Sorry all for the long period of bloglessness. The internet in paradise wassn’t quite up to scratch. We spent the last eleven nights in Ilha Grande and today we have our first full day in Paraty, an old colonial village that has the most uneven cobblestones you have ever seen. You have to keep your eyes on the ground at all times to ensure you don’t injure yourself! Paraty is still in the state of Rio de Janeiro, we got here by getting a ferry from Ilha Grande to Angra dos Reis, and then a bus from Angra to Paraty. We are staying at the Sereia do Mar Pousada & Hostel, it is an impressive place with lots of lounging areas and the sea only twenty-five yards away. We spent our first night wandering around the old town, and then had dinner with a couple from LA. All you can eat pizza, awesome. 😀
Ilha Grande was amazing, long sandy beaches, jungle everywhere else, no roads or cars and more palm trees than you can shake a stick at. We were staying at the Aquario Pousada and Hostel, and due to our long stay we were put up in the Captains Room. We had our own balcony overlooking the sea and a window that looks onto some jungle. The hostel itself was good; the kitchen isn’t the best which did lead to us eating our more than we can probably afford but on the plus side we did find a nice wee restaurant that gave us a free caiprinha every night we went.
We spent most of our days lounging on various beaches, with the highlight being Lopes Mendes beach. It has been voted one of the top ten beaches in the world by various publications and you can see why. The surf was huge on the day that we went, so much so that we actually got told by the lifeguard that we weren’t even allowed in to swim. Obviously we did not heed his warning and just moved further away down the beach but we maybe didn’t go for it quite as much as we would have. At any given time there were at least 4 tiers of waves, with the back wave being sufficiently huge enough that even we steered clear of it! We don’t think that it is always like that, it calls itself a surf beach but we saw numerous “surfers” with their boards but none of them actually took the boards in. The pictures don’t really do it justice!
Another highlight was visiting the Lagoa Azul, or Blue Lagoon. We went on an organised boat trip on our last day on the island, basically it was a large salt water lagoon that had thousands of fish in it. We saw numerous species, and when people threw food in the water they swarmed around you. A fishermans paradise if ever I have seen one! We also rented out snorkels to see the fish better, and the day was made worthwhile when Eilidh spotted a sea turtle, and we both swam around with that for a good 5 minutes. Very cool.
We also rented out kayaks one day and did a paddle around the bay of Abraao, which is the main village on the island and the one that we were staying in. We are not too sure how far we went but I reckon that it was at least 6km. We visited 3 of the islands in the bay and had to fight against the wind for the most part. We certainly knew that we had been doing something at the end of that day!
The rest of our time on the island was mostly spent either on the beaches close to Abraao, or doing some of the smaller hikes available on the island. We hiked up to a natural pool which was extremely refreshing, as well as visiting a ruin of an old prison that was closed down midway through the last century. We met some good people, like Ryan and Kathryn from Ireland and Paul from Liverpool. We had dinner with them one night, and Ryan and Paul foolishly drew Eilidh into a debate regarding British politics, many hours and a few beers later they thankfully reached an impasse with everyone agreeing to disagree. Ryan, Paul and I also played some beach football with a couple of Danes, a German and a couple of Brazilians. Beach football is hard, especially when you are playing in the heat of the day. The sand often does the defenders work for them and it is easily twice as knackering as playing on grass.
I have also finally got the photos up onto Flickr from Sugarloaf and our final days in Rio. We have been a bit more careful with my phone as it is still not working quite right, so some of the photos may have been taken through a waterproof casing. Therefore the quality may not be quite as good as we would like.
I will endeavour to ensure that the next blog does not take so long to go up, hopefully now that we are back on the mainland the internet connections will be better which makes it a lot easier for the blog to happen.