Yesterday after teaching my class, Husband, Only Daughter and I headed off for a week of adventures in other parts of Brazil.
Last night we landed in Florionópolis, a delightful city/island/town(s) in the south of Brazil on the Atlantic coast. Our Uber driver took the scenic route, hair-pinning up and down mountainsides to descend into the charming village of Barra da Lagoa, with twinkling lights and multiple coastlines (besides being on an island, the “Ilha de Santa Catarina,” there is a large inland lake and a river that snakes through from the lake, “Lagoa Conceicão” to the Atlantic on the eastern side of the island.
We did have a few moments of concern when he arrived at our destination — a dark building enclosed within a fence and locked gate (as are most of the houses here) on a quiet, dark street. We did have the Best Uber Driver Ever, not only because he chose a lovely route, and spoke excellent English, but because he also found the phone number for the Pousada and called to make sure someone was here to let us in.
It was after 9, though, and we had not had dinner. Being a Pousada, (which seems to mean a bed-and-breakfast but without the breakfast,) there was no restaurant. Given that the owner speaks NO English, and couldn’t seem to understand any of my Portuguese, or should I say, “Portuguese,” we decided not to try to figure out how to order a vegan pizza and have it delivered (would he let them in? would we need to wait in the lobby in the dark and answer a door buzzer? is there even any such thing as vegan pizza on the Ilha da Santa Catarina? whose brilliant idea was this whole thing in the first place?) …So, we went to bed with only the lime-and-black-pepper peanuts we had eaten on the plane, and a Heineken each (no restaurant, but there was beer, in a case, for $2 USD apiece) for dinner.
Despite this somewhat sketchy beginning, we got up this morning, to this view and the sounds of the ocean waves crashing a short distance away:
walked 10 minutes to a lovely bakery where we had some delicious whole-grain coffee cake, mango juice, and espresso for breakfast. We don’t know if it was the Best Coffee Cake ever, or if we were just really hungry.
Maybe you can tell from the picture?
Then we walked a bit further to find the river, and right there was the beach! It was a bit overcast this morning (clears up later, as you’ll see in the next batch of photos), but still a lovely day. I was a bit amused by the Brazilians arriving at the beach in parkas and what Canadian’s call “toques” and we American’s would call “stocking caps.” After a while out in the wind, though, I would agree that it was a bit chilly! I must be Brazilian now — I make feijoada, tapioca (not the pudding), and mandioca pudding; LOVE a good caiparinhia (haven’t actually ever had a bad one), and think it’s cold when it’s 20˚C.
There were a couple of ground owls keeping a close eye on our progress as we went past. Luckily I had put on my 70mm lens, so I could snap a couple of pictures of them without scaring them off or stressing them out.
We stopped at 2 Irmãos for lunch, which ended up also being our dinner, since this is how much food they brought us.
We can honestly say we have never been served shrimp* stew and pasta in pie plates before.
*We are supposedly vegan, but I thought, given that these shrimp were probably caught this morning while we were still sleeping, that an exception should be made. They were tender and delicious. I have no regrets. I’ve only ever been an imperfect vegan, anyway, striving for avap status — as vegan as possible.
After carrying our leftovers (“para levar”) back to our “pousada” (it’s so easy when you speak the language) and taking a short nap, we walked a couple short blocks back to the Projeto Tamar — a 30-year, country-wide initiative to save the large sea turtles, which has resulted in the estimated numbers of turtles in the Atlantic going from 83 thousand to 8.3 million. A pretty impressive endeavor.
Luckily, we arrived just as they were releasing two juveniles (3 years old) into the ocean, so we got to film their progress from the beach to the water. Here’s the clip of the last leg of the trip:
The turtles were fun to watch in the preserve itself, as well. I know that they were just coming up for air, but they looked like they were posing for me to take their pictures.
And then there are some pictures of some birds in a flooded field (they’ve gotten lots of rain, as this is their rainy season) and a cow.
Why we’re so bloody tired tonight.
We hope to see some of the city of Florianópolis itself tomorrow, but they’re predicting rain for sure, as they are for our trip to Igauçu, so we’ll see what we can see and what pictures I can get.
Feeling pretty lucky to have stumbled into an opportunity such as this. So many people living such different and perfectly lovely lives. Such beautiful landscapes, delicious food. Such welcome and friendliness everywhere we go, and not just because random store clerks praise my Portuguese when I manage to string 7 words together into something resembling a coherent sentence.
We go back home three weeks from today.