A 21-day adventure by Jana Petrikova
  • Day20

    Last day in the park

    July 3, 2017 in Brazil ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    In the early morning Washington could not get us out from the bed. However, smelling freshly baked homemade bread, we were up immediately. After getting our energy back from an amazing breakfast we went on the track again. This part of the hike was not tough in the sense of climbing, however, was much longer and the weather was not so good as the previous day. The hike requiered a lot jumping from one boulder to another, and going through mud and bushes...so as seen on the last picture my originally white nikey's were not white anymore. Washington took us to see a spectacular waterfall, it was like 300 metres tall. There he also prepared a lunch for us. Afterwards we walked back towards our car. Today we walked around 20 kms. Although we were exhausted, we really had an amazing time. Reaching the hostel, we were happy to take a shower and wash all the mud from the hike. At night we took an overnight bus back to Salvador from where we had a flight the following day to Natal, this time to enjoy some relaxing days on the beach.Read more

  • Day19

    2 day trek

    July 2, 2017 in Brazil ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    Already at 7 in the morning our guide Washington picked us up because to get to the the start of the trail took 2 hours by car. We were supposed to pay for the tour but it was just impossible to withdraw some cash in the village as there was only one bank plus which ran out of money. So Washington was teasing us that no money no food and we will have to cook by ourselves.

    Once we reached the trail, wel left the car just with our small backpacks with water and clothes we were wearing because Washington warned us that what is one kilo now feels like three during the track. I really admired him as he was carrying food for all four of us for the following two days. The track started with a steep climb of a mountain, followed by a plain until we reached one of the most breathtaking views I have ever seen. To enjoy the view even more, Washington prepared a very good lunch for us. From up there we could see the place where we were supposed to spend the night. It looked so close but in reality so far. Therefore we continued hiking, walking down the steep mountain just the opposite side from the morning one.

    In the afternoon we reached "our accomodation". It was like an oasis in the middle of the mountains. It was a home of a local family who provides shelter for tourists like us during the trek. It was a true paradise, couple of simple houses with no electricity, hens, roosters and mules running around. We really could not imagine a better and more peaceful place to take a rest after an exhausting hike.

    Later we went just up a near hill with the aim to watch a sunset. Although the sunset was not really succesful as we were in the valley and the sun went down behind a mountain...the colors of the sky were still amazing. When we came back, Washington already set a table with an amazing dinner. We had a really good talk over the dinner about the local life. I was curious how is it with the school there as we were really in the middle of nowhere in the mountains and the local family had kids. The answer was really shocking, the kids have to go everyday to the nearest village to attend school, so basically they gotta do the trek to cross the mountain every single day. They use the mules, we have seen running around, but still I was feeling really priviliged that I live so close to my school, eventhough I complain all the time that I have to go there.

    After the dinner already around 8 pm we totally passed out with exhaustion but really happy that we could do trekking in such an amazing nature.
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  • Day18

    Chapada Diamantina

    July 1, 2017 in Brazil ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    As I have mentioned, our second stop was Chapada Diamantina. The way  there took around 6 hours from Salvador.

    Chapada Diamantina is a deliciously unspoiled National park well of the beaten path. A pristine outdoor wonderland of rushing waterfalls, crystal blue pools, hiking trails and natural waterslides.

    When you plan your trip you can either decide for one day excursions or a more day trek with a local guide. We heard that the second option is much better in order to really get the feeling of the park. However, planning in advance is really tough as many tourist agencies set the prices really high. Thanks to couchsurfing I got a contact for a local guide who was willing to acompany us to the park, but the communication was a little bit confusing so we decided to book a hostel and organize trips through them.

    However, arriving to the bus station early in the morning an unexpected surprise was waiting for us. There was waiting somebody from the hostel to pick us up holding a sign with Sasa's name and next to him my couchsurfing guide calling on me hello Jana. Michael was just having a blast and at this moment I was happy that he leaves all the planning just on me and Sasa, otherwise there would probably be a third person waiting for us. We apologized for the misunderstanding and left for the hostel as scheduled.

    The first day we decided for a one day tour. At the hostel they organized everything and later our guide Washington picked us up. Just driving through the park of unspoiled nature was awesome. The first stop of the tour was a Lapa Doce cave. We got funny colorful helmets and went underground to explore the 3rd largest cave in Brasil with its roof always 15 to 20 metres high and amazing limestones stalactites and stactmites with odd shapes and colors.

    The next stop was a Pratinha cave. When walking there, our guide spotted a Tarantula spider and was taking him on a stick. As I am not a huge fan of spiders, I was just watching from distance. By the Pratinha cave I was really amazed because it is a mouth of underground river flowing out to the surface. We had a possibility of doing a snorkeling tour there. It was an unforgetable experience. I think I have never seen such a transparent water. When we swam to the inside of the cave, there was a complete darkness so we had to use a torch to make our way. It was a little bit frightening but exciting feeling being inside a cave in darkness and having around 20 meters of water below us. Afterwards we chilled just beyond the cave where the river forms a lake, a true oasis with crystal clear water.

    The third stop was a Pai Inácio mountain. The view from the top is a 360 degree majestic scenery of the national park. It was just a short hike to get up and totally worth the effort.

    Last stop was a Mucugezinho river. The river has a really interesting black color, the water is really clean though, its the iron that makes it black. After a short trail, partly wading through the river we reached a Devil's pool with an impressive waterfall.

    Our guide was a really awesome one and we had an amazing day so we asked him for recommendation how to spend the following two days in the national park. He offered taking us on a 2 day trek of a part of the Pati valley trail which is considered to be one of the most beautiful treks of Brazil. It also included one night stay in the mountains in a house of locals. So of course we made a deal with him!

    Returning to the hostel we cancelled the second night, packed everything and prepared just the necessary for the trek.
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  • Day17

    2nd day in Salvador

    June 30, 2017 in Brazil ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    Our second day in Salvador started with a rainy morning so we enjoyed a relaxed great hostel breakfast before the weather got better and we headed to the streets of Salvador. Once more we walked through the historic centre of Pelourinho before we aimed to the waterfront of the city called Barra. On the way we took a ride in an elevator that connects the upper part of the city with the waterfront, checked some souvenirs in a market place, and met a really cool old rasta man with who we took some rasta pictures. In Barra there was a really nice promenade with many restaurants around. So after lunch we chilled on the beach and later walked towards the South America's oldest lighthouse (Farol da Barra) for the sunset. In the evening we went back to the hostel to pick up our luggage before we took an overnight bus to our next stop Lencois, the base to enter the national park of Chapada Diamantina.Read more

  • Day16


    June 29, 2017 in Brazil ⋅ 🌫 25 °C

    The first stop of our 2 weeks adventure is Salvador. Once the magnificent capital of Portugal's New World Colony, Salvador is the country's Afro Brazilian jewel. The city is marked by the harsh history of the African slave trade. However, today's lively Bahian capital offers a unique fusion of two vibrant cultures.

    To get there we took a direct flight from Sao Paulo. When we reached our hostel, we were really surprised in a positive way when finding a cosy hostel right in the historic centre of Pelourinho with a swimming pool on a terrace. Pelourinho is a Unesco declared World heritage site of colourful colonial buildings and magnificent churches. As the right tourists we went directly to the streets to explore. When wandering around, I was just amazed by its liveliness and colours everywhere.

    Moreover, the state of Bahia is well known for its amazing cuisine. We wanted to try a local dish called Moqueca so we looked for the right restaurant. If you wanna attract czech people to enter your restaurant...offer them a free caipirinha. Thats exactly what made us to choose the right place. :D Moqueca is a dish based on a fish or other sea food, tomatoes, onions, garlic and coriander cooked with coconut milk and served with beans and rice on a side. We chose a shrimp one and it was just delicious. After a good food it was time to relax by the hostel's pool with a happy hour of free caipirinhas. If you are ever in Salvador, book your stay in the hostel Galeria 13!

    The month of June is characterized by the festas Juninas (June's celebrations). So, in the evening we were ready to go out to enjoy the nightlife scene of Salvador. All the streets were colourfully decorated and music was coming from every corner. Also the capoeira performances took place almost at every square of the city. Capoeira combines elements of the fight, the game and the dance. It was developed by Afro-Brazilian slaves more than 400 years ago as a means of maintaining a ready self-defense against their masters. Today it remains a uniquely Bahian art form.
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  • Day15

    Let's pack!

    June 28, 2017 in Brazil ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    Sasa oficially finished her exchange semester with her last exam and we are ready to travel again! So today was just a packing day. So far, we have covered Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and the Iguazu falls.

    Now we have a 2 weeks adventure ahead of us. Tomorrow we head to the northeast to the state of Bahia, our first stop is going to be Salvador, the so-called Afro-Brazilian jewel. From there we go to a national park of Chapada Diamantina, to explore the crystal blue pools, rushing waterfalls and rugged hiking trails. Afterwards we fly more to the north to get some sun tan as the north is famous for the most beautiful beaches of Brazil. We will move down the coast spending some time in Pipa, Joao Pessoa and Recife. From Recife we take a flight to a last point of our trip...park Lencois Maranhenses where we plan to do a 3 day trek right across a desert. We are sooo excited to start our travels. Hopefully everything will work out as planned and we will have an amazing time.
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  • Day14

    Vila Madalena walking tour

    June 27, 2017 in Brazil ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    It is actually exam period for Saša now and tomorrow is her last exam, so she needed to study a little bit. However, I wanted to continue exploring the city, so Saša suggested me to join a free walking tour. It is a travel agency that organizes daily walking tours through Sao Paulo...amazing way how to meet other travelers and get to know the city from a local perspective.

    I joined a Vila Madalena tour. Vila Madalena is considered to be the coolest neighbourhood of Sao Paulo. It is known for its bustling nightlife and Sao Paulo bohemian culture and art. The neighbourhood is filled with dozens of galleries, studios, restaurants, bars and series of graffiti covered streets and alleys. The most well known is probably the batman's alley. Nowadays, brazilian graffiti is one of the best in the world. It all started back in the 70's as an important instrument of protest against the distatorship opression that the country suffered.

    The tour took 3 hours, which passed super quick thanks to our enthusiastic guide and the good time we were having. If you are ever in Sao Paulo, I really recommend to take one of their tours (www.saopaulofreewalkingtour.com). I discovered the area during the day time, but as I mentioned above, it is a popular place to go out, thats why I could not miss the opportunity to continue exploring the area during the night time as well. So with Sasa and other exchange students we came back later for some caipirinhas..and i have to admit, the Brazilians are the masters at making caipirinhas.
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  • Day12

    Park Ibirapuera

    June 25, 2017 in Brazil ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    On sundays the main avenue Paulista is closed down from all the traffic. So it is great for pedestrians to just stroll around and enjoy all the musical and dance performances taking place on the street. Thats exactly what we did with Saša and her friend from Germany that she met during her exchange semester here. Later we went to a park called Ibirapuera. It is the biggest green space in central Sao Paulo. We bought a fresh coconut water, that can be found at every corner there and just laid down on the grass and had a good time watching a sun going down over a lake.Read more

  • Day11

    Embu das Artes

    June 24, 2017 in Brazil ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    Today we went on a small trip, 30km outside of Sao Paulo to a small town called Embu das Artes. Thanks to the hippies, artists and intellectuals the town managed to retain much of its colonial core. Its a popular weekend retreat to escape from Sao Paulo's concrete jungle. During the weekend local artisans offer their wares at the outdoor market. The area around the market is full of antique and crafts shops. So it was a perfect way for two girls how to spend their Saturday.

    With Sasa we took a bus to go there, but it was pretty tricky at first, as there was no exact timetable, neither the bus stop was marked properly. So we were just asking locals if we are at the right bus stop. But we made it! We were just wandering around the market and exploring little colourful streets of Embu. Moreover, all the houses were painted with different colours which made the town really vivid.
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  • Day10

    Municipal market

    June 23, 2017 in Brazil ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    When you are in Sao Paulo...the Municipal market is a must! It is a traditional gourmet point of the city. We went there for lunch to get a mortadella sandwich, which is on the second picture. Just coming inside the building I was overwhelmed by all the different stands, especially with fruits. The sellers stop you and give you to try some with expectations that you buy something in return. I tried some kinds of fruit that I have never heard of before. Of course a brigadeiro for a sweet tooth like me could not be missed as well. Brigadeioro is a common brazilian delicacy from condensed milk, cocoa powder, butter and chocolate sprinkles to cover the outside layer, also on the second picture.

    In the afternoon, we wanted to go up Banespa skyscaper, Brazil's version of The Empire State Building for one of the best panoramas of the city. Unfortunately, it is under reconstruction at the moment. So we came up with a plan B and went on a tour through a city hall, which was probably really interesting, unfortunately just in portuguese. However, the tour ended on a beautiful rooftop with a tropical garden and views of the city. So it was really worth it.
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