Our 3 days in the lush and relaxing paradise of Ilha Grande have flown by and it feels a real shame to leave our island home at the at the Portal dos Bolbas. We are promised great things though of Paraty, our next destination. The tramp back to the jetty loaded up like Ninja Turtles with our backpacks is eased by seeing other holidayers dragging hefty roller cases over the undulating sand - did they not realise the main road was the beach?
Aboard the schooner back to the mainland, I make a new best friend. An “adorable” Rottweiler cross - I’m sure that’s what owners usually say before their child becomes a chew toy - who nuzzles my legs for a stroke before collapsing in the heat at my feet, almost cutting the circulation off with his hulk. It seems I have a way with man’s best friend, Cass notes, as the previous day during lunch, a spaniel tried to piss on my chair while I enjoyed a cerveza.
The drive to Paraty tracks the coastline and we note the other outlying islands, no doubt concealing untouched beaches to rival Lopez Mendes. The land and vegetation maintain the vivid greenness, with Palm and Banana plantations lining the road and sweeping mountain views carving out the horizon. We are not disappointed on our arrival. Paraty (pronounced Para-chee) is a well manicured colonial town divided by a perfectly straight canal-like river which our Pousada Provence overlooks and separates us from the old town. The guest house is a little oasis, complete with dipping pool, a somewhat unnecessary sauna ( I can just stand in the sun to sweat) and backing onto the forested hills behind. Cass rests with an upset stomach and I trade Portuguese and English words with Gustav at reception. He reminds me of the guy from CSI Las Vegas and typifies Brazil’s melting pot of nationalities with emerald green eyes, European features and caramel skin.
The almost artisan cobbled streets give Paraty its character and enforce you to flaneur; attempting to walk any faster only results in stubbed toes in flip-flopped feet. The balmy evening with a soundtrack of pulsing drums from festivities in the main square and a bustle of tourists exploring the many exceptional craft and Cachaça shops, reminds me of childhood holidays with my parents; a chance to enjoy the pleasures of eating late and watch the world go by.
- By Ian