Mountains, Germans and more mountains
Torres Travel Blog› entry 31 of 86 › view all entries
Leaving Curitiba we were buisy but obviously it rained; Ahead lay had the descent into the Serra Do Mar, little germany and another mountainrange that needed climbing. Above the Serra do Mar Clouds and fog obscurred all views and little invisible frogs gave out long, sad, cat-like calls. It was chilly amongst the pines and it smelt like home. As pineforrests were exchanged with jungle and we dipped beneath the clouds ´home´left swiftley and a landscape of steep cliffs and treecovered peaks opened up below us. It was beautifull but with brazilian reality came brazilian drivers and intense heat. After a few close calls with freewhealing trucks i was in tears trying to navigate the steep road and it´s heavy traffic. I´m convinced i got splattered with some rodent-roadkillparticals on this ride.
Never the less the next days ride was excellent. Almost as an introduction to little germany we rode through rolling hills: Mostly grassy fields, wodden farms and animals enjoying life. Here and there the jungle or a stray palm tree would break the german illusion. Then Pomerode and Blumenau came along with bratwurst -nothing compared to my own german grandmothers bratwurst!- , locally brewed beer called ´heimat´-the home-, and a ´Sommerfest´with a band almost as bizarre as our Bon Jovi experience: Same beerguts, dodgy hair and a leather clad audience; just the black uniform exchanged with the ´tracht´-the german folkdress-, and the wimpering of Bon Jovi exchanged with loud trumpet songs about the heimat. All this happened in a large hall equipped with a fake german village?!
All this germanness started in the 1870ties by german immigrants. Failing harvests and political unrest made life difficult for the farmers and as portugal needed a hand colonizing Brazil these people made for excellent political puppets. Many sold all and left with nothing but bright dreams of a promised easier future. However reality proved different: Many people died on the boats and arrived with no means, bar some hope that was probably squashed mightily by the journey, to start their new life. Many ended up as ´withe slaves´begging and dying on the roadside from unknown diseases and hunger. A qotation in a museum reads: 'If we´d had the means to return we´d have gone back and left it all behind...'
What ever political or historical disasters i can´t help but admire these peoples bravery: They were farmers that travelled when the world was still huge, with no knowledge of their future and no means to return. And they got their dream: Inspite of disease, wars with the locals and a river that often rose up to 17 meters and flooded all, they built a german city that eventually gave them the life they had hoped for. Our journey is such a cruise!
After a bit of indulgence we climbed again! Approximately 50 km up, mostly on quiet, beautifull dirt roads into the Serra Gerall. High up on a plato with stunning views over a high valley we set up camp. Our tent was sheltered by pinetrees and as darkness fell we watched hundreds of fireflies dance, creating an amazing illuminous spectacle for us in the night; To the few passing cars they were invisible or reduced to irritating bugs on the windscreen as their little torches were overpowered by headlights.
Amazing nature and strange little animals are good but what really makes this country is it´s people: On day 2 of our climb, on our 50 odds km i stoped a truck. We had tried to grab him but he was to fast and I really didn´t want to cycle up any more. He got out a rope, towed us al the way up, gave us water to wash and drink and feed us sweet, sweet oranges. After that we were cruising down the dirt tracks along a glass clear stream. Just since the last blog entry the poorest people have come out to give us steaming hot coffee on our chosen breakfastbench, we´ve been taken home for lunch, people stop their cars to talk to us and we´ve been asked to give another interview. somebody even tried to give us a live chicken to take on our bikes because he misunderstood Daren trying to explain that there was a more or less dead chiken on the road that we wanted them to take care off/ eat.
Now after 5 nights of wild camping, the last one amongst the dunes of a remote beach, were in Torres in a homerstay. I look forward to a wide bed. I woke up this morning in a tangle of arms and legs and bags huddeled up with Daren on our flat matresses. Sounds romantic but can be mindnumingly irritating when all you want is a cup of coffee without having to first wash pots in sea, clear out ants of cups, worry about last nights enormous earwig, set up stove etc. But tomorrow we need to push on as it´s still about 400 km to our carneval destination. All good though, enjoying life.