Foz do Iguacu - Maresias
Day 12 - 9.5. Fri
Puerto Iguazu - Foz do Iguacu - Medianeira
37,83 km - 2'40'' - 14,26 km/h avg - 45,04 km/h max
Google Maps just doesn't work as I expected. Tried to stay away from the main highwayto Curitiba and those loonie Brazilian truck drivers, so I left Foz do Iguacu on a small side road. Everything was fine, but after 10 km it became rough cobblestone and later it wasn't any more than a muddy trail through the forest. Would have been serious fun with a MTB, but like this my rack broke after ca. 30 km.
I was incredible lucky. After 5 minutes of unsuccessful trying to improvise a fix, I heard a car coming, on that road into nowhere. Three godsent biologists from the National Park Iguacu were on their way to check if everything was ok with some farms on the edge of the park (wish I would speak more Portuguese, understood very little what they were doing but it seemed really interesting) and gave me a ride through a labyrinth of massive corn fields back to the highway. I never would have found the way out there on my own. Thanks, Ivan, you really saved my ass that day
Cycled some 5 km out of Medianeira and camped in an industrial suburb.
Day 13 - 10.5 Sat
Medianeira - Cascavel
semi-overcast, mild, medium headwind
80,29 km - 4'33'' - 17,64 km/h avg - 47,57 km/h max
Until Cascavel I had no other choice than following the highway, but it turned out to be relaxed cycling. A broad, paved shoulder, lots of gas stations where I could get free water - in spite of some tough climbs and headwind I arrived without problems in Cascavel. Decided to follow this road all the way to Curitiba. The noise of the traffic is a bit annoying but hey, it's safe (relatively :P) and fast.
Looks a bit like home...
Rolling through Cascavel I met an Argentinian guy from the camping cround in Puerto Iguazu again. He recommended me a cheap place to stay where already a travel group of 2 Colombians and 2 Brazilians more were and decided to meet up later for some drinks and check out the nightlife here. Just got som food, took a shower and wanted to rest for some minutes in that comfortable bed with that fluffy pillow and...
Day 14 11.5. Sun
Cascavel - Nova Laranjeiras
semi-overcast, mild, evil headwind
119,63 km - 6'27''50 - 18,50 km/h avg - 53,86 km/h max
...and woke up at 6.30 a.m. Had a massive breakfast (in BRazilian hotels it's all-you-can-eat usually) and filled my pockets with toasted ham and cheese sandwiches when nobody was in the room ^^
That day I got the full flavor of what was expecting me all the way to Curitiba - hard climbs, mad descents, an omnipresent headwind and freezing nights. It was an quite uneventful day, but the last 20 km led through an indiginous reserve, where I had to cycle around men 7 times who passed out on the shoulder of the highway, an empty bottle next to them. I don't get it... why is it always the indigenous population? Their villages didn't look that poor actually.
Arrived in Nova Laranjeiras at dusk and slept on a construction site. Didn't get much sleep though. The mossies were a plague, the concrete was too hard and in the morning it got terribly cold.
Day 15 12.5. Mon
Nova Laranjeiras - Cantagalo
semi-overcast, mild, headwind
54,09 km - 4'04''43 - 13,26 km/h avg - 49,42 km/h max
Had to leave the construction site at 7 a.m. because the workers arrived and were looking not too friendly. Man, I felt bad. The 120 km the day before, the lack of sleep and proper food... I made it to Laranjeiras do Sul, where I got some bomb tight screws for my rack (again broken...). Also ate loads of sugar but it didn't help. 20 minutes later I bonked. Want to say, I fell asleep on the grass at the side of the road. Just as I got off the bike. Woke up three hours later and at least reached my destination for that day.
Day 16 13.5. Tue
Cantagalo - Morro Alto
semi-overcast, mild, headwind
87,99 km - 5'54''46 - 14,88 km/h avg - 47,13 km/h max
Felt a lot better and continued towards Curitiba. Nothing special happened that day. Decided to save the money for the hotel and didn't enter the bigger city of Guarapuava. Just think of all the wicked adventures I missed there :P Found a cool camping spot in an abandoned shack next to the Rio dos Mortes ('River of the Dead')
Day 17 14.5 Wed
Morro Alto - ???
sunny, mild, little headwind
65,42 km - 4'01''47 - 16,23 km/h avg - 54,37 km/h max
Once again, up and down through the mountains of Alto Paraná. At least there was a cool 7km downhill part. I wanted to reach Irati that day but found a roadside camping place with a lovely senior couple who had a store with thousands of those all-natural snacks (no real coffee though, gaaah!) and invested the 5 reales for a hot shower.
Slept with my hammock on the grass withou mosquitonet to see the stars =) Should have covered my stuff though. That night a dense fog came down and in the morning everything was wet. :/
Day 18 15.5. Thu
??? - Irati
fog, chilly, no wind o.O
32,22 km - 1'55''14 - 16,77 km/h avg - 48,02 km/h max
A day of rest in Irati, where I washed my clothes, sewed that blanket, sentr some e-mails and so on...
Day 19 16.5. Fri
Irati - Palmeiras
sunny, afternoon overcast and chilly
81,31 km - 4'38''45 - 17,49 km/h avg - 57,03 km/h max
That day was a bit boring. Nothing happened, I didn't even pass a village or anything. Originally I planned to camp near to Palmeiras, but that city - I cant tell why - had a really really dodgy atmosphere. Cycled through without stopping. It got dark and I still hadn't found a camping spot, so I checked into a small dirty roadside hotel for 10 reales. It had a hot shower and thick blankets - I was more than satisfied
You can see the German and eastern European influences: Theme restaurants everywhere
Day 20 - 17.5. Sat
Palmeiras - Curitiba
overcast-sunny, mild, strong headwind
77,42 km - 4'31''40 - 17,10 km/h avg - 58,96 km/h max
To make the arrival in Curitiba a bit more rewarding, the headwind that day blew with it's full force. But eventually getting into the city was tricky - Brazilian traffic is simply madness. Three lanes, no shoulder and thousands of slip roads - no good situation if everything that's motorized just ignores you as a cyclist.
After so many nights of solitude I felt like socializing again. Bought a bottle of cachaça for some street kinds and had many new friends.
Day 21 - 18.5. Sun
sunny, 0 km
No way to cycle with that hangover, so I used the day for some sightseeing. Actually, I spent most of the day in the Museum Oscar Niemeyer, Brzil's freak-architect. Check those pics.
I expected Darth Vader to lurk behind the corner
Curitiba, so I read, is famous for it's transportation system and it's botanical garden. Well then, use the former to get to the latter. After 45 minutes of walking and asking around in those spacey tube-bus-stops I gave up, watched some trash on TV in my hotel room and fell asleep.
Day 22 - Day 24 - 19.5. Mon - 21.5. Wed
Curitiba - Rua Graciosa - Antonina
sunny, hot, tailwind
88,23 km - 4'52''07 - 18,12 km/h avg - 58,17 km/h max
Getting out of Curitiba wasn't more fun than getting in. Had to ask a dozen times for the way, a strap of a pannier ripped again and there was no other choice than one of Brazil's biggest highways. At least a decent shoulder and a hearty tailwind madi it quick and painful. In a small bicicletaria I saw a handlebar for 10 reales and replaced mine. Made the whole thing a lot more comfortable. After 40 km I left my route for a short excursion to the sea, before continuing on to Rio. There's a really beautiful road down from the high plain through the Serra do Mar, the Rua Graciosa. It lacks the fame, thrill and length of the Bolivian death road, but I'd say that riding this road is more enjoyable. Flowers, small idyllic bridges and viewpoints everywhere, and a long part of the road is cobblestone (poor wrists!). It was great to ride down and to see and feel how the climate changed.
On arrival in Antonina I went straight to the Tourist Information. Found out there is even a small beach where you can enter the sea (Antonina lies in a tiny bay, so most of the coast is mangrove swamp) and it's safe to camp there. And I should check out the chapel on the hill from where you have a nice view over the bay. Went there. Felt the salty breeze for the first time. Remained there just grinning for some 5 minutes. I really made it to the coast.
Áfter having a swim some 2 kms out of town I met a couple who was fishing on the rocks next to where I wanted to sling my hammock and found out that this place at night is the hangout for the local crack-community...
They offered me to find a place for the night for me, but I gotr turned down by Anderson's cousin and mom, so they took me to their home instead. They didn't want to at first, because of the poor conditions they live in, but after assuring that wasn't a problem, they took me to the slums of Antonina. With them lives Diamara's mother, so three people in a tiny abandoned house with a room to sleep in, a room for the fire (both ca. 2,5x2,5m) and a toilet. No water, no electricity. But 5 cats and a puppy made the place quite lively.
The next day we spent walking around town, introducing me to neighbours, friends, family... Everybody was curious about me =) And they organized a canoe for the next day to go fishing. The first night the gave me a mattress to sleep under their roof, but then the had so little space left that I insisted to sling my hammock outside.
We left 5 a.m., still in the dark and after an half an hour paddling in that dugout canoe through mangroves we arrived at an isle that appeared on low tide. They had no equipment to fish properly, so the made money by washing mussels. Pick a load of mussels out of the mud, drop them into a basket in the water and wash the mud off. Until 2 p.m. we filled 5 1/2 sacks and then had to return with the tide rising. but the work isn't finished, yet! You have to cook the mussels, remove the flesh, pick the remaining mud off and wash them again. Until 5 p.m. we cleaned 2 sacks. In total it seemed to be 2 whole days of work for 2 people. The can sell the mussel flesh for 50-60 reales. Think about that.
In the evening I cooked Spaghetti Bolognese for them (on log fire =), it was Anderson's birthday, too. I'll never forget the time I spent with the, They had so liitle, but gave me so much. Their hospitality was uncomparable to anything I have experienced the last 20 months.
But, one again, it makes me sad to see the reality. Bad things happen to good people.
Day 25 - 22.5. Thu
Antonina - BR116
41,97 km - 3'10''15 - 13,2 km/h avg - 55,99 km/h max
It was hard to say goodbye, but the road was calling. Went back to the bighighway the same way I came down. But this time the steep climb up the Rua Graciosa wasn't as enjoyable Even worse, the traffic was a nightmare. It was a holiday, that means partying Brazilians EVERYWHERE on that road.
Once again, found a construction site to sleep in. The thermometer showed 8C in the morning. No worries, I didn't lose any limbs!
Day 26+27 - 23.5. Fri, 24.5 Sat
BR116 - KM507 - SP055
sunny, hot, light tailwind
251,65 km - 11'49''58
The traffic those days was surprisingly light and an interesting landscape made the cycling quite relaxed. But I was keen on getting to the beaches, so I never stopped for long.
Day 28 - 25.5. Sun
SP 055 - Peruíbe
ca. 40 km
I was happy to get off that big highway finally, but now I had a road without shoulder in front of me. I tried riding on the asphalt until a truckl passed me speeding and some 20cm close to my shoulder and the driver shouted obscenities out of the window... So I ended up off-roading on the grass for most of the way to Peruíbe. i was a hibbling pack of nerves, but I arrived. A broad strip of white sand streched out to the horizon, the sun was shining, the wind blowing, dark women wearing no more than dental floss jumping through the waves - THIS is what I had in mind when you say Brazil, man!
And as I thought everything will be good now, that I will relax and taste paradise for the next weeks - in that moment i met Batman.
It's hard to describe that guy. I've met thousands of personalities, but he is going to win the weirdness award. He's crazy. Nuts. Loco. That was one of the first things he himself told me. He was blabbering a constant flow of madness and when he ran out of weird things for a moment, he made strange noises. He offered me a place to stay for the night, so I sticked to him, in spite of weariness, hunger and several people who warned me not to go with him. Sometimes it was quite cool and funny, I had the first caipirinha on a Brazilian beach, got some new music tips, had a spliff on the beach and got a basic introduction into Jiu-Jiutsu. The problem was: he never stopped talking. Not one second. The night wasn't so cool. I wanted to sleep and he wanted to show off with his new gringo friend (in remote places like this it's always something special). Imagine a crowd and someone shouting "Gringo Alemão! Gringo Alemão!!!". That was just too much. I had to be quite persistent to get to bed at 2 a.m.
Day 29 - 26.5. Mon
Peruíbe - Gaivotas
overcast, mild, stroing crosswind
25,96 km - 1'28''55 - 17,52 km/h avg - 31,07 km/h max
Slept until late, ate loads of choclate cake made by Ana (we slept in her house instead of Batman's) and left that crazyness.
On the way out I bought a new axle for the back wheel, the old one was making strange noises. With replacement I had to cough up 32 reales, but it was worth it. The back wheel runs perfectly smooth now - no more wobbling! Got lost on leaving Peruibe and had to find the way back with another flat tyre and no time to eat a snack because it was already getting dark. In a bicicletaria the fied it in a hurry for 2 reales and at the next possibility I went to the beach where I slept in a Quiosco (a strand bar), protected from wind and rain. Lots of mosquitoes, though.
Day 30 - 27.5. Tue
Gaivotas - Guarujá
98,61 km - 4'58''56 - 19,79 km/h avg - 33,05 km/h max
Chilled most of the day at the beach and wrote some of the stuff you just read
I really underestimated the city of Santos and cycled in on late afternoon. No way for stealth camping or sleeping on the beach. but it was real fun to speed through on bicycle lanes.
Bike-mania in Santos
At the edge of Guarujá I saw a sign which said 'pousada', followed it and found: a construction site across the street :P
Day 31 - 28.5. Wed
Guarujá - Juqueí
sunny, hot, light headwind
82,36 km - 4'08''31 - 19,88 km/h avg - 50,90 km/h max
That's it! Cycling into afternoon, then chilling and sleeping at the beach! But I encountered some new problems to solve... *sigh* The gas stations here at the coast don't have unlimited filtered water for free anymore, and, I don't want to apply mossie repellent every night. Sleeping on the beach is cool, but those suckers aren't. Got to find a way to set up that mossie net without suffocating under that rain protection...
Day 32 - 29.5. Thu
Juqueí - Maresias
36,41 km - 2'36''17 - 13,97 km/h avg - 74,06 km/h max
Woke up at 6.20 a.m. when the sun was rising behindthe seaside mountains, illuminating the beach with golden lighting. Another day in paradise, man. In the next small town (Boicacanga, I believe) I went to look for a welding shop, because those panniers hanging into the wheel really got on my balls by then. Took me quite some time and asking around, but that guy did a really good job. It's one tuning after another. The moment i finish my tour I'll have a bike that's appropriate
Pimp my bike!
Then, I continued.
And climbed the most wicked hill until now. I pushed that bike for a freakin' 4 km!
What the fuck?
But the cool thing is: Going down was as steep, too! I speeded down for 200m until Irealized thar it's too steep for my loaden bike and, well, I haven't tuned those brakes yet :/ To not to take off into outer space I had to brake with my feet, lost balance and fell at 35-40 km/h after 2 curves. I saw it coming, covered my head and everything I got were small bruises on shoulder, elbow and knee and a bigger one on the hip. Lucky day.
But no more cycling. Chilled at the beach, wrote all that shit and ended the day in a small dirty drinking hole. It's 10 p.m. now, raining, I'm getting seriously drunk and still have no clue where I'm gonna sleep that night.
What's your adventure?