We had a very quiet night along the riverside in Morretesnear the Atlantic coast. We needed that after the 2 overnight stays at noisy petrolstations. Rudy took the opportunity togo for a dip in the river. The coastline of Brazil is narrow with a 700 -800 mhigh ridge. After visiting the small quaint town, we drove up a winding road to the top of the ridge and followed the coastline North.
After some 317 km we drove back to the coast and parked in one of the many parking slots along thebeachfront of Peruibe. Many locals go for an evening stroll or run along the boulevard. A Brazilian couple, who spoke good English, stopped by our camper for a chat. Given our poor Portuguese it was good to finally meet someone who could explainto us all the questions which we have along such a trip. The night was warm at the waterfront and only in the morning did it get a bit cooler. This town seems to be a retirement area for older people. Several group of old folks were having their exercise classes early in the morning on the beach.
Sao Paulo was reached by an 8 lane motorway winding itself up the mountain though tunnels and over bridges. Our Garmin GPS did not help in the final stretch to our destination because one block of map data was missing. Fortunately we also have Google map on the phone. The traffic was dense and slow moving. So slow in places that we saw a thief grab a bag through the window of a car in front of us. The poor driver had no chance of capturing him. No need to say that we already had our windows closed and doors locked. We squeezed through the dense traffic in the streets and found a parking space in a paid parking lot on a vacant piece of land in-between the high rise buildings. They closed the gate at night so we feel safe. Since it was noon time when we arrived, we decided to explore the area we are staying on foot. First by having lunch at one of the many cafes on the street. Then we decidedto visit the Teatro Municipal (Opera House) and we were lucky to be able totake part in an English speaking tour of the impressive building (actually quite similar to the one we visited in Buenos Aires).
The following day we took part in a 3.5 hrs city walking tour of the old city. It is clear that Sao Paulo was not much of a city before the coffee boom in the late 19th century. The old centre has no buildings left from before that time. The churches we visited were all rebuilt invarious styles.
One of the first things the coffee barons had built was the Opera house (1911). Like the one in Buenos Aires it was based on the Paris opera house. For the rest, the centre has a lot of high rising unattractive apartment blocks where the people live.
People living in the centre of the city results in a very active street life where people stroll the streets and the parks andplaza’s have street stalls and music performances. Beside the Opera we visited one museum housed in a restored brick neoclassical mansion which showed a collection of Brazilian art from the 19th century to the present.
The next day (Sunday) we found ourselves locked in the parkinglot. I guessed miscommunication with the attendant. Fortunately a driver with a key came by to collect his truck. We pushed the money under the attendants door and drove through town in search of the modern arts museum. Unfortunately that is locatedon the missing map section. Despite several attempts to find it with Google map we ended up at a large city park where there had just been a running event. The street in front of the park is dominated by a large Christmas tree.
We drove over the same road we entered down to the coastagain and followed this for some 265km till Ubatuba. We saw some beautifull beaches along the way. In Ubatuba we camped at a small marina on an inlet tothe ocean. Outside the water is lapping against the shoreline and the temperature is dropping. Along the way Jamaliah had a refreshing shower at a petrol station where we tanked and were able to empty our toilet. When you are fresh and clean and staying in a lovely spot, life is very pleasant.