Floripa is where many Brasilians go when they fly for a beach holiday, and we can see why.
We started with our first domestic Brasilian flight, on Tuesday from the Rio international airport (not the smaller closer one), which obviously has been improved a bit for the World Cup and Olympics. Our plane was running on time, which was great, and they started boarding the priority passengers. Most of the way through that, something happened and the gate staff walked down the air bridge and took all the passengers back off the plane. Not understanding the announcement in Portuguese, after finding a staff member who spoke English, they said there was a problem with the “plane buffer” and they weren’t sure how long it would be. Luckily it must not have been too bad, since we started boarding 15 minutes later. Flight curse avoided!
After an uneventful flight to the Florianópolis airport, we went to the taxi counter, gave them the address, and jumped in the taxi. Something must have been lost in the translation or not passed on, because the driver wasn’t sure quite where to go. He understood which road the place was on, but not where, and it was a fairly long road. We spent about five minutes trying to and failing to explain we needed to go to the T intersection at the other end – but eventually persistence won, and he finally understood where to go!
When we arrived at the hostel, there were 10 or so people on the garden chairs and deck couches. The people running the hostel offered to cook us dinner if we wanted. They organise food every night for about R$20 ($7.50 AUD), you just need to let them know if you want to join them, and tonight’s cannelloni was a tempting offer. While we were in the kitchen on the hostel tour, we saw a very creamy sauce, so gave it a miss. Some of the other backpackers there said there was a food truck market in the Lagoa town, so we headed across the short bridge (past a few homeless and some dodgy looking people) and stopped to get a very tasty burger from a food truck. We headed back to the hostel and had a few drinks; we ended up going to bed fairly late, since our room was next to the deck and the noise carried very well so we wouldn’t have slept if we went to bed before everyone else.
Wednesday morning we navigated our way to the local bus stop and went into the main city to look around. We had heard that the bridge to the mainland was quite nice, but when we got there it was a bit disappointing – just a bridge, like the Storey bridge in Brisbane. The CBD didn’t have much interesting in it, it was just the business, but we did accidentally walk past a bakery that Dee had seen in the Lonely Planet guide – amazing pastries! We wandered through the pedestrian mall and found a couple of useful shops, including a cheap shop to buy James a new shirt seeing as the last laundry had lost one. Making our way down to the Mercado Público (public market), we found it had a lot of nice looking restaurants, so we decided that it was time for a beer (or six). We swung by the supermarket on the way back to our hostel, and of course Dee, being as clumsy as she is, took a stack outside the restaurant trying to get back quickly to use the bathroom. Managing to scrape both knees fairly well, she was told by a British backpacker walking past that “shit happens don’t it”, and not offered much help when trying to ask for paper towel from the now closed restaurant. Patching up quickly with a bit of paper and some hand sanitiser it was time to make another attempt at heading back to the hostel for some proper first aid. For dinner that night we had organised to get the barbecue dinner at the hostel (the chef is Uruguayan), but it got changed to Arroz com Mariscos (seafood rice stew) late due to problems getting items from the supermarket – and it was amazing!
On Thursday we went to Barra do Lagoa with an Australia couple who hitchhiked from Uruguay, two Belgian girls, and were met there by a Belgian guy who was leaving that afternoon. They all decided they wanted to go visit the nearby point saying it would take them 30-60 minutes, and instead we headed down to the beach to get some beers (notice a pattern?). About two hours later they got back and joined us for some more beers and lunch. The wind was quite strong, and a lot of people kept losing their beach umbrellas, a few ending up in the water. It was a nice relaxing day, although the beaches here just really aren’t as pretty as the ones in Australia, the water at this one was also quite cold!
Once we were back at the hostel, we found out they had re-organised the barbecue dinner for tonight, however we had unfortunately already organised to go on a date night. Walking back into the Lagoa town, we wandered around for a while trying to decide what to have – our indecisiveness coming to the fore as usual. Eventually we settled in at Sabor Perú. Two Australians sitting in a Peruvian restaurant, in a Brazilian city whose name sounds Greek, reading a menu written in Spanish despite being a Portuguese speaking country, drinking a Belgian style beer – a win for multiculturalism! The food was delicious, definitely worth a try!
On the way back to the hostel, we walked past a lady on the street corner making filled tapioca pancakes (kind of like a quesadilla), and we couldn’t say no – one filled with calabrese, cheese, tomato, onion and catupiry (cream cheese) for us! Ridiculously cheap too, at $8 reais ($2.50aud) we were almost prepared to have a few, except for the fact that we were full.
Friday morning was spent packing (as usual), and getting into the city so we could catch the eight and a half hour bus to Porto Alegre, along some nice coastline (and a few wind farms).