Brazil, most of them replied that it’s a huge country and the other parts are not so safe, not so beautiful or as rich as southern Brazil. I hope I will have the chance to go and see it for myself.
Ivan: Why she missed mentioning all the beautiful women crowding the streets and the beaches?
Ruta Romantica – blue hydrangeas along the road and little Germany in the heart of Brazil
Our host in Florianopolis recommended to us the Ruta Romantica and the towns of Canela and Gramado and we decided to stop for a couple of days there on our way to Uruguay.
These small picturesque towns were built and populated by German and Italian immigrants in 19th century. The city streets and the roads between the cities are lined up with huge bushes of blue hydrangeas. The whole area looks beautiful and unreal, as taken from some Grimm brothers story tale.
My senses were confused. My eyes, looking around the Bavarian houses, Christmas markets and trees were telling me that I am somewhere in a small Austrian or German town at Christmas time, but the warm wind on my naked arms contradicted it.
It’s easy to fall in love with a place where they grow bananas, oranges, figs, grapes, watermelons and tomatoes, and the small farms produce local wine, craft beer, artesian cheese and chocolate.
The cute animals of Southern Brazil
I love the sea but hate beaches. Sailing, scuba diving, snorkelling – all this is great. Frying on the beach, covered with sunscreen and sand until you start looking like an undercooked lobster – that’s not my cup of tea.
There is one thing which makes the beaches of Brazil a bit more bearable. Yes, you guessed right, they are full of incredibly beautiful women. Sorry guys, no pictures. Go and see yourselves.
When I was getting too excited by the view, I was receiving one of those looks:
After visiting Brazil, a friend of mine once said that he wants his next reincarnation to be in Brazil and that he will spend all his life on a Brazilian beach. I think now I understand why.
Your friend is a wise person! 🙂
Can’t wait to go to Florianopolis one day.