Its the fourth and final installment of the ‘Kia & Will Explore South America’ blog, oh no!
Don’t worry, by the time you’ve finished reading about all of these adventures and enjoying my many photos, there will be plenty more exciting things heading your way.
Part Four includes: A bus tour of Curitiba city, Hansel & Gretel trails, Sugarcane juice, Botanical Gardens, The beautiful island of Florianópolis, amazing beaches, Brazilian cooking, and chocolate pizzas!
Bus Tour of Curitiba (Including Botanical Gardens)
Can you tell by these photos of a bus and an Asian tourist snapping photographs whilst earing a funny cap what we did in Curitiba on Tuesday?
That’s right, We went on a bus tour!
Now, first things first, quite a few people had expressed confusion when I told them that we were visiting this city, “Why Curitiba?”
Well, the main reasons for which I included it in our itinerary were:
A) It is somewhere to stop on our way from Bonito to Florianópolis that isn’t São Paulo. (São Paulo doesn’t really appeal to me). B) It is well known for its Botanical Gardens; both Will and I really enjoy interesting plants and we love a good Botanical Gardens trip. And C) Why not?
In hindsight I can understand why people didn’t think it was a good use of our travel time, its not a bad place, but when compared to the array of beautiful and interesting places to visit in such an amazing country like Brazil, it doesn’t exactly come out at the top of the list.
Nevertheless we still had a good day exploring on our open-top tourist bus, enjoying the sun, taking photos and eating ice-cream. Our 4 chosen stops were:
1) Passeo Público: a park that perhaps used to be a lot nicer but is now pretty crummy. Although its redeeming qualities were that I saw one of the coolest birds I’ve ever seen in my life (an Abyssian Ground Hornbill) and we tried some strangely satisfying Bacon-Flavoured popcorn.
2) Bosque Alemão (German Wood): an amazing place dedicated to Curitiba’s German immigrants. Includes ‘The Enchanted House’, ‘The Philosopher’s Tower’ (with a great view of the city!) and ‘The Hansel and Gretel Trail’ (a fab little trail through the woods with story boards that tell the tale of Hansel & Gretel, or, amusingly to Will, Joaozinho e Margarida in Portuguese)
3) Parque Tingui: A big park dedicated to the Guarani Indians which made a great stop for us to have our leftover-pizza-picnic and try some delicious freshly made Caldo de Cana. (Sugarcane juice!)
4) Jardim Botânico (Botanical Gardens): We had a lovely time wandering about the gardens and Curitiba’s landmark art-nouveau greenhouse. To my disappointment the senses garden was closed by the time we got there, but I was still very happy that we managed to squeeze in a visit to the gardens at all because our journey time over ran by a lot and I was worried that we would never get there! We spent the rest of the afternoon there sitting on the grass banks and enjoying the views of the French gardens and some funny little birds, then walked back to our hotel which wasn’t too far away.
On Tuesday evening we watched a storm roll in across the city from our 11th story balcony, and settled in for the night, and the next day too…
Stormy Day In
The rain that started on Tuesday evening never really stopped throughout Wednesday day, so we had our first day-in in what seemed like forever!
We made the mistake of watching the Pilot episode of Suits and got completely addicted, so it of course became a binge-watching Netflix kinda day. We ordered in some amazing sushi to the hotel and even though we achieved nothing I thought it was wonderful to have such a chilled out day.
Travelling to Florianópolis
Travelling, travelling, travelling. Yep, after one day of exploring and one day of relaxing it was time to leave Curitiba already. We spent around 5 hours on a bus from there to Florianópolis, but it was the comfiest bus we had been on so far and spent the time admiring the beautiful scenery we passed through in between a lot of cosy naps; time well spent.
So far I’ve been summarising each day of our trip separately, mainly because we were so busy enjoying all sorts of adventures, however the visit to our last destination was more about relaxing in the sunshine and enjoying some quality time together before Will leaves and I spend my 5 month university semester here. So I will summarise days 25- 34 together and just mention the highlights, otherwise you would just be reading a list repeating the words “beach, sea, sun, sand, body-boarding, beautiful views, basically paradise, drinking coconut water, food, food, more food, etc.”
Arriving in Florianópolis (Casa dos Acores B&B)
As mentioned, we spent most of our days at beautiful beaches either sunbathing or having fun body-boarding on the big waves. When we weren’t doing this we were most likely munching away all of our money on delicious food or drinking too much. Here are some of the highlights:
Casa dos Açores cama e café (& the food there):
Run by a lovely Brazilian woman called Simone, our B&B really made our stay enjoyable. It was decorated in such a lovely rustic way and there were so many hammocks, cushioned crates and swinging chairs to sit in outside that we spent quite a lot of our time there simply relaxing in the gardens. Not to mention that Simone is a professor of gastronomy. Which meant that not only was the breakfast there the best of our trip, including freshly baked breads, muffins, tapioca, and delicious fruit salads, but we also had the pleasure of enjoying some delicious home-cooked dinners there with a couple of other guests. Amongst other great things, Simone made us a typical, coconutty, Brazilian Moqueca, and a very hearty Churrasco (Literally. We ate loads of chicken hearts, and they were surprisingly really nice!) As well as far too many variations on the Caipirinha cocktail. (All of them very, very strong indeed)
Exploring the best beaches & trails
Praia Açores: the closest beach to our B&B and probably my favourite beach. Even though the sea is the most beautiful shades of blue/green, the sand is amazingly soft, and the beach is surrounded by lush green mountains and views of little islands- it is still relatively quiet! And its big waves make it perfect for body boarding. We spent time on this beach almost every day and have some great memories there.
Trilha Solidão- Saquinho: on our last day in the South of the island we walked a trail from our beach which passed through beaches Solidão and Saquinho, and also a beautiful waterfall. Although when I say trail, it was more like a hike, there were some very steep hills and it was quite exhausting to do (especially in flip-flops) but it was 100% worth it for the stunning views:
Eating far too much
Evening Walks to Pântano do Sul: When we weren’t having an evening meal cooked by Simone, we usually went to nice restaurants. Seeing as there was hardly anything in the area where we were staying, we would walk to the next little town Pântano do Sul most nights via the beach, hand in hand, and talk about our day, how romantic 🙂
Bar do Arante: One of the places in Pântano do Sul where we ate dinner (a huge plate of battered prawns? yes please!) This bar/restaurant was very special because of its unique quirk; everyone that visits is encouraged to write a message on a little slip of paper and stick it up, which means that the entire place is covered wall to ceiling with hanging pieces of paper and messages from all over the world!
Restaurante Mandala:The best seafood restaurant in Pântano do Sul, where we enjoyed a lot of swordfish and squid, yummy!
Pé de moleque: Portuguese for peanut-brittle, for some reason it is really popular here and we ended up getting into a habit of buying some almost every day (might be slightly addicted now, oops!)
Antartica: Our favourite beer, which we definitely drank too much of.
Sweet Pizzas: Last but not least, another indulgence of ours. Think: sweet base smothered with chocolate, strawberries, cream, and condensed milk. Diabetes waiting to happen but sooo tempting.
Moving to the City
On Monday we had to say goodbye to the beautiful area of Açores in the South of the Island and move me into my apartment near the (still beautiful) area of Lagoa da Conceição. I was grateful that Will got to help me settle in and spent one night with me in the new apartment before he had to leave. We had a nice celebratory last supper at a nearby Sushi restaurant and reflected a lot on what a great experience these 35 days have been. On Tuesday morning Will left and I nearly flooded the airport because I was honestly crying a river.
Luckily, I only had to spend one (horribly lonely) week alone before the lovely Ana came to live with me, I’m certain that there will be plenty of posts about our Florianópolis shenanigans to follow, including visits to many, many, more beaches… Stay tuned!
Thanks for reading, feel free to comment, I love reading what you have to say 🙂