After the UP festival we arrived in Barra Grande with no idea where we would stay. There were a bunch of festival people on the bus / boat trip, mostly they were Brazilians, but we happened to meet an Indian couple who we teamed up with. All four of us were in the same boat, we didn’t have accommodation and we didn’t speak Portuguese.
As the 4 of us walked into the Barra Grande town center we found a buffet restaurant and decided to eat some food, drink some beer and regroup. After an amazing buffet lunch, Karan (Shaneez’s husband) and I went walking around the area to find a Pousada. We walked up and down every possible within a 1-2km radius on the west side of the island, we asked about 15 different Pousadas, but got a negative answer from all of them on availability. It was however useful to ask for prices, we found out that the going rate was between R$200 and R$350 per night for a double room.
We circled back round to where our wives were sitting at the buffet restaurant and reported back that so far there was no available accommodation anywhere. The sun was starting to set and I was getting concerned that we wouldn’t find a place to stay. Karan suggested we try walking in an Easterly direction, so we headed off down another road. This time we split the task of asking for a room, Karan worked the left side of the road and I worked the right hand side.
We found a house with a lady outside, I asked her for help and she spoke some English, what a score! She said that she had a niece who spoke much better English and that she could walk with us to help translate. Rubero walked around with us for about 20 minutes, we kept asking and we kept getting turned away, it was now almost dark, I was worried…
The last place we got to was a holiday apartment block, we walked in and spoke to the owner about possibility of a free apartment to rent… We were lucky, there was one apartment available, the cost was R$500 per night, but there were 2 bedrooms (both with their own aircon), a lounge (with aircon), a self catering kitchen and a balcony. We decided to take the apartment as we were not going to find anything else! The next few days would be spent in luxury, just what we needed after staying in a tent for 9 days.
Karan and I walked back to the girls, when we arrived back it was almost dark, but we broke the good news and all was good. It was a bit of a walk, so we got going and hiked our bags to the apartment. We were all pretty shattered, it had been a long day of traveling and all of us had partied hard for the duration of the festival, so we were more than happy to unpack and crash early.
Barbs and I intended sticking around the holiday apartment for the next few days. We intended maximizing on reading, sleep, sunsets, food and generally get some rest and recovery in after a seriously festive festival.
We woke up after a solid 12 hours sleep and decided to head down to the town square for some breakfast. We found the perfect little breakfast spot with incredible coffee, great egg/bacon/burgers and the best Sucos I had drank all holiday. This would definitely be our breakfast spot for the next few mornings in Barra Grande.
Some of our new friends, Pandelis (aka Pando) and Jill from San Fransisco, had said they would be on the island, so I contacted them and we made plans to meet up. It was another story trying to explain where we were, the streets didn’t have names and the place we were staying was new without any name. I downloaded an app to my phone and sent Pando our GPS coordinates. He responded that they would come for a visit.
The GPS coordinates worked perfectly and they found us. We all hung out for a while in the safety of our air conditioned lounge, we chatted about the good times at the festival and generally swapped stories. A little bit later we decided to grab some lunch, so I took Jill and Pando to the buffet lunch place we had found the day before, we gorged ourselves on yummy food!
Barbs and I spent the rest of the day relaxing and reading at the apartment, our Indian friends were on a mission to explore, but we had no interest in doing anything. The evening arrived and the heat had subsided somewhat, so we decided to head towards the town center for some Caiparinhas and dinner.
As we walked along the beach, we saw a small bar spot and some people called out at us, they were on the boat the day before and invited us to join them for a drink. After the drink and a nice chat with the UP festival peeps, we headed onwards down the beach. We found a small stall on the beach selling Caiparinhas, so we made another stop, after this second drink, we were both feeling mildly drunk and very merry.
We walked back through the town center looking for a suitable restaurant and spotted a quaint little Italian spot. The menu looked good, so we ordered ourselves a spaghetti bolognaise pasta dish for two and a third Caiparinha each. The Caiparinha tasted like pure alcohol, it was bound to push us over the edge to the extreme side of drunk. We watered down the drink repeatedly with ice as we waited for our food. The spagbol was probably one of the best dinners of the trip. After dinner we stumbled home to our apartment and promptly passed out.
On our 3rd day, we grabbed some breakfast with Karan and Shaneez, then the 4 of us went searching to find a travel agency that could assist us finding a boat directly to Morro de Sao Paulo. A direct boat would be in excess of R$1000, so we investigated alternative options.
With much difficulty, mainly due to the language barrier, we investigate how to get to Morro. It turned out that we had to catch a boat back to Camamue, then we would catch a bus to Valença, then a taxi to the ferry and finally a boat across to Morro de Sao Paulo. The rest of our day was spent relaxing at the apartment reading.
We decided to catch a sunset at a river mouth, so the two of us took a slow walk along the beach to a view point. Luckily there were some clouds in the sky that helped make a memorable sunset and allowed us to snap some incredible photos. This was our first sunset of the holiday due to the fact that it was raining for the early part of the holiday and the rest of the locations we were we visited caught only sunrises. After sunset we grabbed another meal at our Italian restaurant, another delicious meal, but this time we skipped the Caiparinha.
We spent one more full day at Barra Grande, as per the previous days we relaxed back at the apartment and read before heading out for another Italian dinner. We bumped into various people we had met that evening and said good bye seeing we were on our way the next morning.
We settled up with the owner of the apartment block and headed town to the pier to start our journey to Morro de Sao Paulo. After about 5 hours of traveling we reached our end point, we were lucky and managed to get to each transition point just in time to catch the next transport.
Morro de Sao Paulo
When we arrived on Morro, it was great to see familiar surroundings, I didn’t expect to be that happy to see Morro, I guess we were in a different headspace. We knew roughly where we wanted to stay, it was called Che Lagarto Hostel, they luckily had some double rooms available with aircon, a comfy bed and clean bathroom.
After settling in Barbs and I headed off to find some Lobster at a restaurant I remembered, no lobster, but opt hey did serve us one of the best deep fried Calamari dishes I have ever had. We headed back to our accommodation for some Caiparinha drinks at an amazing R$10 for 2, needless to say we took full advantage of this special offer.
The two of us were looking forward to our morning session, we got up early, had some breakfast, check out and headed off for a beach mission at our spot on Quatro beach. It was about a half hour walk to our spot, but it was worth it. We setup our hammocks in the trees in front of the ocean. I went for a run along the beach, then came back to the hammocks to relax and read with intermittent swims in the sea.
We packed up around 1pm and started the long walk back to where our favourite local restaurant was, we had our usually Carne de Sol dish. Unfortunately we had to rush a little bit to get back to Che Lagarto Hostel, where we fetched our bags and headed down to the pier. Everything on track, we caught our ferry without any issues, happy days!
We arrived in Salvador after an extremely bumpy boat trip about 2,5 hours after leave Morro. We knew exactly how to get back to Bahia Café, from the marina we walked across to the Lacerda and caught the lift up a level, then we walked a short distance to our accommodation for the night.
We had already stayed at Bahia Café twice before during our Brazil holiday, so we felt like we were in familiar suroundings. Our room was on the 3rd floor and we had a massive bed, with a super little bathroom.
After settling in and taking a refreshing shower, we headed out to grab some dinner. We felt like something different, so we found a Crepes spot and ordered something totally different. I had a Mexican crepe and barbs had a vegitarian one, we supplemented this with a couple of Caparinhas each…
We kept telling ourselves, these are the last Caiparinhas, but when we got back to Bahia Café we had another Caiparinha, so delicious and they kick your ass. The third drink always puts us down, so shortly afterwards we went to bed.
In the morning we had our last breakfast, the buffet at Bahia Café was awesome, so we took full advantage of the tasty spread of food, strong coffee and delicious fresh fruit juice. Straight after breakfast our taxi driver picked us up and transported us through to the Salvador airport where we caught a domestic flight to Sao Paulo. Before leaving the airport Barbs and I did a little shopping with our left over Reals, we specifically aimed to replace the sun glasses that were stolen at the UP festival.
Back in South Africa
Despite having an amazing time in Brazil, it was good to see the kitties, our home with garden, the big screen TV and being able to use our kitchen again to make smoothies, food and juices. Back to normality and work, traveling is wonderful, but it always seems to end so quickly.
My first sleep in my own bed was bliss, all 13 hours of it. Back to reality, but times are changing, this holiday inspired me for huge change…