Partying and Pictures in Paraty

Paraty, Brazil

A stand up paddle board and paddles balancing on Paraty beach Praia do Pontal with stand up paddlers paddling on the water in the background

Founded in 1597, Paraty (also spelt Parati) is a historic town on the Costa Verde (Green Coast) between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Once an intermediate port for gold travelling from Minas Gerais to Portugal, Paraty was neglected for much of its recent history. This neglect helped preserve Paraty’s old buildings, contributing to its current charm as a tourist destination. Continue reading

Rio de Janeiro, Yeah!

From Salvador I flew south to Rio de Janeiro for a fun mid-June week. I  previously visited Rio in November although only briefly and primarily to see Pearl Jam perform. This time I came to meet friends of old, make new friends and see the famous city’s sites.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Only a few people visited Ipanema Beach on this overcast day Continue reading

Tucano’s Weekly Markets, Bahia, Brazil

Tucano Saturday Markets, Bahia, Brazil

Wheelbarrows are a popular way of moving goods at Tucano’s Saturday markets

Tucano’s Saturday markets are great for buying fresh produce and people-watching. Not that the markets are a tourist attraction – during both this and December’s visits I didn’t notice another foreigner. The markets take up several inner-Tucano streets with different sections for produce, clothes and other goods. On this occasion Fernanda, Mariana and I caught a lift with Luis Carlos who was selling his custard apples (chirimoya), guavas and a local fruit. The custard apples tasted fantastic.
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Porto Alegre, Friends and Food in Southern Brazil

The final week of May I spent in Porto Alegre, capital of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s southernmost state. From Foz do Iguaçu I took a 21 hour bus ride that, after a vehicle breakdown and wait for replacement, lasted almost 24 hours .

The climate from Foz do Iguaçu to Porto Alegre is subtropical. I’ve never seen as much green foliage as on this journey. At one of the trip’s many stops was a sculpture exhibition by Katielly Lanzini. The models seemed out of place, surrounding a dimly lit concrete bus station stairway.

Chapecó Prefecture, Santa Catarina

Katielly Lanzini dinosaur sculptures at Chapecó Prefecture bus station in Santa Catarina Continue reading

Returning to Buenos Aires and My First South American Soccer Match

In mid-May I returned to Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires, a city I inhabited in the summer. This time I was lucky enough to spend time with Rebecca and her enthusiastic children Kaye and Robbie in Belgrano. West of Palermo, Belgrano is one of Buenos Aires’ grandest suburbs, full of old mansions and tree-lined streets.

I was also fortunate to catch up with Australian expatriate Pat. Pat is a mad Huracan fan. Huracan is the best Buenos Aires soccer team no one has heard of. If you come to Buenos Aires, don’t ride on the Boca Juniors, Racing Club or River Plate bandwagons, join Huracan’s passionate supporters instead. Pat initiated me into Huracan at a Primera Division match against Unión de Santa Fe.

Huracan Match, Buenos Aires, Argentina

With Pat at Huracan’s Tomás Adolfo Ducó Stadium; note the empty ‘away’ end Continue reading

Córdoba, Argentina’s Second City

From Mendoza in early May I took my most comfortable South American bus ride yet, a nine hour overnight Andesmar “suite 1st class” bus to Córdoba. Córdoba is Argentina’s second largest city (behind Buenos Aires) and with world heritage listed 17th century architecture it has something for tourists.

Santi, who I’d met in Santiago, kindly showed me around the centre, pointing out interesting places. Importantly, Santi also recommended places to eat typical local food including lomito, a South American steak sandwich and locro, Córdoban stew.

Córdoba, Argentina

Lighting features at one of Córdoba’s entertainment areas Continue reading

Thermal Resort and Wine Tour; Fantastic Days in Mendoza, Argentina

Travelling from Santiago to Mendoza in early May took time but was worth it. Famous for its Malbec wine, I experienced two of my best days in the Mendoza region, despite overcast and rainy weather.

On a whim and inspired by a British couple in my hostel, I booked a day trip to the Termas Cacheuta spa resort outside of Mendoza. Another couple on the morning bus were already enjoying the day, drinking from a wine bottle.

Located next to a river in Cacheuta, Luján de Cuyo, Termas Cacheuta features several indoor and outdoor thermal pools of varying temperatures, a cold pool and a sauna. The resort also provides an amazing buffet lunch!

Termas Cacheuta, Mendoza, Argentina

Termas Cacheuta’s lunch buffet contains great meat, vegetables and salad Continue reading

Valparaiso: a Colourful City for the Arty and Fit

On the Pacific coast a few hours from Santiago, Valparaiso is famous for its incredible street art. The town is also very hilly. Valparaiso residents would have to be some of the artiest and fittest people around as I found out in April.

Valparaiso has an excellent produce market and one morning I met up again with Cami and Sara to wonder around both the permanent market and nearby street market.

Valparaiso, Chile

A green vegetable stall at Valparaiso’s produce market with outer leaves and husks discarded on the street Continue reading