We are a couple, Benoit and Robson who decided to tour the world for 1 year. This blog was to keep contact with family and friends.
Our trip started in April 2009 and we came back home in April 2010. From London we headed east with Istanbul as our first stop. Six months later, in October 2009 we ended up in Brazil where we stayed till April 2010. We mainly stayed in the state of Santa Catarina where Robson's family lives. We however mangaged to travel quite a bit as well, to the North, the Amazon, Curitiba, Rioa Grande do Sul and ... we went to Rio and participated in its carnival!
We intend to keep this blog and update it with news from other travel journeys to come.
February 26th 2011
Mauritius is the biggest of the Mascarene Isles, Reunion and Rodrigues being the other ones. Although first discovered by the Portuguese, the Dutch were first to settle there. It became however French territory before becoming a British possession. As a consequence we have today a very unique and rather complex linguistic situation. I think Belgium could take some lessons here. The official language is English, it is mainly used for administrative purposes. French is mainly used for business while creole is really the 'local' language. As 70% of the population is from Indian origin, Indian languages are also spoken and so is Chinese by the 3% Chinese minority. We could speak English or French with any person we met, whatever his/her ethnic background, what a dream... Most of the places have French names such as 'Grande ... read more
January 18th 2011
After a nice Xmas eve at Johan & Petra's we left Mauritius on 25 December for Reunion. The flight is very short, basically you take of and then land! All it takes is 25 minutes! Reunion is French territory, it is in fact France. The tiny island sends 5 MPs to Paris! We stayed in the South of the island, the first 3 days in Le Tampon at a local B&B called 'Fleur de Vanille', then at a hotel in the village of 'Entre-Deux' dominated by the Dimitile mountain range. The closest town is Saint Pierre, called the capital of the South (about 70,000 inhabitants). One of the few beaches of Reunion is there, protected from the heavy waters of the Indian Ocean by a coral reef. St Pierre is very animated, especially at night with ... read more
July 18th 2010
OK, this is long overdue, but given the insistence of some of you, here is an entry about Brazilian beaches. Most of the pictures (but not all) are taken in Praia dos Ingleses in Florianopolis, SC. It is a popular beach where families from Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and even Paraguay come and enjoy their summer holiday. High season starts goes from Christmas to Carnival. During that period, about 20 to 25 thousand people are on the beach each day. The locals understood of course that so many people together present an unique opportunity to sell. So the beach becomes, among other things, a market. If you want to know what is sold, just have a look at our pictures. You will also see what else I did there when I was not taking pictures. Enjoy!... read more
May 4th 2010
Yes, it is more than a month now since we are back home. Difficult to believe it but time flies by. I don’t know what we were expecting but when coming home we felt like we had been on a long week end trip. The house was still there, everything in place, it is a bit like when you change your clothes, you just put them on and you are ready to go again with the flow! Still the first week or so we were asking ourselves where next? Oh we just stay here... Robson managed to visit most of his friends in a few weeks. I was so brave that I accepted with enthusiasm to accompany him for dinner with Maria and Denise his two Brazilian friends. Here I was having dinner with three Portuguese ... read more
April 2nd 2010
The Ilha do Mel is situated at the mouth of the Paranaguá bay. What is special about it is that it is a preserved island, with most of it territory an ecological preserve. The inhabitants live in two 'villages', Nova Brasilia and Encantadas. There are neither roads nor cars on the island. To go from Brasilia to Encantadas one can walk by the beach (but only at low tide) or by boat. The number of people allowed on the island is limited to 5,000. In high season visitors need to book in advance to make sure they are allowed to travel. An electronic board announces the number of free places at the embarkation point where a kind of immigration office is making sure the rules are applied. It takes half an hour to reach Brasilia from ... read more
March 30th 2010
Curitiba is about 90 Km from the port of Paranaguá, on the Atlantic Ocean. This is the second biggest port in Brazil, it is very active in shipping grains. Between Curitiba which was built on a plateau and the ocean, we have the Serra do Mar (mountain range of the sea). Originally this 1,500 Km long mountain range runs parallel to the sea from Espirito Santo in the North to Santa Catarina in the South and separates the littoral from the planalto (plateau) of the hinterland. The Serra do Mar supports in fact a tropical rain forest, a very rich diversified ecosystem. Most of it is unfortunately gone by now, due to the colonisation and urbanisation. Some of it is however preserved between Curitiba and Paranaguá. In 1855 a railway crossing the Serra was built between ... read more
March 25th 2010
The capital of the state of Paraná, Curitiba is the biggest city in the South of Brazil, it has about 2 million inhabitants. It is a modern city, known for its quality of life. It has many parks and open spaces and its innovative public transport solutions are copied all over the world. We very much enjoyed visiting it, it was quite a contrast with Florianopolis where everything is thought to favour the real estate developers rather than the inhabitants. We took the tourism Line bus and were able to visit many places of interest. Among them are the Largo da Ordem where we had the surprise to watch a play in open air. By accident we arrived in Curitiba in the week it hosts a yearly Theater Festival. Watching Oedipus King with a creative staging ... read more
February 22nd 2010
Participating in the parade of this unique carnival was one of our ambitions. On the Saturday we briefly joined the bloco of the Banda de Ipanema as we were close by. It was fun to join others and follow the group dancing on the samba rhythm as played by the band. We really enjoyed this, being part of this hugely popular feast. I started understanding what Carnival means for Brazilians. After a while though, given the heat, we went to the beach in search of some fresh air. Once back to our hotel,we got very excited when our 'fantasias' (costumes) were delivered and quickly realised we had to forget about going to the Sambódromo by metro and order a taxi given the volume of our costumes (see pictures). We could not join the Sambódromo dressed in ... read more
November 24th 2009
The Parque Nacional Lençóis Marenhenses covers a huge area (1,600 sq Km) of sand dunes on the Atlantic coast. During the rainy season (May to August) multiple lagoons of fresh water are formed which gives spectacular views, especially when taking a sightseeing flight. In short it is a desert with millions of lagoons! We arrived in the dry season (November), however we were lucky as the previous rainy season had been exceptionally wet so not all lagoons were dried up. The main access town to the park is Barreirinhas, a 4 hour drive from São Luis. We were told that once there, a multitude of travel agencies were offering their services to visit the park or to go on a 4x4 trip. We wanted something more authentic and decided to go to Santo Amaro do Maranhão ... read more
November 22nd 2009
São Luís is the capital of the state of Maranhão. Although the city is considered one of the best examples of Portuguese architecture, it was founded by the French who arrived there from Saint-Malo and Cancale in 1612 under the leadership of Daniel de La Touche, lord of La Ravardiére. They built a fort on the island of Upaon-Açu and gave it the name of Saint-Louis. This was not appreciated by the Portuguese who, thee years later, sent Jerônimo de Albuquerque who took control of the fort. I could add, for those who want to know more, that the city came under Dutch rule from 1641 to 1644 when the city was finally settled under Portuguese rule. My apologies for this extensive course of history, but I find it fascinating to see how the European powers ... read more