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Published: September 6th 2012
Checking out the breaks
Will today be a good day?
Itacare, Itacare, Itacare............. God this places changes you, in a good way!
The perfect way to end the perfect 6 months. Itacare is a lovely little fishing village surrounded by loads of amazing beaches (there are 7 you can take your pick from everyday, which are walkable)....it used to be the first choice destination for all the upmarket rich Brazilians due to it being difficult to access, making it very exclusive. However to improve that a bridge was built crossing the river a few years ago and that opened it up to the world of backpacking and given it a growing 'Gringo' population and we can honestly say, we would have been very tempted to add ourselves to what is a great bunch of people, who look out for each other and generally enjoy life by the ocean and the year round warmth.
Despite the road, it's still a bit of a bind to get to. We thought we'd struck on a winner with our bargain flights to Salvador and checking out the map it looks like Itacare is a tiny bit south of the city....... How deceptive can looks be....Our journey there looks like this....30 minute taxi mission
The beautiful beach
to get to the port from the old town....1 hour boat crossing to Bom Despacho, 5 hour bus ride to Itacare...... It rained the whole way and was actually quite cold.... (shock horror......) hence we arrived in the dark and didn't really have a scooby doo where we were or what the place was all about.... We were just cold and very wet!!! The bus stations at the entrance to town, circa to the Favela. So, starving I headed to the Supermarket to get some essentials, experience has taught us when you arrive late into a place, with no clue, don't pass up the opportunity of a good supermarket to stock up with or you'll regret it.... And go hungry!!! Bless the taxi driver, he waited whilst I did a full shop and took us on to meet who will later become the infamous, Kirsty, Stana and Rodney!!!
Ben's Place where we were staying was the latest accommodation we'd had recommended to us from a couple we'd met in Salta called Kat and Sam. It's a bit away from the main strip, by a bit I mean a 15 minute walk at most, 10 from the beach, 1 minute
from the river, what's that for a good nights sleep, which is what we'd been guaranteed away from the main street. If this wasnt enough we would also be treated to our very own studio apartment with pool view!!! And the pool as well, not some poxi plunge tub..... A 15 metre beast...perfect for carrying on our Brazilian Dream and working on those perfect Brazilian beach bodies!!!
So just shy of three weeks we have been here and easily joined in the life of morning surfs, early afternoon Acai, early evening runs along the beaches and evening 'chewing the fat' over a beer or two! We had a couple of ventures away from the above which was our norm and that included a day trip out up the river to a waterfall which you got to via a hike through the jungle, we also did an hour long trek (with surf boards) through yet some more slippery jungle paths to, what has to be one of the most gorgeous beaches in Brazil, Prainha! Other than that we've just gone with the flow, whether that included taking the boards via jeep with Tomas, who owns a local surf school and
is part of the Kirsty and Stana crew, to Engenhoca beach for a day out and guaranteed perfect surf, again a 20 minute hike through a bit more trodden jungle paths, mainly because some company had planned to build a resort there but bribed the wrong people in government to get permission and in the end ran out of money. Other than that we'd just head down to the local beaches of Ribeira to have a go at surfing ourselves or stop by at Tiririca to watch the locals in action! Whatever we've done, we've loved it!
We've had a few good nights out too, thanks to our fab hosts Kirsty and Stana, who just invited us everywhere they've been invited, liked Kevin and Patricia's Pasada opening, which they've spent months doing up and looks very boutique. Nelson, one of the long term residents at Ben's Place had his birthday whilst we were there too so Kirsty put on a great spread and Stana cooked the steak and sausages to absolute perfection! Shame Nelson, who is a painter and very rarely leaves the place chose that night to get hijacked by one of the locals who can talk for
England and missed the whole thing.... He had to have his plate of food warmed up later... And his birthday cake made by Susan who's a 69 year old ex pat based in Ben's original bungalow, for brekkie the following morning....
Jon's birthday also fell whilst we were in Itacare and didn't go by without a few celebrations....... You'd have thought he was the queen..... Well he did get totally spoilt and it did go on for two days.... The day before his birthday Kirsty cooked up a full blown Chicken Roast, with all the trimmings.... It was lovely.... Roasted Potatoes in Rosemary too.... gravy....stuffing... Roasted veg.... and to top it all, Susan made one of her chocolate cake specials, which was even more yummy than that she had made for Nelson....as you can imagine, my chocoholic hubbie was in his element!!!! The surf forecast was a big fat zero for his actual birthday but the sun was shining and it was glorious, so we chilled out and enjoyed just being in such a great place and didn't even entertain the alternatives followed by a great meal at a local restaurant recommended to us, where we both had steak
Jon & Stana
Heading for the surf
and some top notch puddings..... Not to mention a bit of good old vino blanco!!!
Jon and Stana also had a day trip to Camamu, which is another little fishing town up the coast and bought back some food delights not to be found in Itacare.... Things like.... Black Tea and Curry Powder, although we later sourced the secret spots for getting such novelties.... Kirsty and I declined to go.... We'd got very much into our latest kindle downloads..... '50 Shades of Grey'..... Much to the boys disgust, but at least it gave them a good source of banter and we were oblivious, engrossed in the trilogies lol!!!!! One of our best days out was an early start to Engenhoca, with the whole crew, that being Stana, Kirsty, Tomas and Zan, who's an American, who's lived in Rio for the last 6 months, lucky girl!!!! Paul from London... (although he's from Retford really, aren't you Paul...) who's been in Itacare a while and heads back to York to start and MBA in August, he was staying at Bananas, which is the best hostel in town, great place, again ran by an English couple Pete and Debs, who were back
With Chocolate Cake
in the UK for a visit not long after we got there, he (Paul) moved up to Ben's when a studio came available and is a real top lad, Koon wasn't there although he was for most of our trips, reason being on the last one Jon and he were out the back and the waves were mental and he picked up an injury to his ribs, which was a week in and still causing him some grief.... Although we did notice the lack of surfing increased his pulling power.... Another top bloke, who's sold up in Belgium and looking at opportunities to set stuff up in Itacare.... And finally Kasper, the friendly ghost or professional sex pest as he became affectionately named.... We could all dine out on stories of Kasper for years to come I reckon!!!! Nice guy, Tomas's mate from Holland, who'd spent the last few years in Australia as a chef. Following our morning surf, we headed up the coast via the coastal jungle path, which took us to some really stunning remote beaches and gave us some glorious views, finally bringing us out at Itacarezinho Beach which is huge!!!! And runs all the way to
Time to unload
Another trip to Engenhoca
Ilheus a good 100km up the coast... Just stunning and a great day out!
So after all this time in a surf town and after almost 6 months of travelling South and Central America, how are we at surfing??!! Well despite our best efforts, I'd say we are still very 'beginner'..... Especially when you see some of the locals ride.... Jon's pretty good now and has got guts on his side, which means he'll paddle out to the back of the waves and have a go, which at least saves him from the constant pounding, which you get playing in the white water, which is where I live....We both have good days and bad, some days I'll be catching every wave and get to ride in standing almost always if I can keep my balance that is and Jon will be out looking down the face of the waves in the deep and having a bit of a carve. Whereas on the not so great days, paddling and catching waves is about as good as it gets for me and Jon spends 2 hours bobbing about sat on his board and to quote Tomas, 'he was a bit lazy
today!!!!' , which means he doesn't go for many...Glad he doesn't get to comment on my bad days as he's out in the big stuff but I'd guess he'd say something like...'you aren't a beginner you know...'. Anyway the fact is, whatever day we had, we had loads of fun and you get to break it up with a bit of sunbathing and good conversation with people who are just your cup if tea, so what more can you ask for.... Oh I know.... 50 Shades on the kindle!!!!
We have absolutely loved our time here and felt at home, really comfortable both with the surroundings and most importantly the people. Combine all that and what we've been up to and the fact I've cracked on and have almost qualified as an English Teacher via the TEFL Course, we can safely say we have had a well spent 3 weeks and it was very sad to leave....But leave we must as it's nearly time for home..... We will miss you Itacare, who knows you may become our home one day x x
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