Three weeks ago and the road for me began on Copacabana Beach, the sun under the horizon, the air cool and calm. Through stunning coastline and tasteful resorts of Rio de Janeiro state, the lush and pure national parks, the sweaty humidity of the Mata Atlantica, following winding coastal roads up and down sharp hills, pristine beaches always a short detour away.
To the hills near Curitiba, with the day-long climbing and the pouring rain. To be rewarded with an unexpected ten mile descent through the Serra Verde, fruit trees and vertiginous drops lining the cobbled road.
And onto the tourist paradise of Florianópolis, with the surfers, hipsters and holiday season out of towners: Brazilians, Uruguayans and Argentines all seduced by the wealthy European atmosphere and world-class beaches.
Southwards, to Rio Grande do Sul and the low-lying sandy peninsula separating the Atlantic from the ginormous Lagoa dos Patos and Lagoa Mirim. The flat, windswept marshland and pine forests, gaucho ranches and sparse, timber built villages strung out along the mostly silent, smooth road, straight to the border.
The road has taken me from the carefree vibrancy and musical pulse of Rio de Janeiro to the slow pastoral simplicity of those small Southern communities. I’ve eaten my body weight in buffet and bread, fallen in love with the fruit, cooled off under waterfalls, slept in hammocks and managed to get away with only one puncture.
I’d love to visit Brazil again someday. It’s such a huge and varied country with so much to offer. The ecology, the music and dance, the sport and the melting-pot mix of black and white, African, European, native. I read on a poster somewhere that the two cornerstones of Brazil’s future should be Environment and Development. Let’s hope it can find that subtle balance in the years ahead.
Brazil, tem sido um prazer. Muito obrigado para todos. Tchau!
Quick note: if you’ve enjoyed reading these posts, or if you see value and a challenge in this trip, or if you’d simply like to support a wonderful cause, it would be great if you drop a little sum towards my fundraising goal for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Head over to https://www.justgiving.com/Mike-Edmondstone/ to get involved. Thanks 🙂
Vida! Saúde! Felicidade!