As I write this, I’m checked into my wonderful $50-a-night (including breakfast) pousada in Barra da Lagoa, Brazil. It’s about a 45-minute local bus ride from the city of Florianopolis.
There are a few key things to know about this area:
1) It’s a laid back resort area with innumerable beaches to choose from. And it’s a surfing mecca.
2) This part of southern Brazil was settled by Germans and Italians, so the locals look more European than in other parts of Brazil. A friend told me the most beautiful women in the country come from Florianopolis.
3) I’m actually on a pretty big island called Santa Catarina. The big city of Floripa, as it is locally known, is on the opposite site of the island from where I am now.
The plan for the next few days basically involves two things: short hikes and beaches. Oh and maybe a boat ride to a particularly beautiful island that has both hikes AND beaches. I do have to go into the big city to do a little shopping for gifts and such to take home. I always do that at the last stop on the trip so I don’t have to carry them around with me as I travel from city to city.
Meantime, let’s back up to Monday morning, my last full day in Rio. That was the morning I chose to visit Corcovado, which is the mountaintop featuring Cristo Redentor, aka Christ the Redeemer. It marks the second “new” wonder of the world I’ve visited (Rome Coliseum being the first).
I took the most commonly used route to the summit, which consists of a 20-minute cog-train ride up to the 2,300-foot high base of the statue. I sat next to a tour-guide leader from Vancouver, B.C. – we compared notes and impressions of Brazil. She envied my independence; I envied the next phase of her trip – the Amazon
Anyway, the statue and summit were so crowded that I couldn’t wait to catch the next train down. Sure the view was nice, but frankly I was getting a little used to Rio’s stunning vistas. They are every direction, all the time.
Monday afternoon I hopped waves again at the beach.
Tuesday morning I caught my flight to Florianopolis. I had enough time after checking in to walk through the town and even visit a small sea-turtle sanctuary and interpretive center. Poor things in their little tanks looked like all they wanted was to crawl the hell out and get thyselves into the ocean.
Here’s the obigatory picture portion of the post: