Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Rio Getaway -- Paraty, Brazil

A four hour bus ride west of Rio brings one to Paraty, Brazil. It is an old colonial town that first boomed due to gold, then coffee. Now it's main business is tourism.

Debora and I were there last weekend and it's a lovely, charming town that's great for a weekend. It's quite photogenic, too.

In one sense it's very walkable -- no motorized vehicles are allowed in the historic part of town. But the cobblestones are large and old and it can be dangerous to take one's eyes off of one's next step, lest one turn an ankle.

This house is owned by the Brazilian royal family. I didn't realize Brazil had a royal family, but when it was run by the Portugeuse it had an emperor until the mid-19th century. They switched to a democracy, but the lineage of the royal family lives on. They have zero power and are not in the tabloids like in the UK, but they are still quite wealthy and are apparently trying to regain the throne.

Rusty bicycle still in use

On Saturday we went on a jeep tour to visit four waterfalls and two cachaca distilleries. Cachaca is the national hooch that they make from sugar cane. It is the basis for the caipirinha, my new favorite summertime cocktail. Here's our tour guide showing us a distillery. They grow the sugar cane right outside this building.

Some monkeys were hanging out near one of the waterfalls. Note the long tail and crazy white plumes of hair on its head. Kind of an Einstein look.

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