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Published: March 13th 2008
Tony & Karen say
The colonial centre of Paraty or the 'Historic Centre' as it is called is beautiful and has not changed much for hundreds of years. The buildings are small, painted white and adorned with latticed windows and colourful painted borders. The cobbled streets and lack of traffic (no cars allowed, only horse and carts!) make it a lovely town to stroll around, especially at night as the cafes and restaurants are lit up with candles. Paraty has become the home to many artists, poets, writers and other arty farty types so it is full of lovely artisan shops, galleries and bookshops - you could spend hours browsing here and we both kind of wish we were finishing our trip here as we could imagine filling up our backpacks with lots of trinkets and souvenirs to decorate our next flat. Our Mums would love it here! Very quaint.
One of the main reasons we both loved our stay in this wee town was becuase our hostel, aptly named the 'Historic Centre Hostel' was so good. The rooms were set around a small courtyard where we had breakfast and evening drinks which was great for socialising.
From the moment we arrived we were lucky enough to meet a nice couple from London, Carolyn and Tom - when we arrived they were sitting watching the Carling Cup Final between Spurs and Chelsea on Sky TV so we joined them much to Tony's enjoyment, being a Tottenham fan he couldn't believe his luck that he was able to catch the game and furthermore that his team were victorious! Hurrah.
The first day we went on a boat trip around the surrounding islands and beaches. We did some more snorkelling, we didn't see as many fishes as Ihla Grande but we still enjoyed it all the same. It was just lovely to take a dip in the water when it is so hot. The rest of the day was spent hopping on and off the boat and generally chilling out and enjoying the scenery, imagining what it would be like to sail the globe on our own yacht. Karen also won a free Caprinha (v strong Brazilian drink) which was nice.
In the evening, we had drinks with Carolyn and Tom and another couple we'd met from Durham who were also ace, Rob and Ruth and a
few other dudes. We had some good banter, Karen got some Spanish practice in chatting to some Argentinians and Chileans. Later we all headed out to a nearby bar, it was a good night and was nice to have a few drinks with some groovy people. One thing, there is a reason you never see Brazilian wine in shops, it is bogging.
The following day, all nursing hangovers the six of us headed out of town to the famous Tarzan water falls. Igor had raved about them back on Ilha Grande and we couldnt wait to visit. The falls are well known as they have a large pool to swim in and a natural water slide. We both agree it was by far our favourite day so far, we have probably said this before, but we have a funny feeling it wont be the last time we say it either! After a short trek through the forest we arrived at a rickety old rope bridge which hangs precariously above the wide flowing rapids of the river below. On our left was a lovely waterfall flowing into a large and deep pool surrounded by jungle on three sides and on
one side by a huge boulder which towered above the water. It was the slide we had really come to see though, so after a further wee trek downstream we happended upon several local kids plunging themselves down a steep, slimey but smooth rock face into another plunge pool at the bottom, we had found the slide!
The undulating rock which forms the slide is perhaps 50m in length. We had to watch the local lads before we plucked up the courage to go for it ourselves. Rob went first, hurtling himself down with apparant abandon, but it wasn't long before we were all throwing ourselves down. It was exhilarating, like a natural flume you would find in a modern swimming pool, only 10 times better as we were surrounded by jungle, the water was fresh and there was that wee element of danger. In order to get back to the top it required a slippery and dangerous balancing act, which took some mastering if you didnt want to fall back again and again!
After a few shots each we all headed back up to the natural pool at the top waterfall. The water here was very refreshing
Tarzan Water Slide
Is it Tony...or is it Tarzan?
and revitalising, it was the perfect cure for any remaining hangovers. It was really good fun to try and swim against the force of the waterfall as it kept you stationary despite your efforts. Karen managed to get the pool to herself once it started to rain and really enjoyed her dip as everyone else sat at the nearby bar.
We also managed time to visit the museum (Casa de Cultura) in Paraty which had exhibits on the changing faces of Paraty and Brazil over the years. It had lots of info on how Brazil was colonised and the effects this had on the people. It was really interesting, and we were glad we did something a wee bit cultural after all the action.
We decided to head further down the coast to a wee village called Trindade. It was quiet with not much to do, but the beaches did not fail to deliver. We took a wee wander down the coast through jungle and along beaches to reach a naturally enclosed swimming pool which was popular with the locals. However it was a slight disapointment as it was very busy, too shallow to swim
Natural Swimming Pool
Karen chills in the pool
and had tourist boats moored to ferry the lazy folk folk back to town! Still it was a nice day out. We tried a little sunbathing, but it was very hot and boring for us adventurous types! So we took a dip in the sea. However this was not really a relaxing swim as the waves along this area of the coast are massive! They are probably the biggest we have seen close up, and the force of the breaks knocked us off our feet, great fun! It was also very nice to watch these waves in the evening as they crashed and boomed, we could even hear them from our bed at night.
So our time in and around Paraty came to an end having enjoyed ourselves in so many different ways. We will miss the place and as is so often the case would love to re-vist. It was time to head back to the big smoke - Rio!
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