Day 89: No Buses Today

Sat. 10th November 2012

Pretty buildings, terrible cobbles in ParatyIt was a free day today. One of the optional excursions today was a local bus to Trinidade beach which sounded interesting but Dave said no way was he getting on a bus today. Another alternative, which about half the group signed up for, was a boat trip out to some of the nearby islands with stops for snorkelling and fuelled by caipirinhas (the local cocktail). Given the cloudy overcast conditions we felt that sounded too energetic and so we opted for our own walking tour of Paraty, which is a very pretty colonial town with cobbled streets and whitewashed houses with windows painted in pretty colours.

In the morning we walked along the main shopping street to the bank but the cash machines said the connection was down which was a worry as it is Saturday. Unfortunately there are no banks on Ilha Grande where we will be for the next two days so we need a plan B if they remain out of operation, but that was a problem for this afternoon.

Cruise anyone?We then walked to the harbour which is full of colourful boats all trying to sell us boat trips or booze cruises and as we had already turned down the group trip today we were not persuaded.

As it is close to lunchtime we head through the historic centre to the main square looking for a restaurant. The guidebooks had advised that the streets are still paved with uneven large cobbles making walking difficult and they were not wrong – it was really hard going. The Portuguese were the first to land on the East coast and in Paraty, hence the Portuguese influence and their language in Brazil.

Cobbled main square in Paraty The main square was typical of many we have seen, including the horse and cart rides. It is good to get back to car free zones. We were able to find a table overlooking the square and watch a few tourists go by as we sat enjoying lunch.

To continue our tour we headed over the river and out of town to explore the Fort marked on our map. The trouble with tourist maps, besides not always being to scale, is they do not mark the contours. However we should have twigged for a fort to be effective it will be on a hill. Still the uphill was not of Inca Trail proportions, but a gentle incline just enough to be breathless at the top (although we can no longer blame breathlessness on altitude!). The views made it worthwhile even if the fort was shut and we did not think we were missing much as the entrance fee was less than £1.

View from Fort RoadThe other reason for heading this way from town was to visit the beach recommended by Zaida. The walk was a good stretch of our legs to work off lunch and feel we (well Dave anyway) earned an ice cream where you load up a bowl with flavours of your choice and pay by the 100g.

Just enough time for a siesta before heading back to the bank and luckily this time the machines were working so we have cash for meals and excursions until we get to Rio.

There was some amusement as the group returned from their boat trip. They had had a good day swimming and tucking into the free caipirinhas,and were distinctly merry! They were going to take some herding to be ready to go out for our meal tonight. Needless to say, there were a few no shows.

We were a bit sceptical at this evenings choice of restaurant being Brazilian Thai and I am not normally a Thai fan (with the exception of Chris’ Green Thai prawn curry of course), but our fears were unfounded as the food was amazing. I loved my Red Thai curry which had prawns and pineapple and was served in a half of a pineapple.

As it was Saturday night we ended the evening with a drink back in the main square, with lots of live music around and much more crowded than lunch time. All in all, a lively atmosphere in a pretty town – and being by the harbour with hills and tree it felt so very different from some of the towns in the Andes where we were only a couple of weeks ago.

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