Diary/Photo Journal

Week of May 22, 2005 

We left Porto Allegre with a heavy heart as we really enjoyed our time with our friends.   The beach city of Torres was not far up the coast and we decided to stop in at yet another summer resort community.  We had not planned on spending much time in Torres; however, we took advantage of a pleasant closing to the day and walked along the cliffs bearing down on the beach. 

Torres beach north and south
Just us and the fishermen enjoying
the peacefulness of this place
Our full moonrise was

Our aim was for the Ilha de Santa Catarina and its sizeable city of Florianopolis.  This city is unique as it is divided by the Atlantic Ocean, with its more industrial center keeping watch on the mainland and its fashionable and touristy attractions just a bridge away on the Ilha de Santa Catarina.   Floripa, as Florianopolis is affectionately called, is a convenient starting place to venture to any one of 42 beaches, all within a one hour drive and all with their specific charms.

Floripa and its color - those
monolith apartment buildings
do not need to be dull in color

Stopping to get gas and I could not resist
this dog and his sleeping pose
Floripa's flattery of San Francisco's
Golden Gate bridge

We found a terrific camping site between Lagoa da Conceicao and Praia Mole, right on the shore of an inner freshwater lake and near the base of protective sand dunes some hundreds of feet high. 

Looking back at the mainland
Floripa and out to the
calm bay

Lagoa da Conceicao - quite

The last picture has a kite boarder
running amok
Also, the sand dunes on the far left was
next to our campsite

We settled in  for the night and looked forward to what promised to be one of those incredibly perfect days in a tropical paradise.  Taking advantage of a scooter rental shop next door to the campsite, we dashed off into the town of Conceicao and just tooled around.  We received a surprise when we came back to the camp as Larry and Marylyn had also stumbled onto the camp.  Exchanging stories of the past week, we sped off on our two-wheeled marvel and made arrangements for our dinner out together that night.

Our fun scooter - and yes,
we have been enjoying the food
way too much!
Another way to ride
Joaquinas - just one of several
beautiful and sand-dune framed

We had an absolute blast zipping around Ilha da Santa Catarina and discovering many inroads to spectacular beaches.  Can you tell that I liked the island?  I think Gerson got rather peeved with me because every time we encountered sand I was extolling the virtues of buying a plot of land or a house nearby.  I think I heard him mutter something like "Well, you might as well buy the entire island!"  OK with me!!  Where can I buy that winning lottery ticket!

Campeche - my top beach.
Great surf, seemingly endless
open, clean beach, small
character-filled beach houses,
good diving/snorkeling

Armacao - another wonderful beach that had
great surf and wide open beaches.  It is common
to see the locals selling their handmade jewelry
to the tourists.

We found a wonderful restaurant for lunch that overlooked Campeche and we absorbed the warmth of the sun while sipping our refreshments.  Yep!  This is the life.

Mocambique - a very nice
beach with an equally nice
small village
Sunset over the

From the eastern beaches, we ventured up to the northern beaches and found a little more activity for the tourists during their summer months (December - February).  We passed by several canals where sea water merged with fresh water and they were lined with charming homes and hardy fishing crafts.

One of the many access canals
that decorate the island
The only way to travel around
Typical interior view of the island
Fishing with nets as the schools of
fish travel by - see the net in mid-cast

Making our way over to Ponta Grossa, a fort built in 1740, we took a quick tour through the grounds and were quite impressed with the excellent condition of the aged fort.  We were also fortunate to be blessed with a remarkable sky at sunset; however, that meant we had a 30 minute ride back in the dark, which was a tad harrowing at best. 

Ponta Grossa - fort
built in 1740

Beautiful skies over
the fort and its
church and terrific
beaches below

Pantano do sul - a
southern beach that
is known for its
surfing and fishing.
One look at the pictures and you can understand

We had a few hours left on our 24-hour rental so we made the most of it.  Careening down the eastern coast to reach the southern beaches, we again encountered pristine beaches dotted with surfers and fishermen.  We were also fortunate to witness a ritualistic practice that is performed throughout Brasil.  During religious processions (as this day was celebrating Corpus Christi), the people gather sawdust, color the granules and design a picturesque path for the procession carrying the representation of Christ.  We were just in time to see the remnants of the "art" before it was swept away to only memories.

Representations of the
sawdust artwork.
The path was quite long and
very colorful
Just a small example of our gluttony with
Larry and Marylyn.  For about $6 each,
we drowned ourselves in several forms
of shrimp, stuffed blue crabs and a nice
fish fillet. 

As Cindy was nearing the cessation of her planned journey, we decided to take one last detour before our celebration of her proudly strutting through Curitiba.  We stopped off at Bombinhas and found a marvelous camp on the beach.  Well, we thought we were the only ones to find such a gem of a place when to our surprise yet again, did we find Larry and Marylyn beat us to the site.  I think we are being followed...or led...

Bombinhas - another great
beach on the mainland.

We enjoyed watching the
fishermen go out and set
their nets and then for
them and the tourists to
help reel in the catch

View out from our camp

Larry and Marylyn model the
very latest in outdoor salon
grooming for campers

You get a haircut and a tan at
the same time

We stretched our stay in Bombinhas to the last possible minute but alas, Curitiba and a weekend at the lake-house with Julio and Bela and family awaited us.  Larry and Marylyn took all the convincing of a few seconds and followed us into Curitiba. 

Fun in the sun
and surf. 

Poppet wants in the picture
and Larry and Marylyn
enjoying their walk

Sunset over Curitiba and sunset on our
journey thus far

We made it!

We made it into Curitiba with no fanfare except a high-five between Gerson and I and a brush of the tears in our eyes.  Can you believe we made it?!!!  We left California on July 20, 2003, traveled around the United States, and on October 15, 2003 we directed our attentions southward and we arrived in Curitiba, our destination for this part of our journey, on May 27, 2005.  Subtracting the seven months we spent at home in the United States, we have spent a total of 15 months, give or take a week.  We had looked to complete our journey in 1-2 years and we made it!  Conceive, Believe, Achieve!

Our first stop in Curitiba was to say "tudo bem" to Gerson's family and to pick up our weekend stowaway, Carlos (son of Gerson's first cousin).   Larry and Marylyn were whisked off to Gerson's uncle Sebastian's house to partake in the breaking open and devouring pinion seeds.  Seeing as the seed pods quickly disappeared, I have to assume they were very much enjoyed.

We only had a short time to visit before we had to strike out for our northern locale, the lake-house that we treasured during our visit in January (click here to refresh your memory of that wonderful weekend).   We were warmly received into the bustling abode and exchanged our stories of the past months.

Cindy and Casita de Poppet
felt right at home at the lake

The awesome Feijoada

And the line forms to the right
for the excellent eats

Carlos picking out the good pinions after
smashing the huge pine cone on the floor.
Roasting the pinions...you pile up the dead
and dried "leaves" from the Pinheiro tree and then pour the pinion nuts throughout the pile.  Then, you light the fast-burning fire and roast the pinions...Blackened hands and smudged
cheeks are a sure thing...

We found ourselves surrounded by the mouth-watering smell of feijoada cooking and the sounds of animated chatter throughout the morning.  When the culinary delight was to be served, a line formed with no hesitation.  There is no patience when food this good is in front of you.  Afterwards, we hauled out bags of pinions that we bought and threw them onto a large bonfire of sorts in order to roast the large seeds.  Once the fire was reduced to ashes, we picked out the still smoking pods and gingerly opened them to get at the warm and tasty nut inside. 

Reflections of more than
just the clouds...tranquility
like this gives one pause
for thought
Saying good-bye to Larry and Marylyn...
they head north and we head home.
Yet another terrific bar-b-que -
Carlos, Julio, Gerson, Pedro (our
host and chef) and Paulo

The following day we just enjoyed each other's company and lamented the fact that we had to say good-bye to Larry and Marylyn.  They are heading up to Northern Brasil, near Fortaleza, and we shan't be seeing them again for awhile.  We so enjoyed their company throughout this leg of our journey and our memories have only been enhanced by their being a part of them.  We watched their truck maneuver up the driveway and with a collective sigh, we turned around and went back into the house.

Lake Capivari is a reservoir and has very few inhabitants around its shores.  A great portion of those that have homes there are related or connected to the Caron family.  As such, we all scuttled down the short driveway to brother to Paulo, Pedro's home for a marvelous bar-b-que on their view-tiful and expansive deck.  A weekend such as this does not come along enough in our lives...it truly was an ideal conclusion to this part of our journey. 

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