Tag Archives: coast

Parati: on a Trail of Gold

– I lived in Rio for five years. Then moved to Paraty.

– Do you like it more than Rio?

– Of course. It’s so relaxed here…

That’s Umberto, a driver that gave us lift on the coastal road BR101. I met him again while strolling around charming evening Paraty, soaking up its music, its soft light, its slow pace.

– Francesco is a painter. He’s working now. Go, have a look at his picture.

Francesco is submerged into inspiration and creativity but gladly greets me, when I emerge at his side.

– What’s that?

– It’s a naked woman, doing “shi-shi”.

I see…

The word Parati, synonym for cachaça, gave name to the city, which grew on a trade way Caminho de Ouro (Trail of Gold). It still brings money, the trail to Paraty but for now from tourism.

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Little cute monkeys dine on bananas.
Little cute monkeys dine on bananas.

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Paraty is surrounded by jungles of Southern Brazil, always wet and foggy.
Paraty is surrounded by jungles of Southern Brazil, always wet and foggy.

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One week on Brazilian Ibiza

On the most southern-east point of Baia dos Todos os Santos (the Bay of All Saints) there’s a lighthouse. 40-meters-high tower perks on a steep hill – not the biggest on an island but the utmost. I take a trail to the left and soon from above I can see an ancient walls – it’s an old Portuguese fort, “welcome” for those, who come to Morro de São Paulo from the north.

More modern picture opens to my eyes as I follow a trail to the right. From there I can see famous beaches on the ocean side: the First, the Second, the Third… They have names but no one remembers them, just numbers.

There’s a quick way from a hill down to the beach – rapel. 30 reals for fast and safe “delivery” of your precious self. For experienced extremals like ourselves – of no big interest, so we save money for famous pastel.

Little tents that sell famous baiano dish pastel have occupied the right side of the Second beach. Pastel is bakery with various fillings inside: from palm hears to carne-do-sol (kind of meat). We choose a table on the corner and watch vacationers.

In summer (from December to March) Morro de Sao Paolo is overcrowded. People come to spend time on a beach, spend money (Morro is expensive!) and party. Parties start after darkness, when children are taken to numerous pousadas (any kinds of hotels/hostels), lined up along the coast, and clubs open their doors. When tide goes down, beach becomes a place for fun too.

Young people love Morro, where DJs play electronic music that can’t be found in Salvador “at daytime with a light” and that is conservatively dedicated to traditional dancing style axe.

But that’s at night. And now sun is shining brightly and time to chill myself. As long as we have come by yacht, we don’t spend time with a crowd but go to a tiny island – reef that is almost covered with water at high tide. Waves are turbulent here, and we can anchor just for a short time, just enough to have a look at local inhabitants.

I put a snorkling mask on – and meet many eyes. Eyes of tropical fishes that scurry all around. Together we are swinging in waves – right-left, roooouuund, right-left. It is so pleasant that in my next life I decide to be a fish near Morro de Sao Paolo.

During my journeys I always tend to search for places more deserted. I love to have solitude or, better to say, – companionship of nature. And that’s why the best part for me wasn’t Morro, tho in southern parts of it and on other islands of the archipelago we could find untouched pieces of nature.

Anchorages around the southern part of Morro de Sao Paolo don’t provide hope for calm sleep. All nights from our week-long stay on Morro we spent on a continent that is in 15 minutes by boat from an island.

Long sand stripe of Curral separates Southern Atlantic ocean from the river. Anchoring on a calm side, in less than 5 minutes walk across the narrow land we admired ocean tide. The only company for us there were… little crabs, with whom side by side we used to farewell the last beams of evening sun.

Curral S13 22.922 W38 57.574

Tip for sailors: going inside the straight to the right from Morro de Sao Paolo (if to arrive from Salvador), keep closer to the island and go all along till the small town with a beach, where many boats are anchoring. There’s a big sand bank on the right that is seen in low tide, but disappears under the water in high. Turn to the right after you will see a long peer on the island and head to a sand strip on the continent.

Tip for travelers: Boats from Salvador to Morro de Sao Paolo are pretty expensive. If you travel not on board a yacht, much cheaper way is:

  1. To take a bus from Salvador to Valença:

  2. Take a bus (or taxi-bus) from Valença‘s bus station (rodoviaria) to Ancoradoro – 20 minutes ride.

  3. Take a boat from Ancoradoro to Morro de Sao Paolo.

Second chance

«A writer for instance talks about India which I have seen, and gushes about dancing girls, tiger hunts, fakirs, betel nuts, serpents: the Glamour of the Mysterious East. But what does it amount to? Nothing. Instead of visualizing India I merely get a bad toothache from all these Eastern delights. Now, there’s the other way, as or instance, the fellow who writes: ‘Before turning in, I put out my wet boots to dry and in the morning I found that a thick forest had grown on them (“Fungi, Madam”, he explained)…’ and at once India becomes alive for me. The rest is shop”.

I want to apologize for my blog being so touristic: common see sights, brief hazy notes about atmosphere.  I do not try my best to give you smell, smile and taste – feeling of places I visit, and I’m sorry for that. Neither hectic schedule of my journey, nor bad internet connections or my laziness can be an excuse. Tho I do not pretend to call these brief notes a kind of literature. I just hope they are not too boring.

Nevertheless, I will continue.

I believe that everything that happens to us is necessary to happen for some reason. As Soviet poet Vladimir Mayakovsky wrote, “If stars are lit, that’s means, someone needs it”. Yes, a kind of fatalism. Still, life proves that sometimes the worst thing can be premise for the best one.

The last evening in Lanzarote we made a short test-drive to check autopilot. Chris spent a couple of days, fixing the capricious device.  And – hooray! – the yacht obediently makes 180 degrees to the right. I celebrate the victory of (the mind + golden hands) over circumstances with a naked dive from a board.

The next morning we leave to Cape Verde. But don’t have a chance to get far…

We heard it before, sailing along the Spanish coast – knock that the rudder made. The rudder is one of essential parts of the boat: loose a rudder – loose the control. Chris tried to fix it by himself, and we reached Morocco without worries.

But here it is again… The tubes, through which the rudder infuses the hull, get loose with the time, and now they need to be changed. The whole Atlantic lays in front of us. And thought of unfixed rudder doesn’t make us feel more convenient. So Chris turns the yacht to the west: we go to Las Palmas  – the capital of Canaries.

The sea rocks: waves grow, wind gasps. Not fun at all. The air is cold and numb. Going south to relaxed Brazil – could never imagine that it will be colder and colder. Damn Atlantic.

We’re going round the island Puertoventura and awaiting the moment, when we will leave its shelter.  There the wind will, probably, become stronger: in straights between islands it accelerates like in a tube. That doesn’t happen after we pass the corner tho. But happens before and after it: Chris “was lucky” to catch 30-knot gasps from north. Where are you, calm and hospitable Las Palmas?

Before the sunrise I see the light) Numerous dots – it’s a coast of Gran Canaria. Soon the sky gets lighter, but I can’t see the sun. Clouds lost me a chance to admire the beauty of its the first beams.

And – ta-dam!  – we’re in safety of marina. I feel exhausted after 24 hours without sleep. Sometimes I have this problem – can’t sleep in a bumpy sea. But for crossing Canaries – Cape Verde I come prepared:  in local shop I bought herbal tea with Melissa, Mint and Valeriana. Valeriana smells strongly – hope the effect on my sleep will be equal.

We stay here for 8 days. Marina – Muelle Deportivo – is all right – and even more all right ‘coz they charge the less the longer you stay. For example, being here for 8 days we pay about 7 euros per day. It’s nothing! But to get here was a story.

ARC – Atlantic Rally Cup – is coming, and most of places in marina are booked. But we pointed out the urgency of stop (unfixed rudder), and they allowed us to stay near the ‘reception’ peer for a day. So – here we are for already eight…

Now rudder is fixed, and we’re ready to go to Cabo Verde.

Before we made a drive around the island, along the coastal road GC-1. Trivial statement, but Canaries are beautiful!!! Trust me. We made a way to Maspalomas – I’ve heard this name before and suggested that it was connected with surfing. So we took boards and went to Playa del Ingles. Unfortunately, Chris pointed that waves are not great. Well, will wait for another chance to start my surfing education.

Back we went through another road, GC-60, in direction of Fataga and San Bartolome. We went up to the mountains. Between rocks that reminded me Grand Canyon we made numerous twists and turns. Stopped in picturesque Mirador to give a last glance to the sea – and went further, higher and higher. Mountains of Canaries are low, all between 1000-1500 meters. But how free we breath there! We passed several towns-oasis – palm parks with water pools that were surrounded by white neat houses. In calm evening children played on streets, and senior citizens discussed rumors sitting in chairs outdoors (nice tradition of Southern countries). Tourists love these routs, so in every town you will find “table and shelter”.

At the end, tired of waving through mountainous roads, we rushed to the coast. On a narrow path we followed 4х4, and a small caravan tailed us. The road wasn’t easy, and the first jeep wasn’t in a hurry.  Those at the back of a line started to beep impatiently. These were definitely locals that make this way from time to time. They outraced us in rage and went ahead.

We were back on board late after dark. The whole trip, the whole stay was worth it.

First piece of “Cake d’Azur”

If in Avignon you need to be a skilled driver to get through narrow streets of Old town (where pedestrians have priority by the way), then in Marceille you should be an amateur runner at least. The amount of people running along the coast at evenings is incredible – just look thoroughly to get out of way at a proper moment.

Marceille finally made a pleasant surprise for us (perhaps, scared by my negative reference in previous post :). Searching for a place on a beach to spent night, we met another backpackers. They appeared to be not only backpackers but couchsurfers too. New acquaintances invited us to a beach party where we were kindly taken under care of Kurijn – very nice and friendly guy from Antwerp. This night we spent not on a beach but in his house.

The next day we were leaving hospitable Marseille – and heading to Cote d’Azur!

Not yet Cote d'Azur - a small place Bagnol not far from Marseille

There were two options to get out of Marseille:

  1. The national road to Toulon A50 – we should take metro till the station ‘Perier’, then walk along Avenue de Prado, reach Boulevard V.Delpuech and walk till getting to a huge road crossing where A50 starts.
  2. Coastal motorway D559 – to take the bus 48 till its last stop on ‘Chairon Vallon de Redon’, walk from the hospital down the street straight and left till we reach Boulevard de Redon. There we start hitch-hiking (not in direction of Luminy! – the road makes a ‘fork’)

Southern coast of France is amazing so we had no doubts about variant 2.

In couple of minutes we got a lift to Castellet. It was short ride but one of the most picturesque. From Castellet – 7 kilometres to Bagnol, cosy and beautiful place. Very south, very Mediterranean. There we stopped for a swim.

After 20 minutes walk to the exit of the town we caught a car till “apres Toulon” – “after Toulon”. On a road met another hitch-hiker – tired and not very friendly. He was aiming on Cannes. Good luck to him!

We were not so ambitious and in two minutes got a lift to Hyers – a picturesque town with a wide alley full of palms and flowers. We made a long walk through it till the local skatepark. Perhaps, there was no need in such a long promenade, because finally we stopped near “zebra” before a crossroad – we passed several places like that before.

Fairy tale of Le Lavandou

…Mediterranean sea wispers behind. The sun grills, but – thanks to chilling breeze from the sea – we almost don’t feel its ruthless heat. Green hills, the sea turquois near the shore and deep blue far from it, fraus-palms, ocean of flowers (some of them smell increadibly!) and red rocks. We’re relaxing on a rock near the shore in a place Le Lavandou. Before we passed a promenade, created by people along the rock right above the sea.

The view from our rock

Output: take the road D559. The most picturesque parts are: Marseille – Castellet and Hyers – Le Lavandou.

Enjoy the ride!

8.07.2011