A dreamlike trip to Brazil: On our way to beautiful Paraty

Rio is lazily waking up under a nice morning sun on this Sunday, August 3, 2014. The promise of a very pleasant day in the Brazilian winter.

It is 8 o’clock. Sport jocks are finishing up the last miles of their morning runs. The dog walkers are strolling along the Praia de Copacabana down the walkway with its tiles featuring the famous black and white waves.

The beach-side restaurants are taking delivery of coconuts for the fruit juices and cocktails which they will be serving all day until late in the evening.

We are meeting our driver who will take us to the famed colonial city of Paraty. We get on board the minivan, and off we go.

The car will be driving southbound, and it is actually a long way crossing the city of Rio before we reach the city limit. We drive by the huge seating structures that are lined up for the carnival. This sighting reminds us of ‘’Rio’’, the animated movie which we have seen time and again.


As we are heading towards the outskirts of the city, we drive by many favelas. The poverty is striking. On the roofs of the run-down, decaying houses, big signs featuring the various presidential candidates remind everyone that the election is getting close. These signs obviously are meant to be loud, and they are! But we wonder whether they serve the purpose and actually capture the attention of the inhabitants, if only for an instant.

Watching the scenery through the car windows, I think back about the Copacabana beach vendors who told us they lived in a favela. Which one? There are so many of them….

The car is continuing on its way and finally exiting the city. The urban landscape is disappearing and soon the scenery is turning greener. We are driving along the Costa Verde, and overlooking the sea, the landscapes will be really beautiful all the way down to Paraty.


In the 18th century, Paraty was a prosperous city, thanks to its location near the sea and the commerce of sugarcane, as well as the trading of gold and diamonds from nearby Minas Gerais. It was a dynamic port shipping precious metals and diamonds and other goods to Portugal.

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Today the town relies mostly on tourism for its livelihood. The houses are painted in immaculate white, whereas the wooden doors and windows shades are painted in bright colors. The streets have retained the stones from the old times; they are rather uneven and bumpy, to say the least. The unsuspecting visitor should be warned to watch his step! Paraty has a really unique charm, taking the visitor back to the old times.

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We check in at the Pousada de Principe, which is a nice pousada ideally located on Avenida Roberto Silveira, not far from the historical center. The hosts are friendly and welcoming.

After a short walk around the streets of the old town to catch a first look, we are getting hungry and decide to have lunch at the restaurant Punto Divino, in a very pleasant inner yard under the shade. Freshly-baked bread, delicious pasta dishes and generously-sized salad dishes. A good lunch, which will set us on an excellent course to visit the old town of Paraty!

Today is the last day of the 2014 International Literature Festival of Paraty.

The Festival has drawn a large number of visitors, and the narrow paved streets of the old town are unusually crowded. Athough it is a major tourist attraction, most of the time this small provincial city is not as bustling and busy as today.

On the Praça da Matriz, a large screen displays the literary discussions from the Festival, and quite a few spectators are watching and listening assiduously.

Further down the street, a large crowd has gathered around a couple of storytellers, apparently from a native Brazilian ethnic group we are guessing. The two old men are telling stories from the old times perhaps, or some legends of sort. Whatever the tales, the group of onlookers is obviously captivated. We stand by silently, watching the storytellers and the listeners. But needless to say, we cannot catch a thing, and after a moment, we decide to resume our tour, carefully and patiently making our way through the by-standers!

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Looking for a relief from the crowd, we choose to walk away from the center to go discover the less-visited streets and feel the unique, charming atmosphere of this small old city which has been so nicely and delicately renovated.

An interesting stop at the Casa da Cultura on Rua Doná Geralda. It is free to get in and you can look at the temporary exhibitions. Upstairs, a great view from the balcony overlooking the paved streets.

La maison de la culture
La maison de la culture

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At the end of Rua Doná Geralda, we arrive at the small harbor where brightly colored fishing boats are idle, waiting to take customers on a tour of the bay. We will come back tomorrow!

Brésil 2014

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It has been a long day since we left Rio de Janeiro this morning. So we decide to head back to the Pousada, strolling leisurely along the streets. At the Pousada, the pool is waiting for us, although on the first dive, the water feels a little bit chilly. Back in our room, a warm shower and a set of fresh clothes, and we are ready for a nice and relaxed evening at the Pousada.

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