Vitor e Sonia

Iguazu Falls - The Brazilian side

Iguazu Falls – The Brazilian side

Back in September I met Vincente & Gustavo, 2 brothers from Brazil on the Galapagos islands in Ecuador and 2 weeks later I met Gabby in Colca Canyon, Peru. She was from Brazil as well. Gabby & Vincente both lived in Curitiba so my plan was to visit them after a few days in Iguazu. To take a bus to Curitiba, I had to go to Foz de Iguaçu on the Brazilian side of the falls. Because the busride took 10 hours, I decided to take the nightbus and do the falls on the Brazilian side during the afternoon. A public bus took me to the Argentinian/Brazilian border (8 pesos) and from there I took another bus to the falls. As people told me, the Brazilian side offered a more panoramic view of the falls and while enjoying some of the fantastic vista’s, I ran into Sioe from Amsterdam.

Iguazu Falls - The Brazilian side

Iguazu Falls – The Brazilian side

She told me she was travelling for 9 weeks in South America and had 10 days left to make it to Rio where she had her flight back home. I had a similar amount of days left but my plan was to go to visit Vincente & Gabby in Curitiba. Sioe’s next destination was Florianopolis.  She told me Florianópolis was a must-do and when talking to Vincente, Gabby & Lili (a good friend from Sao Paolo), they all advised me to go to Florianópolis and to skip Curitiba.  The only problem was… I had only a week left! After checking some things, I decided to follow everyone’s advice & off I was with Sioe for new adventures in Florianópolis.  I didn’t know what to expect but I was amazed by the beauty of this place!

Lagoa de Conceiçao - Ilha Santa Catarina

Lagoa de Conceiçao – Ilha Santa Catarina

Florianópolis is Santa Catarina’s capital city and was situated on the enchanting Ilha de Santa Catarina where white sand beaches were the main draw with a spectacular coastline and wild, deserted beaches in the south, crowded beaches and bursting nightlife in the north.  42 beaches surrounded by pine forests in the east waited for us to either surf, snorkel or swim.  The spine of the mountains with the Mata Atlantica (Atlantic rainforest) that dropped precipitously down lovely Lago de Conceiçao was our backyard as we chose to stay near Praio Mole & Lago de Conceiçao.

Our CS hosts Sonia & Vitor

Our CS hosts Sonia & Vitor

My Brasilian friends Vincente & Lili adviced me some spots such as Guarda do Embau & Praia do Rosa for the great beaches, Jurere Internaçional & Praia dos Ingleses for bursting nightlife but due to the weather and long bus rides, we just strolled briefly on Praia Mole for sunset on the first day.  On the second day, we weren’t lucky neither… Rain, thunderstorms & heavy winds made us stay in the hostel but the forecast for the next day was ‘a bright & sunny day’, so we started to plan our third & last day in Ilha Santa Catarina. The plan was to rent a car and explore the whole island but unfortunately most of the rental car agencies seemed to be closed that sunday and the few who were open, didn’t have any cars left.  Another option was to do it by bus but that would take a lot of time.  I decided to throw a message out there on the couchsurfing website to see if any good soul was keen to show us around in Ilha de Santa Catarina.

Vitor & Sioe @ Armaçao, Ilha Santa Catharina

Vitor & Sioe @ Armaçao, Ilha Santa Catharina

The next morning, an unbelievably kind couple e-mailed us that they would pick us up at the hostel that morning and show us their island.  I’m an experienced couchsurfer by now but the kindness of those people really amazed me! Vitor & Sonia were originally from Puerto Alegro but moved to Florianópolis 30 years ago. They had now this lovely house in the south, near the beach in Armaçao, where they lived with their cute dog Pasqual & Nina, the cat. Patricia , their daughter went back to Puerto Alegro due to the lack of jobs in Florianopolis.

Barra da Lagoa

Barra da Lagoa

Vitor picked us up at 10am as promised and brought us first to the small fishing town of Barra da Lagoa where the surf friendly beach was hidden from the road by a thriving pine forest.  The shallow waters & gentle swells of Praia Barra da Lagoa offered the perfect conditions for beginners while  the long stretch of the protected Praia Moçambique offered wilder conditions for the more experienced surfers.  A few km further south, we strolled on Praia da Joaquina where the huge sand dunes & strong winds created a lunar landscape and apparently it was the place to be on the island to practice sand boarding.  The beach was also the spot were hundreds of contestants surfed the long, fast & powerful waves to win the surf competition just the day before.

Sioe @ Praia da Joaquina

Sioe @ Praia da Joaquina

Unfortunately it was raining cats & dogs as I said earlier and we didn’t manage to attend that massive event neither.  Anyway, we were about to drive south and meet his wife Sonia but before that, Vitor drove us to some “Mirador’s” offering us great panoramic views on Lago da Conceiçao with its spectacular scenery where lush green pine forests formed a fabulous backdrop for the beautiful lagoon.    Time to go south to Armaçao, an l8th century little old town home to this nice couple.  Armaçao served as a whaling town back in the days but while whaling was no longer practiced, the town still had a thriving fishing industry.

Ingreia (Church) Santa Ana

Ingreia (Church) Santa Ana

We strolled along Praia Armaçao, followed a winding trail along the rocky coastline and walked all the way to the gorgeous Praia de Matadeiro.  It was now time for lunch and we invited Vitor & Sonia in restaurant ‘Adriana’, a small local restaurant that they recommended us, right next to the impressive 18th century ‘Ingreja Santa Ana’.  After a delicious ice cream a few houses further in a small ‘gelateria’ , Vitor & Sonia brought us first to the pretty Lagoa do Peri, then to the beach or ‘Praia’ do Pantano do Sul where we only stayed a couple of minutes due to the extreme strong winds.

With Vitor, Sonia & Sioe in beautiful Pantano do Sul

With Vitor, Sonia & Sioe in beautiful Pantano do Sul

Our last stop was the beautiful tiny village of ‘Ribeirao da Ilha’, dotted with fishing boats, sea food shacks and with its preserved Azorean heritage as we could see in the cobble-stoned streets & the colorful tile-roof houses where fresh, plump & juicy oysters were obviously the local speciality.  To end that beautiful day, the waterside park seemed to be the perfect spot to watch the sun set behind the mainland mountain range.  After the beautiful sunset in  ‘Ribeirao da Ilha’ , Sonia made us a delicious homemade meal while sharing great laughs and wonderful conversations.  After dinner, Vitor & Sonia drove us all the way to the bus terminal in Florianópolis where we catched the night bus to Sao Paolo. We were so lucky to have such a beautiful day and it was a true blessing that we had the opportunity to meet that incredible couple!

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Comments
One Response to “Vitor e Sonia”
  1. geo1bitor says:

    Didier,

    Thanks for the words. It was a pleasure for us to be with you too.

    Vitor & Sonia

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