My last trip away from Rio before heading home
09.11.2010 - 13.11.2010 28 °C
So I decided that as I had been static in Rio for over 4 months and STILL hadn't been to Ilha Grande or to any of the coast around Rio, which I was told is a must. So I decided to choose a place to visit, and Ilha Grande with its lack of cars, Atlantic Rainforest, white-sand beaches and hikes easily won. It was only a 3hr bus and then a ferry and I arrived at Villa do Abraão, the main village on the Island. The beauty of the place is apparent right from the moment that the ferry turns the corner and approaches the island village - white sand, colourful hosues and all surrounded by blue/green clear sea. You couldn't not smile and I was very glad that I hadn't missed this place. I wandered through the village on the way to the cheapest hostel I could find, nicely situated uphill in the rainforest. For the first time whilst travelling I was the one with the least luggage, just one small backpack as I had left all my other things in Rio. It felt great to be travelling light, well until the rain started a day later and my lack of warm clothes or a rain coat became a bit of an issue.
It was a beautifully sunny evening so as I sat speaking to Lee and everyone on skype for his birthday, my view was over a terracotta coloured house to the mountains covered with rainforest and a beautiful sunset - paradise! I met a couple that I had met previously in Rio for dinner. I hadn't eaten out in months, but it was very cheap and we arrived with no food and the shops had shut, so I was forced to pay 5pounds for a delicious meal of rice, beans, salad and aipim frita - my favourite mmmmmmmmmm!
The next day was beautifully sunny so I headed straight for the boats for a trip to Lagoa Azul (Blue Lagoon). We snorkelled and walked on beautiful beaches, until the clouds came over and the rain started just as we arrived back. The boat driver took a shine to me out of the 40 people on the boat (again I think my smile got me into trouble!) and I had to politely turn down his offers to show me some other beaches or a trip in his boat the next day, lol. He was very sweet though and my friends joined me to one of the beaches he had offered to take me to.
Unfortunately it rained all of the next day and we couldn't do anything as everything to do was outdoors. We all stayed on the sheltered deck of the hostel and read and played cards then cooked some hot food as we were all feeling the cold, even though it wasn't below 20 degrees!
The day after it was slightly overcast so I set off to walk to what is said to be the most beautiful beach in Brazil - Praia de Lopes Mendes (Lopes Mendez Beach)
The walk was up and down hill through the rainforest and all the smells reminded me of my 4 months spent in the rainforest volunteering last year, it was great to be back in this environment, although very hot and stuffy even without the sun. I met up with the couple again whom I had arrived with and been snorkelling with and we walked some of the way together. We relaxed on the beach in the cloudiness and were told not to enter the water as a guy from England had drowned in the water some days before the waves were huge so there was no danger of us even trying anyway. The couple left and I walked all the way along the 3km of beach and then did the 2 hour walk back. Most people take the boat back and so I was alone on the walk and didn't see one other person. I felt I was going uphill for hours and for a while was panicking that perhpas I had taken the path up the mountain instead, but eventually arrived back at Abrãao - sweaty and tired!
The next day the forecast was rain and more rain for the next few days and as much as I wanted to stay and explore more, I decided it wasn't worth it in the rain and to head back to see my friends in Rio for the bank holiday weekend.
The boat ride back was pretty rough and wet. I decided to take the cheaper and faster fisihing boat to Jacarei rather than return with the ferry to Angra, but I hadn't factored in the storm and the boat was moving rather a lot in the waves. Most people sat below deck to get out of the rain but sea sickness came over me and I had to sit in the rain by the edge of the boat, I must have been a hilarious sight to the men working on the fishing boat as I had no rain coat, was soaked through and apparently a yellow-ish colour - haha! I arrived safely though and was glad to be back on land. I was sad to be leaving this beautiful place after only a few days, but now I have an excuse to return in the future =)