If you're in Parana State, don't miss Vila Velha National Park.

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June 11th 2014
Published: November 12th 2014
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Because of the torrential rain (early June) the main highways in the State of Parana were cut off and we (my folks and I) got stuck in traffic for hours. Oh well… We had planned on spending the night in the car anyway! And I’m serious! We eventually arrived at Vila Velha National Park in the middle of the night. We drove around the area to find an empty plot of land, parked the car and got a few hours of sleep. We were the first to enter the park in the morning. The huge parking lot was completely empty. Vila Velha isn’t a famous destination but it was a very pleasant stop on our way back to Sao Paulo.

Vila Velha is known as the ‘stone city’ because of the many sandstone pillars (aretinhas), created over millions of years. We walked around the stone forest, enjoying the beautiful light over the red stone, with the blue sky above. Some of the rock formations take recognizable shapes, one of them being the cup, as in the World Cup trophy. I couldn’t help but raise my hands and hold the cup up high, imagining France winning the FIFA World Cup against
Brazil has a lot to offerBrazil has a lot to offerBrazil has a lot to offer

at Vila Velha, in the State of Parana
Brazil in the final! The funny thing is that after the guided tour, and with the World Cup starting the very next day (June 12), some journalists from a local TV station were at the entrance of the park and they asked me a few questions in English. I told them how my parents and I enjoyed the state of Parana, with the overflowing Iguacu Falls, and now we were visiting these geological marvels at Vila Velha before driving to Sao Paulo to watch Brazil play Croatia at the opening game. We talked about the World Cup and they asked me to say that The cup was going to France! “A Taca vai para Franca!” I exchanged contacts with the reporter and later on sent him the pics of me holding the cup… Did anyone happen to watch the Parana channel during the World Cup in Brazil? You might have seen me on TV!

We also got to visit craters (furnas) that are the result of underground erosion. These craters reach depths of 50m. Of course they are now filled with rain water. Just like in Bahia (during our bike trip) we spotted many vultures around. These are very interesting creatures which seem to walk more than they like to fly.

We drove back to Sao Paulo and arrived in the city late at night. Somehow our GPS was set for us to avoid the major highways… so we crossed the entire city through small roads! Do you know how spread out SP is?!! It took us hours to get to Santo Andre where our friend Sarah and her family live. We drove on very dark streets, and we seemed to take the most improbable roads… it was a really strange experience! We had heard so many bad stories about Sao Paulo (especially at night), we were pretty tense! Eventually we made it to some expressway: it was a 7-lane road with us driving around 100km/h and motorbikes cutting across traffic from one lane to another. WOW! I had seen crazy drivers before (Mexico! Cambodia, small towns in China…) but this just beat everything! My dad did the driving while I tried to navigate. My Mom was all freaked out in the back, telling my Dad to be careful on the left side, on the right side, with motorbikes swerving, cars without lights hitting the brakes just in
"yes, Parana State is beautiful.""yes, Parana State is beautiful.""yes, Parana State is beautiful."

"and France is gonna win the World Cup!"
front of us, people standing in the middle of the roads… We got to Sarah’s late at night, relieved to be back but exhausted after this stressful experience.

Additional photos below
Photos: 86, Displayed: 24


a nice walka nice walk
a nice walk

at Vila Velha, in the State of Parana
Parana Pine treeParana Pine tree
Parana Pine tree

Symbol of Parana
We are in Brazil!We are in Brazil!
We are in Brazil!

At Vila Velha, in the State of Parana
Mom, enjoying the sceneryMom, enjoying the scenery
Mom, enjoying the scenery

at Vila Velha, in the State of Parana
very few touristsvery few tourists
very few tourists

at Vila Velha, in the State of Parana
walking aroundwalking around
walking around

at Vila Velha, in the State of Parana

13th November 2014
A Taca vai para Franca!!!

Hey, TV star who sleeps in his car!
Well, that was a wild adventure--those San Paolo roads sound scary--glad you made it back alive! Cities are always more stressful than the countryside, even if you're sleeping in your car because of a deluge. Love those rock formations--rather like ours in the American southwest. This is the best World Cup photo I've seen.

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