Monday, 2 December 2013

Brazil - 14th Feb 2013 to 2nd March 2013 - our Holiday with the Vijayans - We all had a wonderful time.

Hello Everyone, at last I have got down to writing about our Brazil holiday.  Yet another apology for the long silence but it is worth waiting for it....

I shall post the photos.  By reading the Blog I am sure you will guess where the places and photos fit in.  Please do keep in touch. x  Mel and Jack

Copacabana Beach

The Carnival



Sugar Loaf Mountain and the
views from that height were

Cristo Redentor - Corcovado - My dream come true...

Cathedral of São Sebastião
The Cathedral building is 75m high with a106m external diameter. It boasts a 64m high ceiling with a "standing" capacity 20,000 (5,000 seated). The church's cross was designed to be very large and required an architectural design to accommodate it. The Mayan pyramid served as inspiration along with the traditional Bishop's miter ("hat"). The four giant stained glass windows are also an impressive element of the structure.
On the Beach - Copacabana

Above is the night view of THE FAVELLA
- Shanty towns - it looked like Christmas in the night time.

These buildings are in Paraty - I loved
every bit of this little town - very colourful.

Walnut tree on the left and below is the only church I saw in Paraty

Jack is having fun and below are more of the
buildings in Paraty.
Ile Grande - the beaches on all the islands and clear water, fishes swimming near you was paradise.




Above right is a gigantic dam.  You can read all above it in the Blog.

Bird Sanctuary.



The Toco toucan is at home in South America's tropical forests.
These iconic birds are very popular pets.   Indigenous peoples regard the bird with a more sacred eye; they are traditionally seen as conduits between the worlds of the living and the spirits.



 Iguacu Falls - Rio side










 Iguacu Falls - Argentinian side.
They are the best from all the Falls I have
see in the world.







 Below Butterflies everywhere - it is the
Rainforest atmosphere.





Butterflies mating, laugh away - I am that ignorant.  I thought butterflies came from
caterpillars.  oh oh how silly I am.

The best hotel - Hotel das Cataratas
Rodovia Br 469
Km 32 - Iguaçu National Park.

 I walked and walked in the Rainforest.
 These models were in the Botanical Garden in Rio
 The Metro on the right.
 The Historical Museum in Rio

Igreja de Candelaria 


 Santa Teresa (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈsɐ̃tɐ teˈɾezɐ]) is the name of a neighborhood in the city of Rio de JaneiroBrazil. It is located on top of the Santa Teresa hill, by the centre of Rio, and is famous for its winding, narrow streets which are a favourite spot for artists and tourists.
 I loved it and we ate our traditional Goan dish here called SORPOTEL.  Fancy getting it in Rio but
that shows how the Portugese brought their influence into GOA - India.  See here the people are
so relaxed.
 igreja e Mosteiro de Sao Bento (Church and Monastry of St Benedict)




 An evening trip to the top to see this
wonderful Statue of Christ.
The atmosphere and the sunset and the
feelings are very different from day time.
Jack and I enjoyed every bit of our time
this evening.  It is so beautiful.





 Night life on the beach in Rio.

 St Jude's church near Cristo Redentor - Corcovado

 This is all PETROPOLIS - outskirts of Rio.


 The Cathedral of St Pettro is massive and

 On the right is the  Statue of Fatima that Jack took a 45 mins hike.  I sat on a bench somewhere
and saw the world go by.  The weather was super for me to do that waiting patiently for Jack's


 This is Salvador - Bahai.

These Bahai women and their traditional
food.  We loved eating them.
 Special shell dishes that we used
to eat in Goa.
 This is the old city of Pelourinho - The world Heritage site and buildings and
churches are all within a small area with cobbled streets.  The area is traffic free.
It is the historic center.









 The church of Our Lord of Bonfim.
The Church of Bonfim is possibly the most famous place of worship in all of Brazil. The simple white edifice has long been the juncture of Catholicism and the Afro-Brazilian Candomblé traditions, and the annual washing of the Bonfim steps—one of the city's largest feasts, which takes some inspiration from Candomblé—draws upwards of a million pilgrims from all over the country every January.
In the church's small antechamber, folks pray for speedy recovery from illnesses by hanging replicas of legs, hands, arms, heads. Photographic proof of the miracles that Bonfim church has bestowed upon the devotees cover the walls.




 This is our B & B Pousada 'ESTELDAR DA MAR'
close to the beach and center.  Very clean and we enjoyed
our breakfast and stay here.
 Meeting Maryann, Alex and Khusboo at the airport on our way back from Brazil, London
to Toronto.  It is always a joy to be with them.

OUR BRAZIL HOLIDAY -  14th Feb to 2nd March 2013

Day 1 - Thursday 14th Feb.2013

Left Toronto at 6.30 pm, upgraded to Club Class so had some rest.  My brother Angelo dropped us to the airport.
Arrived at LHR at 6.30 am on Friday the 15th Feb and was met by Maryann and John.  We had breakfast.

Day 2 - Friday 15th Feb.2013

We had a lovely 2 hours with Maryann .  We had a few anxious moments before we were allocated the seats on the flight to RIO but our Lord does not abandon us.  Finally we boarded BA 24a to RIO quite full but we got on.  Mel in Traveler Plus and Jack in Economy.  Long Flight - 11 hours in all.  Mel in Traveler Plus so with a bit wider seat and extra food was very comfortable.  Nothing much about the flight.  Arrived at GIG (RIO) airport and immigration etc all smooth.  After considering various options took the prepaid taxi.  How we thank God we did this because we seemed to go round and round in circles.  Finally at the hotel (language barrier) could not find our reservation.  One hour later in room and thankful to dive into bed.  Vijayans already here from yesterday.

Day 3 - Saturday 16th Feb.2013

After breakfast we spent about 2 hours arranging itinerary etc. and then went to a travel agent in Copacabana 'Guantur Turismo', Lu Percio, R Dias da Rocha, Copacabana.  CEP 22051-020.  Telephone Number 25483275.  Email is  A very helpful guy who booked all our flights.
Had a good lunch at buffet restaurant on Ave Copacabana.
Back to the hotel we came across some magnificent floats from last weeks Carnival.  Amazing constructions only pictures can describe.  Rain forest, Trojan Horse, Chariots & Horses, Gladiators.  Language is a big barrier.  We spent another one and half trying to book city tours and extending accommodation.  Visited Bank of Brazil Cultural Centre - It's interior, money collection, old style offices were all amazing.

Day 4 - Sunday 17th Feb.2013

Today we went to Igreja de Candelaria  in Rio for 7 am Mass only to find the church locked.  On talking to the Royal Windsor Hotel next door that Mass have been changed to 10.30 am and in any case clocks went back last night but on one told us.  So we could have had another hour in bed.  Today we went on a City Tour to Sugar Loaf Mountain, some sights in town, Christ the Redeemer (PortugueseCristo Redentor is a statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; considered the largest Art Deco statue in the world. It is 30 metres (98 ft) tall, not including its 8 metres (26 ft) pedestal, and its arms stretch 28 metres (92 ft) wide.  It weighs 635 tonnes (625 long, 700 short tons), and is located at the peak of the 700-metre (2,300 ft) Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park overlooking the city. A symbol of Brazilian Christianity, the statue has become an icon for Rio de Janeiro and Brazil.  It is made of reinforced concrete andsoapstone, and was constructed between 1922 and 1931.
A Catholic Pyramid in the middle of Rio?”
At first glance this building looks like a Mayan religious site but inside is a massive cathedral with beautiful stained glass windows. Brazil has a lot of beaches and churches/chapels/cathedrals and this has to be the largest and most modern. 
“Inspired Mayan architecture creates a new experience”
This conical shape cathedral is quite different to anything you have seen before. It reminded us of our Mexican tour because of its pyramid design. Its four floor to pinnacle stained glass windows each depict a story which the tour guide brought to life through his explanation.We were present during the Sunday morning service and so we were able to enjoy the benefit of the unusual acoustics of the cathedral which are supposed to represent the sounds in heaven. The great concrete interior finish however did little to enhance the true splendour of this place and I am surprised they have not utilised the services of the multitude of Rio's street artists to adorn the lower parts of this building as a gesture of inclusion. Nevertheless it is well worth a visit but better with a guide.

The guide was pretty useless but the sights truly amazing.  Both Sugar Loaf and Cristo are highly sophisticated engineering feats.  Words cannot adequately describe these marvels. 

Sugarloaf Mountain (in Portuguese, Pão de Açúcar), is a peak situated in Rio de JaneiroBrazil, at the mouth of Guanabara Bay on a peninsula that sticks out into the Atlantic Ocean. Rising 396 metres (1,299 ft) above the harbor, its name is said to refer to its resemblance to the traditional shape of concentrated refined loaf sugar.

The mountain is only one of several monolithic granite and quartz hills that rise straight from the water's edge around Rio de Janeiro. A glass-walled cable car (in popular Portuguesebondinho - more properly called teleférico), capable of holding 65 passengers, runs along a 1400-metre route between the peaks ofPão de Açúcar and Morro da Urca every 20 minutes. The original cable car line was built in 1912 and rebuilt around 1972/1973 and in 2008. The cable car leaves a ground station located at the base of theBabilônia hill, to the Urca hill and then to the Pão de Açúcar.

The Tour ended for us at Copacabana Beach which is great fun.  It is long and broad beach with a wide variety of fun activities going on - people running, walking, swimming, playing in the sand, playing volleyball or footer.  You can spend hours enjoying yourself watching others have fun and doing so yourself.  Beer is sold every where.

Day 5 - Monday 18th Feb.


We went to Paraty on this day.  We took a bus of 4 hours journey i.e. is what the Lonely Planet stated.  We were going by bus when a taxi came by and he gave us a good deal to take us to Paraty which was 4 and half hours each way with 5 hours in Paraty.  It is a quaint old place but worth the visit.  The drive was pleasant although a bit cramped with 4 passengers in the back.  Arrived back to Rio at 10 pm.  A long day but a very enjoyable one.

Day 6 - Tuesday 19th Feb.  

This day we went to Ilha Grande which is located 100 miles south of Rio de Janeiro in the district known as Angra dos Reis in the state of Rio de Janeior, Brazil.  We went by bus on a two hours ride and then on a schooner for about 6 hours - island hopping, swimming in the crystal clear waters with fish swimming around you inquisitively.  The islands are breath taking.  Arrived back in the night yet another long day but a memorable one. 

The district is known as 'the Caribbean of Brazil' and boasts over 350 different islands within the region, Ilha Grande is famous for its 106 beaches, 56 waterfalls, caves and rivers.  The Brazilian Government protects it as a wildlife reserve.  Ilha Grande is also home to the 'Mata Atlantica' or Atlantic Rainforest.

Currently, only 5 percent of the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest remains.  Ilha Grande is one of the last regues that hosts one of the richest ecosystems on the planet.

Day 7 - Wednesday 20th Feb.  

We visited the famous Iguazu Falls renowned to be the best in the world.  We flew GOL - 2 and half hours flight.  Checked into Pousada Charm Iguasu an OK B & B.
Took the bus to Downtown Iguacu.  The town was pretty quiet but we found a buffet restaurant call GAUCHO.  You serve yourself all the side salads etc and waiters walk around with large barbecue skewers with grilled meats of different types.  (Jack counted 12 varieties from chicken, beef, pork, rabbit, quail, chicken hearts etc) an shave off what you want.  Even BBQ pineapple was on offer.  The meal was really good and even our veg friends had enough options for the Rs22.50 price which I thought was very reasonable and all agreed.
Got back on the bus and booked tours with Falls View Agency

Day 8 - Thursday 21st Feb

Breakfast was all sorts of varieties, got picked up at 8.10 am to go the Iguacu Dam.

A gigantic dam about 8 km long was the biggest by producing capacity in the world - 2nd to Chinas 3 Gorges.  It is well developed to cater to tourists and visitors.  The dam produces all the elect for Paraguay and 70% of Brazils requirement.  What Paraguay does not need from their 50% share is sold back to Brazil.  It was very interesting tour.  A visit to the Bird Sanctuary was next with exotic birds of this region and some from other parts of the world.  The highlight of todays tour was the Iguacu Falls, Brazil side the roughly 3 hour visit way awe inspiring.  The mere size of the falls (length) the amount of water roaring over, the number of secondary falls as truly a wonder.  One walks about 1 KM on the Brazilian side viewing all the water rolling over the cliff on the Argentinian side  into the gorge below.  That side is for tomorrow.  Back at Charm by 4 pm.  After a splash around in the swimming pool we took a walk into downtown and had dinner.

Day 9 - Friday 22nd Feb.  

An early start to go to the Argentinian side to see the FALLS from there.  After a 12 km side and with little hiccups we get through to the Argentinian side.  The drive was 12 km and 28 km on the Argentine side.  Then was the 7 km hike fairly level walking along the edge of the gorge over which the water thunders down.  The falls are over 1.2 km long and there are about 150 individuals falls.  The views are truly awesome and the spray drenches you.  After walking along the top ledge we slowly descended down to water level of the river Iguacu watching the falls as they came down.  Finally we got into a high speed inflatable boats and over half an hour of pure thrills.  The boat kept going virtually next to the thundering torrents of water.  After all this excitement we got back.  It was a very exciting day.

Day 10 - Saturday 23rd Feb.  

Up at 5 am to catch the flight back to Rio after 2 exciting days at the Falls.  The flight was OK and we got back to our Hotel Pompeu from before, went out in the afternoon to visit the Botanical Garden (nothing compared to Kew in UK) after which we went to the Historical Museum which was well worth the visit even though only about 3 hours.  Went for dinner to Copacabana.  This is a lively place one hotel suggested a fish restaurant and we thoroughly recommend it.  We had sardines and a fish salad and followed by sea bass with broccoli rice.  The trip back to our hotel takes about 30 min by metro which is quite convenient.

Day 11 - Sunday 24th Feb.  

Went to the local church near the hotel.  A beautifully decorated church in old Portugues style like in Goa.  then walk around to Igreja de Candelaria which is truly beautiful inside and it was our 3rd attempt to see this church and it was worth the tries.  Every bit of the inside is decorated and painted and windows of stained glass.  All furniture was black wood with the pews having individual arm rests.  The sacristy had the most ornate wood vestment chests I have seen.  In the afternoon we visited igreja e Mosteiro de Sao Bento (Church and Monastry of St Benedict)  I had always wondered the origin of my bro-in-laws name.  Now I know this church walls are fully covered with carvings with gold leaf finish although showing its age after about 200 years.  It's on the top of a hill.  After this we went to the hillside settlement of Sante Teresa.  This is the up market version of th favela's in Brazil which are shanty towns.  The area is full of little shops of curios, art, bars with live music and being Sunday very busy.  The steep cobbled roads zig-zagged between houses barely 20 feet face to face.  This reminded me of many places we have seen. Gantok, Darjeeling, part of Paris, Momatre went into a small crowded place for a snack but came out after lunch of Sorportel a traditional goan dish and other dishes reminiscent of Goa.  Finished the evening at Copacabana drinking coconut water, mango juice, crepes which Mel and I thought were coming with ice cream but came with a guava jelly too sweet for us.  Mel tried the caipirinha a potent mix of sugar cane juice and alcohol?? Got back to the hotel at about 11 pm

During the 17th century, the Church played an important role as patrol of --- Gilded Baroque woodcarving in the Portuguese style spread through the Igreja e Mosteiro de Sao Bento - Church and Monastery of St Benedict in Rio de Janeiro, built --- century in the decoration of e.g. the former Igreja dos Jesuitas.

Day 12 - Monday 25th Feb.

We thought that we should take the railway to Christ the Redeemer so via Metro & Bus we got to Cosme Vaddo only to find at 11 am that the next available seats were at 5.20 pm.  Trains leave every 20 mins - two compartments with 300 seats for the 30 mins uphill climb which we are contemplating what to do - it must have been quite obvious - an elegantly dressed lady about 75 years says 'do you want to kill some time'?  Suspiciously we listen as she offers a free taxi ride to and from Stern HQ in Ipanema (a high class precious stones and jewelry workshop etc).  Let us go we say after all we know we will not buy.  The whole experience was good seeing the mining and processing of precious stones to jewelry in air conditioned comfort a Japanese salesman tried to flog us some very expensive bits costing many thousand POUNDS.  We did come out with a nice pendant for Met at an affordable price and the experience was worth while.  Got dropped back at 4.30 pm and we visited the church of St Jude a beautiful church at the foot of the railway line.  The train ride takes us through dense forest with tall trees climbing steeply.  At some locations we got fantastic views of Copacabana and Ipanema beaches and other landmarks.  Fortunately the day was clear.  We spent one and half hour at the top taking in the beautiful views, the sunset and the changing colours of the Statue as it was lit up, purple, yellow, white.  For me the construction was fascinating for a 1932 concrete structure which has been recently renovated and named as one of the Wonders of the World.  We came down at about 7.30 and took a local bus to Ipanema.  A bus ride is an experience in itself from the squeezing through the narrow turnstile in each bus manned by a ticket collector to the speed at which the buses carrier through the Rio traffic buffeting passengers from side to side.  Give me a metro ride any day but good as an experience.  Got back about 10.30 pm.

Day 13 - Tuesday 26th Feb.2013

Petrópolis (Portuguese pronunciation:, also known as The Imperial City of Brazilis a city in the state of Rio de Janeiro, at a distance of 68 km from the state capital.

A very comfortable journey through the mountainous outskirts of Rio and we were there in Petropolis in just over an hour. The town is well laid out in the centre and use to be the resort of Pedro II.  ( The town's name ("city of Peter") honors Emperor Pedro II, the nation's second monarch and son of Pedro I.[1] The city was the summer residence of the Brazilian Emperors and aristocrats in the 19th century, and was the official capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro between 1894 and 1902. ) 

Pedro's Palace is nowadays the Imperial Museum, one of the main attractions of the "alpine city" of Petrópolis, together with the Cathedral of Saint Peter of Alcântara, the Crystal Palace and the House of Santos-Dumont. The "Imperial City"  became in due time home to artists, intellectuals and celebrities, and by the twentieth century, one of the main tourist attractions in the country.

We visited the Palace now a museum with amazing furniture and living rooms of the Royal Family.  The original wood floors are preserved and to protect them every visitor has to wear over slippers and waddle along dragging your feet like geriatric  or penguins polishing the floor in the process.  The Cathedral of St Peters is massive and beautiful with paintings carvings, statues and stained glass windows.  We did a lot of walking and my final site to the statue of Fatima turned out to be a strenuous hike for 45 mins and then only to find that it closed at 5 pm.  My attempt to try a local dish for dinner was disaster.  After many attempts at interpreting the menu I ended up with rice and chicken strogonoff instead of fish and Mel on the other hand sulked because she got a hamburger patty instead of a hamburger.  the whole a good day and another place ticked from the list 

Petrópolis (Portuguese pronunciation:, also known as The Imperial City of Brazil.
Nestled among the forested hills of the Serra dos Órgãos, in the valley of the Quitandinha and Piabanharivers, Petrópolis is a popular winter holiday spot. Besides the climate and surroundings, the main attraction is the former Summer Palace of the second Brazilian emperor, which is now the Imperial Museum, specializing in Imperial history and memorabilia.

Day 14 - 27th Feb.2013

Off to Salvador Bahia - a one and half hour flight north of Rio and meet up with the Vijayans who were coming South from Manaus, Amazon, Brasilia trip.  By the time they had arrived late night we had explored the town of Barra and managed to get Mel into a two piece swimming costume - not quite Brazilian cheeky type but with enough exposure as not to feel as if she fully clothes in the one piece she had.  So we hit the beautiful beach at Barra and the crystal clear waters.  This evening after our fill of sun, sand and sea we managed to get a local fish dinner of shell fish and shrimp stew.  Taking a cue from the guide book about portion sizes I attempted to get half a portion with Mel quite content with her mussel soup.  What we got was 2 halves one for me and one for her.  After all she cannot eat?? and needless to say I could not eat the whole lot.  Vijayans arrived about 9 pm.

Day 15 - 28th Feb.2013

Salvador - Bahia

The B & B Pousada 'Estrela do mar' is a basic but comfortable and clean run by an Irish couple.   Breakfast was actually served as in UK.  It is in Barra.  We took the bus to the old city of 
Pelourinho which is the Colonial historic district of Salvador, a UNESCO World Heritage site, located in the Cidade Alto. There are several historic churches, many restaurants, bars and souvenir shops, a number of museums, and venues for music and theatre. One of the best times to party with the locals is at the Tuesday night bencao.

The area is traffic free.  Among the above description we also managed to find a vegetarian restaurant 'RAMA'.   

The coastal part of Pelourinho is at sea level at the bottom of the cliff face accessed by 2 elevators.  At the lower level we visited the huge Marcado Modelo which used to be trading hall for slaves when they were landed from Africa.  The whole area is rich in history as it was the first area where the Europeans landed in South America.  There are numerous churches with richly decorated alters, ceilings, pulpits, monastry with walls tiled with scenes from bible.  We had a long and busy day cramming in churches, museums, shopping.  Got the bus back to Barra and visited the little Cristo statue and a walk along the sea wall back to Estrela B & B.

Day 16 - Friday 1st March 2013

This day we returned to Rio in late afternoon so we planned a packed half day activities.  We somehow got Mel to go into the sea in her 2 piece swimming wear (not quite a bikini but near enough).  So at 6 am we were out.  Beena came as well.  The waves were strongly pushing out and so we had a wonderful 2 hours in the water.  Back to the dig, had breakfast, checked out and tried to get a bus to church of Our Lord of Bonfim but ended up taking a taxi.  This proved to be a God send because it was quite a distance.  Our experience was most rewarding because Mel felt a healing of her knee which till then had given her a lot of pain.  This Church is well known for healing miracles.  We were fortunate to have Mass and then rushed back in the same taxi to Barra.  Here we quickly visited the Forte Santo de Barra with its Naval Museum - a very well done museum with English and the first Portuguese fort built with a light house in South America.
The Bahia n women look elegant in their white puffed up skirts like Victorian times with colourful blouses and turban like head gear.  Hints of Africa.  Had to rush back to be ready to get to the airport for the 6 pm flight.  Airport one hour drive.  Had a safe flight back to Rio and arrived in heavy rain back to Hotel Pompeu.  This time our room had Jacuzzi.  Evening spent packing for our trip back home the next day and enjoying the jacuzzi.

Day 17 - Saturday 2nd March 2013

By 9 am we had arranged to meet Marcello for th Favella tour.  This is talked about quite a lot - a must do in the cities of Brazil because Favellas are/were considered to be no go city areas controlled by drug lords.  There are a few in Rio typically houses clinging to hillsides erratic construction which has evolved over years into established neighbourhoods.  To us from India these were not new (hill towns like Darjeeling, Sikkim, Gantok are exactly the same)  We spent 4 hours going through narrow alley ways and looking at the intricate way houses have grown.  The biggest disaster is when there are landslides or earthquakes.  After the tour we spent the afternoon at Copacabana beach and then headed back to the hotel.  We freshened up at Vijayan's room and left for the airport at 7 pm.  We had a tensed two hours wondering if we would get the seats.  Finally we did get on with Mel in Club class.  Had a comfortable flight to LHR and met by Maryann, Alex, Khusboo.  While Mel stayed back in London I returned back to Canada.

Brazil was a wonderful holiday spent along with our dear friends Vijayans.

Hope you have enjoyed reading about Brazil.  x  Love Mel and Jack


Paraty (or Parati) [pronounced Par-a-CHEE] is a preserved Portuguese colonial (1500–1822) and Brazilian Imperial (1822–1889) town with a population of about 36,000.[1] It is located on the Costa Verde (Green Coast), a lush, green corridor that runs along the coastline of the state of Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil. Paraty has become a popular tourist destination in recent years, renowned for the historic town and the coast and mountains in the region.

The town is located on the Bay of Ilha Grande, which is dotted with many tropical islands. Rising up as high as 1,300 meters behind the town are tropical forests, mountains, and waterfalls. It is the southernmost and westernmost city in Rio de Janeiro state.
Paraty is surrounded by many parks and nature reserves, including Serra da Bocaina National Park, Serra do Mar State Park (of São Paulo), the Park Reserve of Joatinga and the Cairuçu Environmental Protection Area, where the village of Trindade is located. The municipality also includes an indigenous village and an Afro-Brazilian quilombo.

There are cobbled streets, and then there are the cobbled streets of Paraty, where much of the stone - in the absence of pointing, washed away by the flooding - is like small boulders jutting out at angles. Never mind driving, even walking is an exercise in traction. 

Paraty grew in the 18th century as a strategically important port for exporting the gold mined in Minas Gerais. When shipments in nearby Rio began to attract the attention and ambition of pirates and privateers from rival European powers, the Portuguese began using Paraty as their safe port for getting their gold to Lisbon. Together with Ouro Preto, the town was part of the Royal Road (Caminho Real or Caminho do Ouro, Gold Road), a route used to export gold in colonial times. It was also an obligatory sleep-over stop for travelers between Rio and São Paulo until the late 1800s, when the inner road was opened. This caused Paraty to be forgotten, stalled in time, away from "progress" and disfiguration and helped it preserve its old city as it was in the past. In the 1970s, it was rediscovered as a popular tourist destination.


Iguazu FallsIguazú FallsIguassu Falls or Iguaçu Falls (PortugueseCataratas do Iguaçu [kataˈɾatɐz du iɡwaˈsu]; Spanish: Cataratas del Iguazú [kataˈɾatas ðel iɣwaˈsu]GuaraniChororo Yguasu [ɕoɾoɾo ɨɣʷasu]) are waterfalls of the Iguazu River on the border of the Brazilian state of Paraná and the Argentinian province ofMisiones. The falls divide the river into the upper and lower Iguazu. The Iguazu River rises near the city ofCuritiba. The river flows through Brazil for most of its course, although most of the falls are on the Argentine side. Below its confluence with the San Antonio River, the Iguazu River forms the boundary between Argentina andBrazil.
The name "Iguazu" comes from the Guarani or Tupi words "y[ɨ], meaning "water", and "ûasú "[waˈsu], meaning "big".  Legend has it that a god planned to marry a beautiful woman named Naipí, who fled with her mortal loverTarobá in a canoe. In rage, the god sliced the river, creating the waterfalls and condemning the lovers to an eternal fall.  The first European to find the falls was the Spanish conquistador Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca in 1541.
On November 11 of 2011, Iguazu Falls was announced as one of the seven winners of the New Seven Wonders of Nature by the New Seven Wonders of the World Foundation.
Iguazu Falls is located where the Iguazu River tumbles over the edge of the Paraná Plateau, 23 kilometres (14 mi) upriver from the Iguazu's confluence with the Paraná River.   Numerous islands along the 2.7-kilometre-long (1.7 mi) edge divide the falls into numerous separate waterfalls and cataracts, varying between 60 to 82 metres (197 to 269 ft) high. The number of these smaller waterfalls fluctuates from 150 to 300, depending on the water level.   About half of the river's flow falls into a long and narrow chasm called the Devil's Throat (Garganta del Diablo in Spanish or Garganta do Diabo in Portuguese).  
 The Devil's Throat is U-shaped, 82 metres high, 150 m wide, and 700 m long (269×490×2,300 ft). Placenames have been given also to many other smaller falls, such as San Martin Falls, Bossetti Falls and many others.  


A 100m cliff runs along the entire bayshore, dividing the city into Cidade Alta, up on the cliff, and the Cidade Baixa down by the bay. The former features Pelourinho, the old city center that packs historical sites, colonial architecture, museums, restaurants, bars, hostels, artisanal shops, and music/dance/capoeira academies into a convenient, albeit tourist-swarmed, set of winding cobblestone streets. The latter features a commercial center with lots of bus traffic coming in from all over Salvador.
Outside of this area, there are many beach districts that stretch from the tip of the peninsula northeast along the Atlantic coast. The Barra neighborhood at the tip of the peninsula is the main alternative jumping-off point to Pelourinho.