The first taste of Brasil

Published: July 21st 2014
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We arrived at the lovely Tucano hostel on Florianopolis island (which we nicknamed Flopo) in a place called Lagoa, a small town with easy access to many of Flopo´s 42 beaches whilst still having a good night life. After checking into our penthouse suite (see picture) we quickly headed out for lunch. Long bus journeys tend to make one rather hungry. We were recommended the (Cruzcafe) round the corner and were not disappointed after ordering four servings of tenderloin steaks with pasta in a creamy Gorgonzola sauce. Feeling thoroughly refreshed we set of on a search round the island to find one of its many famed beaches. Walking along the edge of the lagoon we spotted a high bank of sand and quickly ascended to see the view. One one side was the vast lagoon with a low sun hovering over it whilst on the other was a series of sand dunes. Remembering what we had seen on the map we knew that on the other side was the beach we craved however the distance was unknown. A discussion ensued with Luke insisting that he could see it was no more than 300 metres whilst Welshy was at the other end of the spectrum proclaiming it was well over a mile. In the end we decided we could make better judgement by reaching the peak of a much higher dune. And so the journey began.

Once atop the next mound Luke was again adamant that the distance was a mere 300 metres and we decided again to carry on until reaching the top of the next dune. These events repeated themselves for another 20 minutes before Luke conceded that he may have underestimated how far we had to go. However we decided that because we could see the sea from atop one of the many sand dunes surrounding us that it was within walking distance and that it would be fruitless to turn back. Not long after, with the sun beginning to set, a series of animal tracks were discovered and our vivid imaginations led us to believe that these belonged to a coyote. It was then the realisation dawned upon us; these were no mere sand dunes, what we had stumbled into can only be described as the Desert. Looking back we could no longer glimpse the sea, and turning a full 360o there was no ocean to be found. Our spirits were close to being broken and there was even talk of drawing a large SOS in the sand. ´NO!' exclaimed Tricky striding forwards, ´We have not come this far to be defeated by some desert, we must carry on!'. And on we carried. Some time later we found the first evidence of humans for a long time, a track of footprints! However the direction to follow was uncertain but after assessing the terrain in both directions a decision was made. A quick 10 minute march proved the decision to be correct as we crested the next dune. What. A. View. Ocean as far as the eye could see, lovely golden beach stretching from one end to the other, and what was that in the distance, surely not a bar? We had made it and had found paradise! Half-deranged, ecstatic celebrations and a mad run into the sea followed. This was beyond our wildest dreams and we knew at that moment this was a memory that we would cherish for a lifetime. A short walk later and we were commending our achievement over a beer.

Now, some of you may be sceptical over the events described, hell, even some of our fellows in the hostel didn’t believe our story, and that’s fine. This tale isn’t for you. This is for those romantics amongst you, the dreamers, the people who believe that every once in a while an account of biblical proportions can be experienced by four simple men from the low lands of the Great British isles. The most important thing is that our story be told so as to inspire our fellow humankind for generations to come, to let them know that all it takes is a good amount of courage, determination and belief, with a small portion of luck, and anything is possible.

Later that evening we met up with Scotty and our newly befriended Scottish brethren for a number of caiprinhas before a late night in a bar with live music. However we knew the real festivities would occur on the following day; Brasil (not Brazil) day.

Today was the day we had all been waiting for, the whole reason we had travelled halfway across the world to a country midway through its winter, it was time to watch the famous Brasil amongst the fiercely passionate locals! First stop, find a street vendor selling cheap replica Brasil shirts. These were easy enough to come buy and we were in a local English style pub in plenty of time to watch the early kick off between Germany and France. At this point the bar was reasonably quite so we were able to find a spot with a good view of the screen whilst being right next to the bar. Soon enough the place was beginning to fill out and the atmosphere by the time of the Brasil game was incredible. The sight of us Gringos in our replica shirts also went down a treat. What followed was a game of not too much drama, although the stunning free kick from David Luiz was a particular highlight, especially following a lot of criticism from me and Welshy particularly aimed at his set piece credentials. In high spirits we returned to the hostel for a large number of caiprinhas before heading out to a local night club, still sporting the famed football shirts.

The next day was again football based, with little planned due to the late night before. We stayed at the hostel for the first game before heading to a local 5 a-side pitch to show the locals how to play football ´the real way'. Little did we know, the Brasilian hostel worker was actually a budding Neymar himself and soon enough he was making fools of us Europeans. Then back to the hostel for the a thrilling Holland v Costa Rica game before another spectacular South American Asado to reinvigorate the group. Luke and Tricky headed out to watch a UFC fight at a huge hip-hop club whilst Welshy and I, along with two of the Scottish lads Matty and Scotty, enjoyed a boys night in consisting of pool, cards and an early night.

Finally, enough sun to hit the long sought after beach! Luke failed to resurface after a heavy night but a large group of us from the hostel headed back to the stretch of sand beyond the Desert. Sensibly we decided to catch a taxi this time. A day of surfing, frisbee, volleyball and beach football followed. It must be mentioned that during an attempt to catch a wave Scotty ended up face planting the seabed, with a scrape on his forehead and a go-pro video as evidence. A special mention must go to James the American who gave the last four of us a lift home due to a severe lack of taxis on the island. The hostel provided Mexican food for dinner and a few drinks and cards were in order to celebrate our last night on the island.

The last day was spent catching a bus boat up the coast of the lagoon to a widely recommended seafood restuarant. A wonderful meal of prawns, shrimps, Brasilian fish, mussels and calamari was enjoyed by all before catching a boat back. A quick turn around was needed with a short goodbye to all our lovely new friends before zooming to the bus station. Here we managed to catch an 11 hour bus to Sao Paulo immediately followed by a 7 1/2 hour bus to the famous Rio de Janeiro, just in time to watch Brasil on the festive Copacabana beach.


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