After 10 days, Florianopolis had had enough of us and let us go. We left our many new friends and rode to Blumenau, famous for being the centre of German culture in Brazil and for holding the second biggest Oktoberfest in the world. Staying in Hotel Hermann, near the centre, we spent a day wandering around the very German looking city. As before though, the lack of German speakers was a disappointment - only in the Brewery Museum were we in luck.
The towns and villages surrounding Blumenau were much more like Germany, nestled in the rolling hills, the small town of Pomerode especially. This was probably the only town in Brazil to be supporting Germany in the last world cup final!
Pomerode, still keeping the German traditions alive
The ride to São Paulo was interesting but dangerous, the 3 lane road wound through the mountains, clogged with lines of slow moving trucks. Overtaking was a gamble, lines in the road were ignored, the crazy had priority. Hate to ride this road in the week, we chose a Sunday to ride into the city as it has proved in the past to be less stressful and much quieter.
Once inside the city itself, we stopped at a fuel station to get our bearings and directions. We got into conversation with a customer there and he phoned the hostel for us to get directions. After more chat, he offered to take us to there, wow – saving us about 3 hours of frustrated city riding! So after 20 mins or so, we were checked in and the bikes safely off the street.
We had planned to ride around São Paulo, so much for planning! After 10 days we were still there, almost a permanent fixture at the hostel. Why the change of heart, is the city really so interesting? Well, no actually, we were stuck waiting for the guys at Pirelli/Metzeler to come up with 2 sets of tyres.
One rainy day, the email came with the address of where we had to ride to pick up our tyres, it was a good distance north of the city and proved tricky to find, being up a muddy dirt track. Only Arno was allowed past the gate, I was relegated to the waiting room! One day I would like to travel with another woman – that would stump them! Arno had to have his bike weighed as he drove in and before leaving, no doubt to make sure he didn’t secrete any extra tyres under his jacket or in a pannier. It took some time, but we left a couple of hours later with the right tyres and the right sizes.
It was still raining and getting late as we rode back into São Paulo, the traffic was terrible, several accidents adding to the chaos. We scrapped plans to ride down to Santos and checked back into the hostel – the staff no doubt thinking that they were never going to get shot of us and our bikes.
The road between Santos and Rio is supposed to be one of the best coastal roads in South America, not when its raining and misty though, we gave up at the village of Boicucanga, and checked into a hotel to dry off.
The road, when the rain stopped, was nice to ride, most of the time high above to ocean and gave spectacular views over secluded bays and the islands lying off them. There were some blots on the landscape, the town of Caraguatatuba, the nuclear power plant at Itaorna and the oil tankers at Angra dos Reis.
Riding the Emerald Coast towards Rio
The ride into Rio was surprisingly easy, we had been warned of terrible driving and a lack of road signs, but we found our way with no problem and only a couple of near misses. We passed by the beach at Copacabana and we couldn’t resist parking the bikes and taking a few photos of the famous strip!
Posing at Copacabana with our new tyres
The bikes securely parked, it was back to public transport to see the city.
Bikes parked at El Misti hostel in Rio
Rio by night, the Sugar Loaf above Botafogo beach
We did get the bikes out a couple of times though, once to ride up to and around the Corcovada, the hill where the statue of Christ stands, where the views over the city were amazing.
Looking out over Rio, Corcovada to the left, Sugar Loaf the hump in the middle.
The second time we rode to Petropolis and Teresopolis for the day with a Harley rider we met at Ipanema beach. It was fun riding with a local rider and as his bike caused more interest than ours we could relax a little more than usual.
After a week in Rio, it was time to head to the beach at Cabo Frio, where there just happened to be a bike meeting happening, should be an interesting experience!
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