Week 6 in Florianopolis, Brazil

Week 6 in Florianopolis, Brazil

Today was to be the day that my bare backside had it’s first outing on a Brazilian beach.

Since it was our last week in Florianopolis we had a few places that we wanted to trick off our list. Barra Da Lagoa, another beach on the northern side of the island, was our next stop and it would also be the place where I decided that I would wear my Brazilian Biquini, and therefore have my bare bum debut.

Barra Da Lagoa

We were picked up by an Uber driver from our apartment in the morning.

We said the usual greeting “Oi” (which isn’t as rude as you think it is btw, this is infact the Portuguese greeting for “Hi”), which was promptly followed by our driver asking us in Portuguese how we were (I told you these Uber drivers like to chat – pretty much unheard of in London), so we replied back to him in English.

Seems him knowing that we were British was his cue to bombard us with a torrent of conversation. Unbeknownst to us, we had now opened up a can of word worms! This guy could speak 5 languages fluently: Portuguese, Italian (as his father was Italian and he went to Italian school for 5 years), Spanish (as his grandmother was from Uruguay), English (as he studied English for 4 years), and French (as he lived in both France and Italy as a ski instructor). I know this all because he felt the need to tell us as if he were coming for an interview. He soon proceeded to recount his life story (in impressive English it has to be said) and confirmed that he had lived in Rio for most of his life but had moved to Floripa a few years ago and so could confirm that in his opinion Florianopolis was the best place in the whole of Brazil in which to live. Not because it was necessarily the most beautiful or had the most work opportunities he said, but because of the culture, the quality of life, the people and the low crime rate, not to mention the natural beauty which is pretty much a given in Brazil.

We could agree with him on that. Since we had been here and many times before we had arrived in Brazil we had heard many things (many bad things) about the crime level. Alas, I could say without hesitation that since we had arrived here in Floripa almost 6 weeks ago there hadn’t been a hint of dodgy dealings or questionable people in the area either. We both felt very safe, the importance of which cannot be understated when you are travelling in a foreign country.

He asked us how we had found the place and how long we had been here for. We told him that we were leaving on Saturday and so were just ticking off a few more places on our list whilst we still had the time. He then proceeded to tell us about the current state of affairs in Brazilian politics. He said that the Brazilians knew that their current prime minister was crazy but out of the 2 choices they had, he was surprisingly the better as the other candidate had connections with the former President, one of the last many Brazilian Presidents who had been imprisoned for corruption offenses – a common theme here. So he said that even though he did not care for this current President they didn’t have any better options at the time (they only get 2 candidates to choose from). Thankfully he said, he has since made a few good decisions since being in office and they have a better suited President lined up for the next election in a few years time.

He told us that he could ski, scuba dive, surf and goodness knows what else – this man was really beginning to make us feel decidedly lazy!

As interesting as he was, he was driving like a bit of a maniac (even for Brazilian standards which were famously fear inducing: even the women drivers drove too fast), and as soon as we told him that the next destination on our travels was Trancoso in Bahia he almost began salivating at the mouth and whilst driving erratically on the motorway proceeded to use his free hand to type in places on his phone for us to see. He also confirmed what we already knew, that despite having not visited Bahia yet, it was famously beautiful. We both began to become increasingly alarmed as he swerved in and out of traffic on the motorway like a mad man, overtaking cars and trucks at close proximity and at high speed, whilst talking a dime a dozen, sweating like a pig (and the sweat odour was beginning to creep it’s way into the back seat to fill my nostrils in the most unpleasant way!), and operating the mobile phone on his dashboard to show us what he was was recommending. The man was crazy.

Apparently amongst all of the other language learning, living and working abroad and multiple hobbies, this sweaty man also had the time to be a tour guide on the island! In the short time that we’d met this guy we basically knew his back story, and that wasn’t all, he was determined (despite being an Uber driver and not a private chauffeur) to show us a few of his recommendations on the way to Barra Da Lagoa. The experience was strange, but we were in no particular rush and it was pretty cool to have a conversation aka a mini tour! and recommendations from a well travelled local.

The first place he took us to was called the Belvedere Look Out Point, a strategically placed point located in the middle of the island at a high point where you could get panoramic views of Floripa. Neither of us had even heard of it before so we were delighted when he said that he would take us there (and unlike Uber in London, Uber here in Brazil is a fixed price so he wasn’t making any money out of these stops). Still, I didn’t expect him to actually park up and get out of the car with us to show us the best spot to take a picture and then offer to take said picture!

 

Belvedere Look Out Point

I realised that the man was somehow involved in doing tours but we had already told him that we were leaving in a few days so it wasn’t like he could expect us to be booking one of his tours, and to be fair to him he wasn’t actively promoting them, he just seemed excited to be able to show us around. When he jumped out of the car to show us Belvedere Look Out Point I confirmed what I already knew: that the man had been getting himself into a right state and was perspiring all down his back. The black shirt that he was wearing (not a great colour to wear in 30 degree heat when driving around allday), was soaked through and the odour was now beginning to permeate the vehicle.

Worst thing was that both Josh and I were unable to calm the man down! He was very excited to have come into contact with a couple from England and was now seemingly committed to taking us anywhere that we happened to mention on route to our destination. Josh had mentioned in passing the fact that he was interested in possibly taking up kite boarding (more as a response to his comment about his hobbies rather then a hint for suggestions), so then the man offered to take us to a kite boarding school near the beach.

He then started going on and on about a hostel on the island (the best one on the island he said, better then a 5 star hotel he said), telling us about all of the facilities that they had and that they were located right on the beachfront. I wasn’t sure what age he thought Josh and I was, or where he thought we were staying but we don’t seek to stay in hostels and we were happy in our Airbnb apartment which was also located on the beachfront thank you very much, but of course we didn’t tell him that for fear of him perspiring even more then he already was! We were trying to keep our responses to a minimum. Judging by his prior behaviour it didn’t come as much of a surprise to us as he pulled up outside this hostel that he had been banging on about. As we walked into the hostel with the Uber driver with the sweaty back, we passed a girl coming out who he proceeded to greet (in German!). I tell you, this man was something else. We were still struggling with the basics in Portuguese! lol.

So he took us inside. Now I’m no snob but I am not a backpacker. Despite the fact that we were in South America for a long time I had no intention of staying in any hostels thank you very much. I am not sociable enough to be surrounded by lots of random people (most of whom were likely to be 10 years plus younger then me), sharing communal spaces with them and trying to pretend that I’m friendly and trendy when I’m not. I just like be in a clean clutter free environment with a bit of peace and quiet. Preferably in a good area that’s close to amenities. I do not wish to try to find companions, which I understand is different if you’re travelling alone or with girlfriends, and perhaps also yes, I do have a bit of an idea of what a “hostel” looks and feels like, and even though I do understand that some of them can be very design focused and with mature guests, I worry about creepy crawlies and cleanliness levels in these kinds of places.

So whilst this man was singing this hostels praises to high heaven, Josh and I both knew in the back of our minds that unless this was a  special ., ultra clean, boutique type of hostel in an exceptional location that there was no way that either of us would stay in such a place. To be fair to him, it had the laid back bohemian, tropical vibe that I like and which reminded me a little of Bali, but that’s where the similarities ended as this place was quite frankly: tired. Even the staff who he greeted with his usual over the top loudness looked tired. The design of the place, with it’s chalk board advertising it’s “Beach Clean Up”, “Acai” and “Surf School” sounded great – very hippy, very boho. But the place was in need of some serious TLC and it just wasn’t cutting the mustard. I’m sure that it looked great at one point in time: it had a mini skate park (again with the trying to be cool thing), a pool table and hammocks (nice touch), but everything was in disrepair and the gardens which leaded out to the beach looked dry and overgrown and in desperate need of some water.

And as I assumed, the people who we did see staying there were the back packers trying to spend only £1 a day types, that in this poorly maintained garden just looked sad. We made the appropriate noises with the Uber driver, realising that despite whatever we thought of the place, we weren’t actually in charge here. We would clearly only get to leave when this guy wanted to leave! The Uber driver was clearly determined to make his presence known in this place, in particular to the guy on the front desk who was perhaps the manager or owner and maybe he was trying to pretend to bring 2 interested Brits to his hostel, but either way there was no way that either Josh or I would stay somewhere like this and even though this garden was a decent size, it was shared with tonnes of backpackers and in comparison, our garden was beautiful and very well maintained, quiet, and was located on a very lovely beach where we could actually swim! We stood there like lemons listening to him waffle on for a few minutes with the guy on the front desk and eventually he said goodbye and we left. For what it offered, in terms of originality, creating a real beachy boho vibe, I’m sure it was possibly the best hostel on the island, but unless they do a renovation soon it will shortly become the worst.

Finally, after our driver passed by a wind surfing school, which said it was Alfredo (Open), but was actually Fechado (closed) a word we are very familiar with on this island, we reached our destination: Barra Da Lagoa.

Another day, another beautiful Brazilian beach

I was in two minds as to whether this beach was even worth visiting initially. Well, when you’ve got 42 to choose from it’s hard to know where to begin and where to end. But Josh had looked at the surrounding area and decided that it was still worth a visit, especially since Barra Da Lagoa had a beach on one side and a lake on the other and some sand dunes for good measure: intriguing!

Barra Da Lagoa was another vast Brazilian beach, both in width and in length. Make no mistake: the Brazilian people were extremely blessed in the beach department! The sky was perfectly blue, with hardly a cloud in the sky. The beach was natural and wild, with miles and miles of powdery white sand and the sea was a gorgeous shade of blue with large white foamy waves similar to Campeche and Joaquina but not as rough nor as cold.

It was a really windy day so we wanted to find somewhere where we weren’t going to get sand all over our bodies and blown into our eyes. We wanted to find somewhere with a little protection from the elements. Pretty easy to do on a beach that is so wide that you could find a private space just for you where you won’t be disturbed by anyone.

And this was just aswell as I had chosen this day to be brave and wear my first Brazilian Biquini in public, and as I could feel by the chafing between my bum crease: this audacious exposure was very much a reality.

Once we had found somewhere to sunbathe, we went for a romantic stroll along the beach when we spotted what looked like a large sized condom from afar.

Condom Jellyfish

When we got up close to this thing I couldn’t believe what it was I was seeing. It was transparent with a blue, purplish hue, and it literally looked like a big condom! It was even pulsating and had a “fatty deposit” at it’s tip. I realise that this sounds vile but I can only describe what I saw and it looked like a condom I’m telling you! Infact the only way that we knew it wasn’t a huge condom was because the thing was vibrating and because we could see tiny stringy looking tentacles emerging from it’s underside (so small that if the thing were not a bloody pulp I probably wouldn’t have seen it at all). The tiny tentacles basically just looked like thin threads of string, but they were also red, so I guessed that the jellyfish was dead (or dying) and I certainly had no intention of prodding it to find out!

I saw a second, bigger condom jellyfish a few minutes later, both had just washed up on the beach. Since these horrendous things were so abundant here it didn’t make me particularly keen on swimming there now let me tell assure you.

When the time was right (meaning there was nobody else about), my bare bottom made it’s first foray into the world. And it was fine. Totally fine. Nothing happened to me or my bum, and I’m sure that since everyone else here seems to wear them with such ease that they wouldn’t have bat an eyelid seeing me wearing one anyway.

After sunbathing for no more then 40 minutes we went for lunch at a restaurant on the beach. Unlike the beach where we were staying (Jurere), it seemed as though all of the other beaches on the island had somewhere to go for lunch which didn’t make any sense to me. I mean Jurere did have beach clubs (infact none of the other beaches even had any beach clubs as the beach clubs were all located in Jurere), but they weren’t open for business – they only opened for “high season” and none of their websites specified when the high season was!

I guess you would only know if you were Brazilian! Extremely annoying. Anyway thankfully this beach seemed to have lots of beach restaurants to choose from and as we really couldn’t be bothered to look at the menu’s of them all we just chose the one where we were the least harassed (each restaurant had people posted on the beach who were responsible for bringing people in), but if they knew us then they should know that that’s exactly where we WON’T be going. As expected the food was a disappointment, but thankfully the drinks were not (I had passionfruit juice and Josh had an Acai smoothie). Yes the food was disappointing (they didn’t cook the chips properly and Josh’s burger looked questionable to say the least), but they had a toilet and they gave us a table on the beach with an umbrella which was much appreciated.

Talking of windsurfing, because of the strong wind, today was actually the perfect day to do wind surfing. We watched a few guys go at it for awhile – it looked like they couldn’t get enough and they were actually able to pick up some serious speed on the water. Josh still hopes to be able to give it a go at some point, if not here then perhaps somewhere in Europe. I could also see lots of people learning to surf here, and it looked MUCH easier to learn how to surf here then it did in Joaquina the day that we went. Which reminds me, our Uber man also offered to introduce us to a gold winning female surfer (so she could teach me how to surf of course)!

There were 2 annoying American’s sitting on the table next to us. This was not the first European voice that we had heard since arriving in Barra da Lagoa so it came as a bit of a shock as we weren’t used to hearing any other accents where we were staying but it seemed like it was much more touristy here.

I’m sure that there are states where American voices aren’t so annoying but for some reason most American female voices (especially) that I hear really grate on my nerves. And since I hadn’t really heard another foreign (meaning not Brazilian) voice for more then a month now it was particularly annoying. But it also has to be said that the CONTENT of the average American conversation is possibly what grates most of it. They are so.very.BASIC.  Just the kinds of conversations they have always seem to be so superficial. These girls were waffling on about utter nonsense, making petty comparisions of countries around the world and it just went on forever! I really couldn’t stand it but unfortunately I was far too relaxed on my chair on the beach to leave and let them get on with it! lol. Thankfully for Josh his hearing isn’t the greatest so he was blissfully unaware of the basic conversation I was having to endure (in a whiny, high pitched, extremely annoying American accent). Bloody awful.

Barra Da Lagoa

Afterwards we decided to go and have a look around the town. Expecting it to mirror the chilled out surfer vibe of the beach we were disappointed to find a rundown, sad town in a state of disrepair, with lots of shops selling cheap tatt (much like the ones in Centro were), even the pastries in the bakery looked sad, and there was dog droppings everywhere.

What is it with these people and their dogs??

Honestly, I’ve never seen so many dogs. I thought that Brits liked their dogs but these Brazilians LOVE their dogs. They are everywhere! And not the mutt ones either, they are pretty much all pedigree. Unfortunately they don’t seem to have the culture of cleaning up after said dogs and we have seen enough crusty dog poo to last a lifetime thank you very much, especially in this town I’m afraid to say. Beach: Beautiful. Town: Rundown.

We walked to the lake which was on the other side of the beach. It was a gorgeous emerald green colour and looked very clean. Lots of locals were swimming in it, paddle boarding on it and even snorkeling in it. There was a colony of exotic looking birds sitting atop the rocks which jutted out of the lake. Little colourful painted houses were perched on the hilltop overlooking it creating a mirror affect in the water. Fisherman and groups of competitive seniors played chess underneath the bridge in the sunshine. We decided to walk across the bridge and see what else we could discover about this place.

The first thing we noticed as we crossed the bridge was the dog poo. We walked through the narrow windy streets with rickety houses on both sides, side stepping encrusted dog poo as we went. We weren’t inspired by what we were seeing but there were so many people coming from the direction we were going towards that we continued on wondering what lay ahead. Eventually after a bit more climbing up the steep hilly incline we came to a sign that told us that there was a natural swimming area that you would have to hike to get to. It recommended not attempting the hike in sandals (which we were both wearing), but of course Josh was curious and wanted to proceed and see what it was all about. I, on the other hand, was not convinced however I didn’t want to let the side down so I followed him up!

Piscinas Naturais 

The hike itself was pretty easy (in comparison to the ones we’ve done in Thailand for instance), but what we weren’t entirely sure was how long it was going to go on for or just how difficult it was going to get further on. What we were blessed with though was a total contrast from the rundown town with it’s cheapo shops, questionable looking people and dog poo. An immensity of nature: Stunning natural forest trails, a panoramic view of the entire beach which looked glorious, a still turquoise sea, and a pure silence. I was hoping for, but didn’t expect this, and it was a pleasant and most welcome surprise. I didn’t mind the physical exertion, despite not being prepared for it or wearing the right clothing (and we were still carrying our beach bag), I felt good just being out in the fresh air and the sunshine enjoying what Brazil was offering us.

We walked through a trail covered by trees on both sides and then we saw huge, aggressive looking rock formations jutting out of the sea. Where do we go now? Looking at the locals right in front of us (carrying a 3 year old child), I watched in awe as they jumped on them, wearing no better footwear then us (we were at least wearing Birkenstocks which thankfully had some grip), but these people didn’t seem fazed in any way by the fact that if they made one slip on these gigantic rocks then both them and the innocent child they were carrying would fall to there watery deaths. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to chance this..I didn’t even know how to get to the water below that I could see crashing against the rocks they were jumping on. Would my sandals grip? And what if the rocks were slippery?

Josh and I made it down to the halfway point but rather then jumping onto the sharp jagged rocks jutting out of the sea precariously we decided to sit down watching the dare devil locals do backflips into the sea while the sun went down. No doubt this was a very special place indeed.

When we got home Josh’s back was red raw! For the first time since arriving in Brazil he had actually burnt himself. Neither of us could quite believe it as we had only sunbathed for about 40 minutes and it was so windy that it hadn’t felt very hot at all but the redness of his back said something different. Typically, he had also forgotten to apply suncream on this one occasion. Duh!

The views on the way to Piscinas Naturais  

Brazilians love football and for the first time today I found out that they, along with being pretty good at traditional football, also have a Beach Football World Cup! Who would have thunk it?

The Dry Cleaners, or Lavenderia’s as they’re called here, have destroyed my clothes.

When we arrived at our apartment I was very annoyed to find that there was no washing machine. I can see clearly where it SHOULD have gone as there is a gap underneath the kitchen counter top but for some reason that I cannot explain for the life of me, these people opted to leave out the washing machine. Washing ones clothes is not a luxury, it is a necessity yet it seems as though based on the sheer volume of Lavenderia’s in the neighbourhood, that rather then own a washing machine people used these places to wash their clothes instead. After getting over the initial disappointment of realising that I would now have to regularly traipse to one of these places with my dirty clothes over the next 6 weeks not to mention the awkwardness of having to try and communicate in a foreign language, it was also just bloody inconvenient, but that’s not the worst thing. Oh no, the worst thing is that despite us going to the Lavenderia that was recommended to us by our apartment manager, these people have destroyed a piece of clothing everytime that I have gone!

First it was my dress, which though not particularly pricey was still in good knick when I gave it to them but was returned to me with pieces of the threading unravelled in 3 separate places.

Then it was my white jeans. They came back more less white then they were when they went in!

Then, my shorts: I had accidentally dropped some coconut oil on them whilst I was greasing my scalp that morning. Well, these people (professional cleaners I hasten to add), returned my shorts to me with the same oil stain that I had given it to them with!

The last straw was my jeans. For some strange reason, when they returned my jeans to me, the zip was broken. What ON EARTH are these people doing to the clothes over there??

I actually had to pay to get the apartment manager to find someone to put a new zip on my jeans and I ended up getting the oil stain out myself using bog standard washing detergent from the supermarket, so why couldn’t they?

Naturally, after all of this nonsense, I was determined to find somewhere else to clean my clothes. But could we find anyone who would take them??

The answer is NO.

We went to 2 other local Lavenderia’s who both told us that no, they could not clean our clothes. Have you ever heard such a ridiculous thing?? Can’t clean? From a laundrette?! But alas, 2 bags of clothes they apparently could not clean. They both said that it would take them 3+ days to do our washing. Seriously? And one of the women, who we had asked before if she could fix the zip on my jeans and said no then too, had an eye missing. What are these people about?! I fumed. I thought that they were cleaners? – Goodness gracious me.

In the end we had NO CHOICE but to return back to the scene of the crime: We had to give our dirty clothes that we had been lugging around town trying to find someone to take from us, back to the Lavenderia who had destroyed them in the firstplace. I really hoped that they wash them properly and do not mash up my clothes this time!!

Oh, to be wild and free

The weather is supposed to be good tomorrow. At the top of our list of plans we wanted to do in Florianopolis was to see Lagoinha do Leste, the famous Florianopolis beach which is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil and requires a hike to get to. We are currently trying to decide whether to do the hours drive then a 2 and half hours long trek with “paradise views” to or whether to attempt the hour long but very steep climb through covered forest instead. There is also an optional second part for more adventurous climbers (or people who just HAVE to have the picture for their Instagram), once you arrive at Lagoinha do Leste another hour long climb will take you to Moro da Coroa which we have seen many pictures of making it’s rounds on the internet. Moro da Coroa which is the highest climbable point on the mountain, rewards you with a breathtakingly beautiful panaroma of the entire beach and beyond. But since that’s a verticle climb up steep rocky formations I don’t think that either of us will be taking that one on! Especially since getting back down will likely be even more difficult then going up.

After reading some online reviews we decided to take the longer, easier route partly because we didn’t know exactly what level of difficulty their “difficult” was, and the longer route supposedly had incredible views of the coastline the whole way. The other route was via a covered forest so wasn’t as picturesque. As Lagoinha do Leste wasn’t very accessible to the public due to the difficulty in getting to it, we had to bring food and drinks with us as we were told that there were no facilities there.

So we strapped on our trainers, slathered on suncream and sprayed generous amounts of insect repellant and off we went. After the hours long drive down to our first beach: Praia do Matadeiro then via Praia Da Armacao we finally arrived at the start of our trail. I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, I just knew that we had to see this marvel of nature. We had seen it on a vlog on Florianopolis a few months back and had been determined to see it ever since. I wondered whether there would be anyone else as crazy as us attempting this hike just to get to a beach when there was another 41 easily accessible ones to see!

Entering the trail the first thing that I noticed was how dark and cool it was in comparison to the intense heat of the sun which had been baring down on my back. Both Josh and I were carrying rucksacks with our beach towells, flip flops for the sand, water and some lunch. I was grateful for the cool breeze which came from above the forest, rustling through the trees and promising us some respite from the sun. We started walking through a rocky trail with densely packed forest either side of us and all was fine at first. There were breaks in the forest where we could see the coastline we were following and we could hear the constant sound of the waves roaring as they crashed onto the rocks.

Trekking through the forest soon turned into hiking through the forest as I tried in earnest to concentrate on not tripping over or twisting my ankle on the sporadically placed rocks jutting out of the muddy, uneven ground. The trail went this way and that, and sometimes it was hard to know which way to go as it suddenly petered out and then we had to search for it’s faint marking again through the densely covered forest. Goodness knows what would happen if we got lost in here I thought. Amongst the heavy silence, the rustling in the forest trees and bushes got louder and more frequent the deeper we went into the jungle seeming to almost echo and after 10 minutes of walking suddenly our views of the coast disappeared completely and we were plunged into partial darkness. The only light came from the dappled beam of sunlight beaming through the trees, our only company, ourselves. And the giant iguanas, much bigger then the ones that we had encountered near our apartment but thankfully just as tame, ran away upon hearing us, we saw their giant lizard like tail swooshing through the undergrowth as they went. But as for the other sounds, they were loud and alien to my ear. What I couldn’t see I was afraid to search for, and what I could hear I wasn’t particularly keen on encountering. Such as the hissing sound of snakes and the loud humm of the cicada’s who were a little too close to my ear for comfort. I was imagining that this might be the perfect resting place for Tarantula’s too – dark, cool, and with lots of vegetation for it to camoflage itself under. NOT ideal.

It soon became clear that this supposedly “easier” hike through the forest and mountain was not easy at all. Not at all. Coupled with the fact that I felt distinctly uneasy about sharing such close proximity with giant iguana’s, snakes and goodness knows what else, the hike was also quite technically difficult and now that we had lost the pleasure of the coastal views we were now very much on our own trying to navigate a very faint trail, that was both technically difficult and exhausting, and I had no way of knowing whether it was going to get any harder. I certainly hoped not. We were basically traversing up and over a mountain in order to get to this beach. We had to climb, clamber, step, jump and slide through the forest, up, around and over streams, logs, rocks and bushes until about an hour later we eventually came to a clearing. Now we were required to do the same again, this time on the cliff top of this mountain which we had to get around (whilst staying in one piece of course), as the swirling sea below, beautiful to behold but angry and powerful and ready to swallow up any inexperienced climbers from London whilst the wind howled around us, pushed us towards the cliff. It was at this point when I began to wander just what on earth we were doing there. Was it really necessary to go through ALL THIS just to see a beach? Especially when we had so many perfect ones within easy reach? – But I guess it was.

The moment that both of us had heard about Lagoinha do Leste we just knew that we had to see it. And perhaps it’s inaccessibility, rarity and unspoilt natural beauty was what really attracted us. And anyway, it was too late now. We were already half way up this mountain and giving up would mean trekking back through that forest again which was something that I was not keen to do. No, we’d just have to plod on regardless. And try to conserve some energy for the remaining hour and a half of the journey, because goodness knows what else this mountain is going to throw at us! Easy? Yeah right! (to be fair to the bloggers, nobody actually said that it was easy, they just said that it was “easier” then the hour long hike from the South Swamp end, but that remained to be seen).

What was going through my mind was the finality of it all. If either of us made a wrong move here and tripped, I wasn’t entirely sure that we would survive because there was a verticle drop into the sea from this clifftop and not only did I not want Josh to perish here, I didn’t want to have to explain to his Mum why I had agreed to letting him do this hike wearing his 20 years old Adidas trainers that consequently tore at the front in the exertion of the climb.

The surrounding views were staggering beautiful. Like a dream too beautiful to dream. But my eyes could not appreciate it fully as I was concentrating on staying alive! That was my aim and my only aim at this time. I just put one foot in front of the other, told my tired legs that we would be there soon and kept on climbing.

Suddenly we rounded the cliff and then we were out fully onto a vast area of densely packed scrubland. We proceeded to hike through and up it, scratching our legs on the cactus’ and stinging nettles that covered the area in the process. And then we saw her in her full glory, this beach that promised so much but asked for just a little more from us in return. The relief in reaching this utterly exquisite beach was palpable. We weren’t alone though, a couple of other brave souls had made the journey here too and were seemingly enjoying the seclusion and perfection of a beach that was almost untouched.

This was a luxurious beach. A wild and natural beauty.

Located tucked within a wide bay, and with that unbelievably thick and pure sand, the sand here was more yellow, the sea even wilder, freezing cold to the touch and as clear as glass. The lush green bay surrounding it kept this paradise a complete secret from all but those who dared to discover her. With the sea on one side and a glassy lagoon on the other, she reigned supreme over them all. I had heard that this beach was possibly the best beach in all of Brazil and now that I’ve sampled her exquisite beauty for myself I can well believe that this is true.

Hiking to Lagoinha do Leste

Lagoinha do Leste

Contentment

Afterwards we took the hour long “more difficult” trail back. This was for 2 reasons: the length of time that it would take us to go back the way we came (more then double the time) and the fact that neither of us thought that the hike had been easy at all. We figured that if the other trail was just as hard or even harder, then we would rather save the time and go back that way. The wind was very strong and was seemingly getting stronger. I did not want to have to climb down a mountain whilst the wind was inching me towards the sea below.

After doing the “harder” trail we both agreed that in our opinion it was not harder. It was just bloody knackering. But so was the other trail and the other route took an hour and a half longer in duration plus it was technically more difficult and covered 3 terrains: the deep dark forest, the windy cliff top and a scrubland filled with stinging nettles. Also, even though it was more picturesque overall, the forest part was the longest part of the trail and there were no sea views whilst we were making our way through it. On the way back we stopped at our fourth beach: Pantana Do Sol which was much more beach bum friendly.

Tomorrow we leave this paradise island of Florianopolis in search of another: Trancoso, in Bahia, Brazil.

Florianopolis: You had me at beach. If you are a beach lover, you couldn’t really do much better then this Brazilian island with it’s abundance of beautiful natural beaches that most people outside of Brazil have never seen and don’t even know exist. However to say that this island has stolen my heart would be a bit of an untruth. The people are friendly and clearly there is alot of money here (especially in Jurere Internationale) and it is safe, but there is perhaps something missing in my estimation from what makes a destination truly memorable. A soul, an atmosphere, an authenticity maybe. The food hasn’t been great, and the bossa nova and samba music that I was eager to hear never did surface. They are perhaps a little too Americanised here, and are in need of that special ingredient: Brazilian Soul.

My observations on my journey thus far:

The Brazilian people look good

They’re really into their fitness

They like pedigree dogs, local beer and of course, football!

It’s always beef, seafood or Italian. Oh and preferably buffet style

Their pronounciation for things is odd. Like Cevejas for instance, which is beer, is pronounced Suh Vess Ah

The people are very friendly

Their beaches are incredibly beautiful

Lavenderia’s (laundrettes) sometimes do not want to wash your clothes!

And many shops stay Fechado (closed) even when they should be Alfredo (open)

Condomfish is a regular occurrence

You cannot flush toilet tissue down the loo

Acai is my new favourite thing

Wearing a Brazilian Biquini is the norm for Brazilian women of all ages

Uber drivers like to make conversation with you even when you tell them you can only speak English

 

Josh and I in Barra Da Logoa 

 

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