Week 3 - Rio, Florianópolis and Faroupilha - Brazil
A day by day account of the first week in our 2022 travels through South America, Mexico, USA and Canada.
Thursday 17th February 2022
Due to the overcast afternoon that put a stop to our visit a couple of days prior, we got up early and headed to Christ The Redeemer and it did not disappoint. Before we went it was hard for us to imagine the scale of it, hoping that it would feel as imposing and impressive as we had hoped it would, and it was. Standing at the base you know that you are seeing something historical and unforgettable and it pays you back massively for travelling to see it. We got the train up the mountain and returned down walking through the woods which was an amazing experience. This was the first trip in which we had experienced wild monkeys, Iguana's and many other animals and it felt very unreal. the thing we noticed most about this was the fact that there is no warning on when they will show themselves which made it more breath-taking to see.
While coming down the mountain we had our first response from our first response on the website workaway. We secured a school to work at in a town called Faroupilha, in South Brazil, teaching/supporting at an English School. The arrangement for this is that we will support English learning 4 hours per day and in return we will get free accommodation, and all our meals provided. Things like this are important for us for a variety of reason not only financial, in regards to the longevity of our trip. We also get more input into our learning of other languages and cultures and we get to teach and interact with children from across the world, which is a big passion of ours
On return to the hostel (hostel Maresias do Leme), we joined some new friends from a range of countries; France, Ireland, Argentina, Austria, and we had some drinks while passing around the guitar until we all agreed to go to a local eatery for food and more drinks. It was great to share stories and get recommendations from people who had been in places that we were planning to go later in our trip. We also discussed language a lot and were very encouraged by our new Irish friend Colin who had made it from begiiners to conversational Spanish on his current trip. He said that he concentrated on talking to as many people as he could in a period of a couple of months and falling flat on his face until it clicked. We are going to do the same. We will be conversational in the next couple of months, fingers crossed.
Friday 18th February 2022
Today was the day we left the Hostel with a very heavy heart. It had been Megan's first taste of Hostel life and we had loved every minute of it. Many things contributed to this, such as the hostel staff themselves being very welcoming, a great bunch of people/new friends and a great location. Through a combination of the meaning it brought to our lives, the connections with people in such a short space of time, and the fact that we were leaving Rio, We actually felt physically emotional. We reminded ourselves of our traveling mantra that we use to break through the barrier of leaving, whether it be students or amazing friends. Either we leave them or at some point they will leave us. This works whether you realize that children will eventually grow up and leave school, no matter how long you stay and Travelers will also move on to new destinations, whether it be before or after you. We also learned to get more photos of the people we meet!
Despite having to leave, we had chosen a good night and a good time. This was the night that the hostel was trying out its first hostel party. They had a very basic set-up of a mobile speaker and spirits (cachaça), fruits and sugar to make Caipirinhas, but that's all they needed. The spirit in the hostel was what turned it into a party and very enjoyable get together. We had enough drinks to help us sleep on the bus, then took the Uber to the station.
Saturday 19th February 2022
Another overnight bus and another 19 hours we made it to Florianopolis but due to the longevity of the trip, departing at 11:30pm last night and arrival at 19:30pm tonight (with breaks), we only really had time to check-in and find a local place for food before bed.
With our bus journey's, where we can, we like to take overnight buses, which saves us a night on accommodation and also helps us to get rid of some of the journey by sleeping. We set off from Rio at 11:30 last night and arrived in sao Paulo at 06:30 this morning. We then had an hour wait in the terminal until our 07:30 bus to Florianopolis, which took 12 hours and got us in at 19:30 this evening. Basically we slept on the first bus and wrote, listened to music, planned and enjoyed the views on the second.
After leaving our bags at our place for the evening (Mandala Camping Pousada), we went to a local outdoor canteen style selection of food vans and got some food and a drink. We food a local guy who served a selection of amazing 'Churrasco' dishes. We both had a chopped steak baguette, including garlic butter, vinaigrette tomatoes, spicy sausage and batatas palha. We washed it down with a couple of Bohemia beers and walked along the lake back to get some sleep.
Sunday 20th February 2022
Today we wanted to explore Florianopolis the way we love doing it everywhere we go, on two wheels. We hired a bike from a local surf/outdoor shop for R$80 each which, looking back feels a little expensive, although we were not in the mood to shop around as we wanted to get out as soon as possible in the morning. Also, we were paid back ten-fold with enjoyment and amazing views. We cycled to the beach, cycled through the hills and back to the lake. We then jumped in the lake, as we cannot help but do, every time we go near it. It is quite shallow, faces the sunset and is a lot warmer than the sea. We like to do the sea earlier to wake us up and get our energy going and the lake to wind down into the evening.
The night consisted of more tasting of Brazilian Caipirinha's and our first experience of a Brazilian nightclub, which was hectic! It was an all face and worship the Dj while she pretends to twist knobs and fires you in the face with a fog gun type of affair. We had heard some good funk and soul coming from there earlier in the night, but it had turned to some sort of Brazilian trap by this point. We had a couple of bottles, felt out of place and then left. We then zig-zagged our bikes home along the side of the lake.
Monday 21st February 2022
Our bikes had to be back by mid-day today, so while Megan was getting ready for a day at the beach, I took the opportunity to do a small ride into the hills. It was only an hour or so, but with the temperature in the high 30's, I was drenched in sweat by the time I got back and would have definitely needed another shower if not for the fact that we were going into the sea. Also, at this point, we did not know how cold that sea was going to be either. We then returned the bikes and walked the mile or so to the beach (Praia da Joaquina) and spent many hours in the sea fighting with the waves.
Although we applied lots of sun cream, the combination of a very cold sea and a cloudy sky meant that we overestimated the amount of time that we could be out there without shelter. Needless to say, I have paid for this massively and the next few days are going to be very uncomfortable. I am red raw. We walked back to the lake at the end of the road to our 'Inn and Camping Complex' and bathed in the sunset, trying to ignore the fact that we had again been complacent with the power of nature.
Tuesday 22nd February 2022
Today we checked out of our room at Mandala Camping in Florianopolis and because we did not have a bus to Faroupilha, the host let us keep our belongings there until we were prepared to leave at about 9pm. We spent the day hiking and the evening swimming in the lake again and relaxing at the campsite.
For our evening meal, we indulged in even more Churrasco (Brazilian Barbequed meat), which is fast becoming our very favourite food. We arrived at the bus station at about ten o clock for 22:30 bus to Faroupilha, but due to an accident on the motorway, our bus did not arrive until midnight which meant a couple of hours sitting around to add to the 7 hours that we would be doing on the bus.
Wednesday 23rd February 2022
Today we arrived in our home for the next month, Faroupilha, Rio Grande do Sul, South Brazil after a 7 hour bus journey from Florianopolis. We then walked the mile or so from the station to our new language school 'Talkers', where we will be teaching English for a few hours each day in return for free accommodation, food and language/culture exchange. As soon as we arrived we were told to drop our bags and given cash by the school to go and get and big breakfast and we did not need telling twice after the overnight bus. We went to a local Cafe for pastries and coffee. after not much more than an hour back at the school, they came again with cash to go out for our dinner with the staff. We went to a local buffet restaurant and stocked up.
We had our first classes when we got back, our role being a support and conversational one, in order for the students to meet travelers, learn from other cultures and languages, and be inspired.
After our afternoon classes, our Workaway host Marcella picked us up in an Uber and took us back to her house. Marcella is a woman who is a adult learner at the school, studying Spanish at our school. She will be providing us with a bed and evening meals through the school and hopefully a lot of language exchange in the evenings.