Sao Luis and Alcantara
Sao Luis Travel Blog› entry 166 of 177 › view all entries
Today´s 4 hour bus trip to Sao Luis seemed to take forever, really dragged on, but the bus was comfortable and air-conditioned, so not too bad. The pousada we´re staying in is very nice, right in the historic centre, and the aircon is superb! We wandered around with Jose for a bit, trying to find a place that would cash travellers cheques for HJ - big problem here, very few places do it, so cash and cards are the best bet. Had lunch at a per kilo, then after anothe stroll around the old town, went out to dinner with the whole group. Had a lovely evening, just chatting away. Tried a local fish soup (well, Melissa did, not a good idea for Noel) and not too bad.
Had a most enjoyable day today, took a ferry across to the island of Alcantara, about 1 1/2 hours away. Crossing over was pretty rough, but our stomachs held intact! We were lucky to get the boat, because although we were told it leaves at 9.30, it actually left at 9.10 because of low tide - they bus you around to another beach at 9.10, so if you miss that, you miss the boat.
First stop off the boat (after a cold coconut) was at the Fonte das Pedras, just up the hill. It is an 18th century water fountain that still works today - very simple, but historical. On the other side of the main street is the small church of NS Do Desterro, with 2 bells hanging on their own stand outside, overlooking the bay. From here we walked through the historica centre to see the ruins of the Matriz do Sao Matias. In front of the church is the pelourinho, or slave whipping post, believed to be the oldest in Brazil and still in its original position. It was a bit tricky to find the way into the square, because it´s been surrounded by hoardings (they´re renovating the gardens), but managed to find the door eventually. from here walked past a few more ruins up to the ruin of the Franciscan church - the main part remaining is the stone door frame with crossed arms and cross symbol of the order.
After a refreshing beer, continued up the main street to the Aerospace Information Centre - Brazil´s space programme is based a few kilometres up the road, used mainly for launching experimental rockets and satellites. Last main stop was the Historic and Artistic Museum of Alcantara - in the old home of a local personality, and filled with homewares, religious items and even prison doors! The well in the back yard is 15 metres deep and hanging next to the bakery overn is a collection of old branding irons - used not only the animals but also the slaves. Had lunch at a lovely little restaurant overlooking the bayt in the Praca Destero - delicious and reasonable compared to the other island restaurants. More than we could eat, which is unusual. Got the boat back to Sao Luis at 4pm, and after a quick shower and change, headed out for another enjoyable meal with the group.