Riding up Serra Paranapicaba

Curitiba Travel Blog

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Sergios house.

He couldn´t sing, the music was wrong, beer guts got in the way of kitchy rock poses and with faces like they worked at mcDonalds this poor old Bon Jovi copy had nothing but three paraletic members of a spinal tap tributeband going for them. Meanwhile we had an excellent time in the bar with the locals who couldn´t understand why we were in Curitiba in their rock club at 5 am. But who wouldn´t cycle 9000 km to curitiba to listen to a fat Bon Jovi disaster? It´s very recomendable indeed!

Throughout the last week our ride had been full of nice experiences. The coast saw us off with yet another massive tropical storm. We sat in a beachbar, watching darkness rolling in. People hurried towards shelter as they all, for shure, know their whether very well.

Finding campspots
Suddenly a blast of wind came, lifting up the sand, for a moment taking me back to Mauritania. Seconds later deafening thunder, massive lightening and buckets of rain followed. Everything was a grey mass outside and inside tabels, chairs and bottles blew over as soaked men tried in vain to secure the failing protective plastic walls.  I huddled up with a fabulously strong caparinha and enjoyed the show. It all lasted less than an hour; then the clouds rose, leaving everything to glitter and sparkle in the light. A cyclist braved the last drops and cykled along the beach, into all the shinyness towards the serra do mar mountains.

As for us we were finally about to leave the buisy coast and cycle inland and upwards. Almost imedeately tourists ceased, roads became quiet as we twondeled towards the Serra Parananapicoba and it´s ´capital of caves´.

Lush hills on the platau

In a valley centered by a large muddy river our road dived into an enclosed world of vast banana plantations. Hidden in this endless green were small houses, churches and a never ending supply of shed like bars, frequented by hardlooking plantation workers. Somewhat deliverence like....Eventually the foothills became steeper. The river now wound it´s way past beautifull faziendas -the brasilian ranch- and green fields doted with palm trees, cows and horses. The odd cowboy, freshly fallen out of the Marlborough adverts , would pass us with stern but surprised nods. That night, as everything was fenced of, we knocked on Sergios door and asked if we could put our tent up on his land. We had never done this before but we had such a nice evening, it shouldn´t be the last time we do it.

Daren resting during a huge climb
Sergio cooked up a fantastic meal as we played with his enormous dog/bear Ánubis. In the morning, as we walked around his beautifull grounds we saw the richness of the land; All possible fruits and animals were to be found here. Daren even saw a large wild cat-thing on the lookout for lunch!

Leaving the soft roling landscape behind the mountains came with their messy roads and deep caves. After an almost impossible climb we arrived at a closed cave diablo. But the guard, who probably sympathised with our sweatdrenched nightmare let us explore this deep dramatic cave on our own. As the next cave too, was closed we decided to continue to climb towards the pass although it was late afternoon. This remote area is a national park and the potholed road was tiny, leading us through dense jungle, over landslides and finally to stunning views over a wild, spikey mountain range. However, the landslides at almost every kilometer we passed, some only small piles of rocks but others seemingly half mountain sides, and the rainfilled sky made camping dangerous and as no safe spot appeared we arrived in the small village of Apiai long after darkness had fallen, drenched from torrential rain. An ancient wodden hotel with squeaky floors became our cosy home there. Apiai is no doubt one of the friendliest places i have been! Furthermore they were so bemused by our project that they called in a Journalist, and through Ricardo -the only english and portugese speaking person- we were asked to give a detailed interview of our journey for the lokal radio and newspaper.

Also Apiai marked the first pass after almost 40 km of uphill. We have remained on a high platau since. Jungle has been exchanged with pine forrest and steep cliffs with long, long hills. Luckily the logging trucks are so weighed down with pine that their speed is so slow enough for us to hold on to the back of them and get pulled up the hills, then overtake them on the down hill and wait for them at the next climb. It looks remarkably european European here and indeed after Curitiba we´ll travel to Blumenau wich apparently has germans, cakes and even an oktoberfest.

But for now Daren´s starshaped on the floor and were resting after a excellent week!

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Sergios house.
Sergios house.
Finding campspots
Finding campspots
Lush hills on the platau
Lush hills on the platau
Daren resting during a huge climb
Daren resting during a huge climb
Curitiba
photo by: joesu