Off to Valanca 14 January
We plan to get the last ferry at 6pm today to Valenca. Our bus leaves at 10pm for a night trip to Porto Seguro.
What really happened......
We paid for a late check out. We had breakfast then went to the right of the hotel as far as we could for a walk. Met an Argentinian young man who's working in a bar. We're the 1st English people he's seen there an he's worked there for a couple of years. Walk back a bit and see some retro deck chairs so we grab a couple and order a beer. We're a bit burned from yesterday so really don't want to add to it especially as we're on the bus tonight. At 2pm we decide to wander back; it's very hot. Yesterday it was 36*, today it feels hotter. We get back, have a shower and cool down and finish packing. There's not much to pack. Around 3:45 we decide to wander along to the ferry, don't know how long it'll take in this weather and with our bags. Arrive just after 4 and the ferry is still there so we hopped on...(I'd like to say it was that easy but it's not. Struggle to lurch the bag onto a boat which is bobbing up and down with a small gap then thrown yourself on too. That's without having to ensure Guy does the same. (We did get a bit if help though). There's no damn room on the boat! We have 2 small cases and 2 backpacks so these have to be negotiated between a boat full of people. Guy got a seat; someone squidged up. I put my case in a spot and was about to fall onto someone's knee when she moved to let me have it....I'd say she was lucky; I may've squashed her! Anyway, short ferry ride and everyone gets off. I check 'Valenca?' Si! So off we get....
Arrive at a small ferry area, the name doesn't say Valenca...? Oops! Anyway, obviously looking very lost and speaking no Portuguese, I find someone and explain (badly) what I need. Ah...so the ferry goes to this little port called Carioca, then you're transported to Valenca in a 'bus'. Good job we left a bit earlier because trying to do this in the dark would've been near on impossible!
Arrive at the bus station, get to the kiosk to exchange my voucher for tickets. Bus is due at 10:10pm. It's around 6pm. I have a bad tummy, we've not eaten but I'm not going to 'just in case'. Manage to get Guy a cheese and tomato 'roll' and a pkt of Doritos. I nibbled a couple of them....big mistake! It costs the equivalent of 50p to use the loo!
Bus was late. 10:10 goes...then in arrives a bus at around 10:40. Woohoo! Go through the barriers...not our bus. This is the later bus. Our bus arrives at around 11pm. Now we have our tickets, we have to have ID to buy them, ID to collect them, now we have to have ID to board the bus with them! And after struggling to get the passports out, I realise I'd used driving licenses to buy the tickets so different ID number. Have to get driving license out! We're in the front seats; that's what I'd chosen. Lots of leg room, comfy seats. Really impressed..... but it's really cold! The air con is on all the time. It's freezing! Good job we have our beach wraps and I have a silk one too. Uneventful night really, except it's quite noisy with the bus stopping and people getting off wherever. We did sleep a bit. Guy got bitten by mosquitoes quite badly wherever his skin was uncovered. On his head, fingers, hand...
Well we arrive in Porto Seguro. Our plan is to drop our bags at the hotel and explore. We find a taxi and tell him where we're staying. He looks puzzled, doesn't know where it is. He uses my information to call the hotel, and finds that it's +20k away. I'm astounded. It was chosen using their map locator on a website so we know where we'd booked. And the address isn't correct. We ask about a bus. It's too late to cancel because of penalties (I'm going to try and get some sort of a refund afterwards and have complained). After about an hour on the bus (and getting some looks because our bags take up a seat), they drop us at the side of a busy road. We can't see it. Wander down a road opposite and ask. We're directed up to the main road again and along about 20 yards. Well it's there. What a disappointment. The pool is the first thing....it's cloudy! I ask and say it's dirty. I'm told it'll be clear in an hour....it's not surprisingly! In fact, the rooms clean, but the whole place has an air of disrepair and neglect, is that because it's just been taken over and it's being refurbished? Who knows. We leave our bags and head over the road to the sea which is stunning, no tourists which is a bonus for us. We need a pharmacy so walk approx 1 mile into the town of Cabrialla. We get some pills and some cream for Guys bites. Then wander to a beach bar and have some fries and beer. Find a supermarket, buy supplies. I'm not able to eat still so we buy some snacks (biscuits, crisps etc), coke, water, Ouro ( our drink of choice). We get a taxi back. The heat is searing! Not that we're complaining but it's a bit too hot to walk back with shopping. Get back to our room to find that our plastic glasses (we brought fold up glasses ) had been invaded by little tiny ants ( I'm guessing that's what they were). Clear them away and have to remember to wash out any glasses we use next time. Go to the beach. We just paddled. The sea seems to be a bit rough, not sure it is but we're tired etc so just paddle and have a lay (doze) in the sun. This evening we have a 'bicnic' on the bed, book our hotel in Victora and Belo Horizonte and our flight from Belo Horizonte to Cabo Frio. Productive eve. Watched something I'd downloaded from BBC before coming away. Wanted to watch something on Netflix but the wifi signal isn't as good here. Early night.
Slept surprisingly well. Breakfast was ok, just ok. We were going to get the bus somewhere but the owner gave us a lift to the next town which is an artisan town. Lots of stalls selling stuff but really it's just the same stuff in each stall. Bought a wooden spoon as mine broke. Yes, I bought one for you too Katie because I think I broke yours? (And you Sarah in case you feel left out). Bought a trinket for Felicity but really there's nothing to buy. Would've bought the bows and arrows but we've no room for anything large. We spent the morning there, went to a supermarket and bought something for lunch. Guy chose a couple of 'chicken' pies and I got a bread roll and some cream cheese. We caught the bus back to Calbralia which is the town near where we're staying. We found somewhere to sit and eat. Watched the vultures in a river bed and little mud crabs scuttling to and fro. Wandering to the beach we found an ice lolly shop and had one walking along to the beach. We were getting concerned about where we were going to eat. On the island all the beach bars/restaurants closed at sunset. Anyway, spent a nice afternoon on the beach, had a couple of beers. On the way off, we were looking at menus at different restaurants and one, Tropical, stopped us and spoke. Asked what time they closed and they said late...and one of the owners(?) spoke English....bonus! Anyway, we said we'd go back. Ordered a taxi using a card we were given the day before. Used whatsapp which is brilliant. I could use google translate although he understood because I put the hotel name and 'English' in there. We made arrangements for him to bring us back too. It's a bit dark on the beach and we wouldn't know where we had to get off.
The meal; it arrived. We thought we'd ordered prawns....not! We had 2 whole fishes with prawn sauce, salad, rice and mash potatoes. I'd ordered fries but we didn't get them, he forgot....thankfully! It was delicious! It's the first meal we've eaten for 3 days due to my upset tummy. 2 huge bottles of beer, paid using credit card, chose to pay in £'s, £24, wow. Whatsapp the taxi again. He must think it's his birthday! 15 Reals each way. That's not much but I think it is here.
Breakfast, then I did a bit of washing. Caught the bus to Porto Seguro. It took an hour! We thought we'd get a couple of postcards; Katie and Felicity like them (yes, there's someone else who does too). But there's none! And all the shops have the same stuff; sarongs, hats, swimwear, flip flops etc.... But no damn postcards. However, if I'd gotten any, where would I post them. The post offices are very few and far between. We had a fabulous ice cream, Guy had toffee and I had cherry. Yum! Then after a little wander, a beer to cool us down. Decided to walk a little way before getting the bus. Walked a little further than we'd thought but eventually caught the bus into Calbralia, had a beer (we seem to be drinking vast amounts of beer; I blame Judy! I never drank beer till she converted me! ) but it's very hot. 36* again today. We walked along the beach paddling in the sea until we could get off to our hotel. Going back to Tropical for dinner again. Have to pack tonight....bus to Vitoria tomorrow night.
Woke fairly early to hear rain.....! Didn't last too long. Breakfast, then packing. We spoke to a couple of guys, or rather they spoke to us. One is an English teacher. I think they must be 4 work friends together. Another one of the party is the school principal. We've been a bit worried about the bus ticket. On the email it states the voucher should be printed. We don't have a printer. Guy speaks to the receptionist (this hotels only redeeming feature) and he says he can print it for us. Brilliant. I forward the vouchers to him. Then an hour or so on the beach over the road before showering and changing ready for the bus. When we're ready, we drag our bags down to the reception to check out. No one there. Then the guy from reception comes back in his motorbike and hands the voucher printouts to us. He's on,y gone into the town to get them printed! How kind.
The buses go ever half hour. We plan to get the 12:00; Guy likes to be 'on time' although this is a little excessive! Anyway, the bus doesn't stop! Never mind, we wait and another comes at around 12:20. We take it to the bus station then find the left luggage and check our bags. Then an uber into the town; specifically MacDonalds. Never used them before this trip. They're brilliant and so convenient (and cheap) especially if you can't speak the language. We have a lunch there. It's cheap and we know what we're having. Don't want a bad tummy on the bus. Then a wander along the front looking at the little shops. There's obviously a market tonight because the stalls are all going up. Find a little shop with loads of little niknaks and buy a couple of things. Then another ice cream. From there a beer then an uber back to the bus station to get our tickets and wait for the bus. I've put my lovely knitted wrap in my bag as well as my beach wrap because the last bus was so cold. We have seats 17 & 18. Eventually it's 6:30 and we can check our luggage into the bus and sort ourselves out. It's a long trip. Leaves at 7pm and gets in at 6:30am. I sleep ok.
We arrive, get an Uber to the hotel. This time it's an Ibis. We know what we're getting and after the last hotel, we need to have something we know. Arrive and pay to check in early. Even a free breakfast which was great. Then shower and Uber to the Vale museum. We plan to go the Belo Horizonte by train so we thought we'd see the museum first. We spoke to someone there who said you could only get the tickets online and helped on my phone. Problem was, he said there wasn't any tickets left. So we grab another Uber to the station to find its closed; everything's closed; it's Sunday! Anyway, back to the hotel and try again online to book a ticket. The receptionist thought that maybe if we went to the station in the morning we may get a ticket. Well try that. Otherwise it's another bus. But a daytime one this time so we can see the scenery.
Went walking to find a bar or something. Everyone thinks we're mad I think because we walk everywhere. EVERYTHING'S CLOSED! Got a coke in a subway store because that's all that's open. We get to the beach. Really lovely breeze here although hot. Start walking back but we see no restaurants or anything. Ask at reception and the receptionist says there's a MacDonalds up the road. I told him I wasn't going there. Anyway, in the road I googled (what did we do before the Internet?..) and found a couple of restaurants opening at 6pm nearby. We chose the Red Elephant pizzeria. It wasn't far so walked although one other guest at the hotel asked if we were OK and that we should get an uber. It was fine. We ordered (stupidly) 2 pizzas. I chose 4 cheese and Guy the chicken. Both were delicious but of course, we only ate half of each so we had the rest put into a box for tomorrow. We had a couple of beers and it was 125 Reals. Everyone seems to pay for everything here on cards and are surprised when I get out cash. Wander back to the hotel for a drinkie in our room. Arrive to find about 50 people trying to check in. Get to our room on the 6th floor to find our key cards don't work. Mine has been next to my phone; I'm an idiot! Off to reception and as I get to the lift, I find Guy has nearly dropped our pizza and it's against his fave shorts. He now has one less pair of shorts because they've got grease on them!
Ordered our uber early to go to the railway station. Get there, stand in line. Use google translate to ask for what we want to do; train tickets for Wednesday. The first ticket he can offer is 7th February! Call another uber. This ones really dangerous texting all the time. Get to the bus station and order tickets. The 8am ones don't have seats next to each other, so we booked the 8:20am ones. It's a better bus with the seats being able to nearly fully recline but it's extra by 50 Reals. We paid the equivalent of around £75 for the 2 tickets. Arrive at 7:20pm! 11 hour bus ride. Never mind. It's a Unesco World Heritage area so should be glorious.
We decide to walk. We want to see the old city so using maps, we set off. Palacio Anchieta is a former Jesuit school (built 1551) but was taken over by the government as Government Administrative Headquarters. Then a beer near the cathedral, which is absolutely stunning although it was rebuilt in the early 1920's using the cathedral in Cologne as inspiration. Some absolutely beautiful building but equally, some really shabby derelict ones. Walked about 8 miles back to the hotel. Went over to the shopping mall opposite and bought more hooch and coke and a couple of beers to go with our leftover pizzas. Also a chocolate each for 2.75reals each. Forecast for rain tomorrow and the rest of the week. Spoke to another guest who said that he didn't think that a taxi would be able to get here on Wednesday. We'll see.