This time I won’t be able to make my friends in Europe feel better by posting pictures with grey sky and rain, sorry. After two weeks in Salvador I decided that I should go see some places in the surroundings, so I went to Praia do Forte last weekend (randomly picking a place recommended by Lonely Planet) and Morro de São Paulo, that a lot of friends had recommended. Both are like those beaches in the postcards or travel brochures and it was a bit surreal to find myself in one of these for the first time.
Praia do Forte
Praia do Forte is ideal for a pleasant day trip, it can be easily reached in a 2 hours bus drive from the bus terminal in Salvador. I went there with a classmate from the language school and even if it was a Saturday it wasn’t crowded. Before heading to the beach we visited the sea-turtle reserve TAMAR (they also have one in Florianópolis) where we couldn’t stop taking pictures.
Morro de São Paulo
Being on the island Morro de São Paulo gave me a similar feeling to going to Cape Clear (an island off the south-west coast in Ireland). It felt like in a different world, far away from everything, even if it was just a few days. There are no cars (they are not forbidden, but the charge or tax to have one is too high to have one) and since all the beaches can be reached by foot nobody besides tourist agencies need one. Instead there are donkeys and wheelbarrows.
The most amazing thing I did there was watching the sunset, staying up all night (after going out for one beer… always the same story), and then seeing the sunrise!
I was travelling with Genia who I met through couchsurfing and speaking Portuguese and Russian at the same time got me slightly language confused. We wanted to take the direct boat on the way there, but since we didn’t book in advance it was full and we had to go the indirect way (boat – bus – boat). It’s about the same price and just takes a bit longer. It’s also less shaky, as we noticed when we did the trip back by boat.
A boat tour that takes all day can be done to see the whole island, but instead Genia and me did a hike to a waterfall (Fonte do Ceu) and to the almost empty beach of Gamboa with somebody she met on the ship she took from the Canary Islands to Salvador (the cheapest option of travelling to Brazil I have ever heard of, if I remember well it cost 240€ and took a week). By the way it is recommended to do the hike with a guide, we got lost and were lucky enough to meet a local in Gamboa who happened to go the same way.
Now I’m back in Salvador and off to the festival of Santa Barbara in town, more about that soon.