The nice streets of the old city of Curitiba
The first thing we noticed about Curitiba
as we pulled up in the bus early in the morning is that everyone outside was wearing jackets. Out of the bus awaited us the coolest breath of fresh air we´ve had since Peru. It was quite nice to be out of the hot humid sticky tropics. We had a definite agenda once we got off the bus. Buy train tickets for the next day, buy bus tickets out of here, and find cheap lodging. Done, done, and done. We chose to stay at a cheap place right next to the train/bus station as we would be leaving quite early in the morning the next day, We took a fat nap and headed out to explore the city. We were hungry for some lunch and came upon a mall.
Only this wasn´t any ordinary mall, it was actally really nice and fun to be in. It was in an old train station and was really open for light, airy, and had awesome food options. So we ate some lunch and got some much needed cash - all we needed to do right in this lovely mall. After the mall, we went to look at some movie houses to see if they weren´t playing the same old Hollywood garbage. They weren´t but it was all in Portuguese so we didn´t catch one anyway. We walked pretty much the entire city and it was very different form all the other places we´ve been to in Brazil. There were a ton of parks and pedestrian streets, only a few homeless people, and no beggars. We read that Brazilians who live in Curitiba have a very high quality of life compared to the rest of the country and we could really sense that, but it also looked more like northern Europe and less like Brazil.
Better hold on to that mountain
After walking around for hours and hours, we did some food shopping for our upcoming camping trip and ate at the awesome mall, again. Off to bed early to catch some sleep before the early train ride. We arrived to the train station early (8am sharp) to catch the 815 train because it seemed that the trains run on time. Ha, it may appear like a Scandanavian city, but we´re still in Brazil so the train was running late. We boarded the train and were happy to be travelling on a real train this time (not a school bus with wheels, which was the last one). We were very content to stare out the window in our sleepy haze but were abruptly interrupted by a man standing in the front of the car on a microphone. Apprently he thought that he was a guide as well as a stand up commedian so he made terrible jokes and called out everything we were about to see right before we saw it.
More holding onto the mountain...
"There is a house coming up on your left, there is going to be a humungous gorge on your right, and in 2 minutes we will go into a tunnel". Bah! Besides the ruined surprised at every turn, the ride was beautiful and once we were out of Curitiba, we were barrelling down through lush mountains. We aimed to get off at the national park called Murumbi and we were there in no time. We hopped off the train and no one else got off, but instead looked at us like we were a bit crazy. "Is that a bad thing?" Danilo asked. "No" replied Emily, "that is a good thing." This national park is the best park we have been to in terms of facilities, maps, and caretaking. There was a really nice camp site next to the train tracks with bathrooms and showers. We signed in (we probably signed a waiver that said "if you die on this mountain, it is not our fault", only to realize later though) set up tent, and started our hike.
The mountain we just climbed
At least we thought it was a hike, but we quickly realized it was a climb. We ascended around 700 meters on a 2.5 hour trail that more resembled an army obstacle course. Ropes, ladders, chains, giant staples (aka. hand and foot grips), the whole nine yards. As we got closer to the top, the trail became more and more like monkey bars hanging over the side of the mountain. I mean, we were really hanguing off the side, with the rock angled at least 70 degrees, and holding onto a chain, giant staples, or ropes for dear life. We would not reccommend this hike for anyone who has a slight fear of heights. As usual, it was so worth it when we reached the top and checked out the views. This mountain was part of a coastal range and from this peak we could see a lot of the range and the ocean in the distance.
Gorgeous. After eating some lunch at the top, we started our descent, trying to get down before the sun. The hike down was harder than the way up as we were already exhausted from all the physical exertion of the obstacle course. It felt like doing the 2.5 hour obstacle course twice. Only on the way down, you put all your weight in your legs everytime. We made it down as fast as possible, beating the sun. We were sore puppies after it was all said and done so Em showered (too cold for D), cooked dinner, and passed out.