In my excitement to go somewhere new, I rushed to book us seats on a bus out of town at 11am Tuesday morning. Except, once Wolf looked at our receipt, he gently pointed out that I had actually booked us on a bus ARRIVING at 11am. Which meant we got to leave the house before the sun rose to make our 7am departure. Whoops :) I hoped my mistake would be worth a little lost sleep by the time we got to our next stop – Paraty. And I think it turned out well since we had an awesome stay in this little colonial town on the southern coast of Brazil.
In fact, the only excitement related to our bus ride was the driver. The guy may have been driving a huge tour bus, but I’m convinced he thought it was a sports car. The drive from Rio to Paraty along the coast is gorgeous – ocean on one side, lush jungle-covered hillsides on the other – but what will stand out in my mind is how much my fingers ached from holding on for dear life as we accelerated into every turn. I guess maybe his strategy was to have the fewest number of tires touching the road at any given time in order to decrease friction and increase speed. Whatever the goal, we made the trip in what I’m sure is record time.
Poor Wolf arrived in Paraty with a major caffeine-withdrawal headache. After a few days in an apartment without a coffee maker, my poor man was suffering, so we splurged for a cab to take us across the little town to our hotel. We had opted to stay a bit outside of the old town to save some cash and in hindsight we made a perfect choice – our hotel was certainly out of the main town center but also across the street from the beach, very peaceful, and although pretty basic again, it was exactly what we needed.
Lunch and a coffee were in order and we walked into the old town for a cappuccino and a pizza while it drizzled gently outside. With the headache now in check, we took a stroll about the old town, which turned out to be a total charmer.
Every street is cobblestones and whitewashed buildings with colorful accents, with brightly-painted boats docked in the harbor and the channel alongside town, and horse-drawn carts wandering sleepy streets. All so picturesque that we didn’t mind that it was also a bit over-the-top touristy.
Once the sun peeked out again we settled into the beach-front bar across from our hotel, sipping beer and reading under shady trees in the sand. It was perfect and quiet and relaxing and made me glad I had accidentally booked an early bus that allowed us to take advantage of the afternoon here.
For dinner we wandered back into the old town for what seemed to be a pretty typical grilled fish dinner with caipirinhas and, for me, a few more mosquito bites. We laughed about the bored hostess who was obsessed with her iPhone, and the soap opera on TV drowning out the lovely live music at the fancy restaurant a few doors down… a fun, memorable evening before we crashed after a long day.
The next morning, we lingered over breakfast along with a view of the ocean, and then a morning taking advantage of the hotel’s Wifi to catch up on things going on in the world, and for Wolf, some much needed time to catch up on work emails.
By afternoon we found the local grocery store and brought back sandwich supplies for a picnic on the beach. We spent the afternoon swimming in the ocean, enjoying fresh juice from the local stand, and doing some fitness in the sand.
At some point the rain started up again and we headed back inside for cover, watching the rain on the sand and planning out our last few days in Brazil, figuring out where to go, booking travel, and finding places to stay. Eventually we retreated to make dinner in our room and enjoy a showing of Moonraker, which certainly does a lovely job of documenting the gondolas and Sugarloaf, as promised :)