When I arrived in Paraty I called my host Esteban which apparently was downtown close to the Rodoviaria (bus station) so I met him up there. He was sitting at a Turkish restaurant called Istanbul with his lovely daughter Luna, a cute and super happy baby. Another two from the collective works at this restaurant, Marcelo and Akki.
I met another girl there who also lived temporarily in the collective plus Anahi, Estbans girlfriend and Lunas mother. She is also from Barcelona :) So nice people. I also ran into Tracy that I was sharing dorm with in Ihla Grande, so we decided to meet at Istanbul tomorrow for some sightseeing together! Yeah, there is no internet or even cellphone reception at the collective so it was really a lucky coincidence that we could decide everything now :)
After a few hours at Istanbul it was time to take the van to their house, or better said, houses, that are just by the waterfalls in Penha, They have one house where the ones in the community lives and another for couchsurfers. :)
I went to the couchsurfing house called “Refugio Do Sonho” (Refuge of dreams) and left my stuff there and met Chico who lives there plus couchsurfer Marlene and Marion. Then I went up to the other house, “Oasis Mundo”. The house is supercool and colorful. When they moved in they said “let’s not buy any furniture, but make it ourselves!” and so they have. Almost everything built-in the house is of recycled materials like fruitboxes. This together with a mix of imported fabrics from India makes it really cozy. They have a little store where they sells things from India too. I bought a really nice skirt. :)
We had a delicious dinner that Khan, the chef from the restaurant Istanbul, prepared for us. We had some hookah and homemade tea and talked for hours about education, dreams, believes, travels. A nice mix of people from everywhere. Khan has been living here for 7 years now, has a Brazilian daughter of 3 together with a german girl. Cool :)
The town of Paraty is located on the Bay of Ilha Grande, which is dotted with many tropical islands. Rising up as high as 1,300 meters behind the town are tropical forests, mountains, and waterfalls. It is the southernmost and westernmost city in Rio de Janeiro state.
From the house you hear the waterfalls loudly. At first I didn’t notice because it was raining outside, but when they told me it was the waterfalls – then wow. Amazing. This neighborhood, Pena, is on the country side, where the jungle meets the mountains. The famous gold trail passes by right through here. It’s where the slaves carried gold from the state Minas Gerais to Paraty for exportion to Portugal in the 18th and 19th century.
Next day supposed to take the 9.20 van to town but another guy from the community, Eduardo and actually Brazilian, was going downtown so I joined him. I met up with Tracy and we walked towards the historical town. It looked cloudy but then the sun really started to shine and we were happy about that.
No cars or trucks are allowed in this part of town, the historical district, only foot traffic or bicycles. Horses is a very common sight in Paraty and are frequently used all around the city.
We walked towards the peer and looked at the boats…
And since Paraty is famous for it’s islands (and the waterfalls) we decided to go on one boat for 20 reales that stopped in 4 different places.
It was a reeally nice ride. We were so happy about the nice weather, it had been raining the last 3-4 days. We bought a few beers and sat and listened to the live music onboard (yeah!), had some free fruit and coffee, and when we stopped, we jumped in the water and got to the beaches. I really enjoy Tracys company, it was a long time ago that I laughed so much in someones company. She is superfun.
At the boat we were both looking at the guide that was talking in Portuguese in the microphone., he was sitting behind us so our heads where fully turned to him. Then one guy sitting in front of us pokes me and points to the other side of the boat. There was a man, showing the safety procedures of the life vest. Hahaha. We had both been looking at the guide and trying to understand so hard what he was saying when he apparently just was giving the instrucitons that this other man was showing, and that everybody else was looking at. Yes, we were the only non-brazlians on the boat… Oh, I laughed until I cried haha.
I really like her way of thinking too. For example, she is very afraid of water, but still, she is like “I will jump from the boat. Yes. I AM going to jump!” even if she is terrified, she does it with a little scream and afterwards a big and excited smile. :) Tough girl!
We were both so happy that we had our bikinis under our clothes, because we really had not planned on going to something like this! We had no towels or sun factor or anything, which resulted in a tomato-red Tracy in the end of the day, haha.
We got back to Paraty around 16 and it was all cloudy there. We walked around the historical center. Paraty has maintained many of its historic buildings. Much of the architecture of the city has not changed for 250 years or more.
It reminds me so much of south of spain with the white houses and cobblestoned streets. There are plenty of nice boutiques and handy craft stands. ‘
We ran into Marcelo, Marta and Marion from the collective there and they recommended a place called Quile Verde for lunch… greeeeat food! I had a eggplant with parmesan cheese, rice and french-fries… it was delicious. We shared a beer and literally sat down there and talked for hours before saying farewell.
And by the way, so many crabs!!! Just like that. And they are so weird, they only have one hand! Haha.
Got back home with the 21 van, met Marlene on it, one of the couchsurfers in the community. At home we and Chico and Marion sat down at “our” kitchen and had some fresh pineapple-juice and home-made bread with butter and talked for a while. So nice to just hang out with interesting people!
Next day we woke up and guess what – there was sunshine again! I finally managed to dry my towel and bathing clothes I got with me from Ihla Grande. We had to move out from the house because some previous owners needed it for the weekend or something like that.
We left our stuff at Oasis Mundo and hanged a little bit there before heading to the waterfalls. There is one just outside the door, but there are many more and bigger just a few minutes walk, like Cachoeira de Tobogao. Marcelo, Marion and me went there and looked at people sliding down the waterfalls. We didn’t dare to do it, since it was Saturday there were a lot of other locals there watching, haha. We sat there for a while talking and watching people, hehe.
When we got back to the house Esteban and Anahi were going downtown with their van, so we went there. I had a delicious falafel at Istanbul (Marcelo made it for me :) and then me and Marion went to a internet café and then for a walk around the historical center.
We went home in the afternoon, had a shower and tasted different brazilians beers we bought in the supermarket earlier. Since it was my last Saturday I really wanted to go out in the center, the only problem is the transport, last bus leaves at 21.40 and first bus comes back about 6 in the morning… And when you live in a collective and there are a lot of nice people around , it’s easy to stay at home too haha. We were about 10-15 people there and we had carpirinhas and dinner together and stayed up talking until late. Really nice evening anyhow!
Next day I was leaving at night. I had no plans for the day what so ever, just to visit a market in the evening. It turned out to be a nice sunny day too, and Eduardo asked if I wanted to join to the beach in Trindade with him and Marion. Perfect!
We walked through some trails and beaches until we got to some natural rock formations and pools there. At first we climbed up at a rock, we had to pass by the water to get there and we had water up to our chest and got all soaking wet haha, but it dried in a few minutes on the rock.. yes, it got to hot there when the sun was bursting, so later we went down to the water and the shadow for some swim and feeding the fishes, hehe. I would never have found that place if I wasn’t with a local, so cool with couchsurfing.
On our way back we stopped by Eduardos boat which he is fixing for future scuba dives. So cool. We had a coffee there and relaxed and then it was time to head back home for a shower, and to pack my backpack for the last time.
Since my bus was leaving at 23.30, we had a few hours in town. We ate at Istanbul agan and then we visited a second hand market, nothing cool left haha. We walked around the historical center. So much live music and people hanging out on the streets everywhere. Really cool. I will miss this so much!!! We grabbed a beer and sat outside a bar with a local forron band.
Wow. This has truly been an amazing journey.
And it could not have ended better.
In a great city with great company.