Our next stop was going to be Parati. We had heard from several people that it is worth a visit, so we decided to go there. We took a big ferry from the last century to Angra dos Reis and from there a bus to take us all the way to Parati.
We arrived on time for one of the free walking tours, which are offered all around the world only based on tips. This time however, there were other local guides that stepped in and told our guy that he was stealing their clients. One of the guys was really aggressive, but his friend was nice enough to hold him back and to mitigate and in the end they let us go.
It was a really interesting city tour, as Parati, being built in 1674, is the oldest fully planned city in South America. A big role in the planning of the city had the free mason’s, the old secret society. Everywhere in the city you can find their symbols or their preferred numbers: 3 (every intersection had three stone corners and one corner was left empty) and 33 (the houses, in which highly placed members lived, had three columns, each with eleven symbols).
It was also a highly fortified town, because it used to be the harbor where the gold from Minhas Gerais was brought to for shipping it to Rio and then on to Europe. Of course the pirates also knew about the gold transports, causing frequent attacks and losses to the transporting ships. Therefore the government decided to build a new road, connecting Minhas Gerais directly to Rio, which cut off Parati and left it forgotten.
But the area has more to offer than just the city. There are some rivers with nice little waterfalls just outside the city, which offer enough adrenaline for everyone. Although it’s name “Tarzan” suggests swinging on a big rope, this one was just for swimming, unless you dare to jump off the big rock like the locals do. Right next door is the Toboggan waterfall, a big rock that can be used as a waterslide. And of course there is a local way of doing it – standing up while sliding down. I didn’t try that out, as they know the curves and cracks of the Rock better than anyone else.
And after this little adventure it was time to get rid of my beard, as it has been a long way since the last time that I had shaved: No-shave-November had been turned into No-shave-Africa, Rio didn’t have barbers open when I had the time for them and I didn’t find any on Ilha Grande (not that I put much effort into finding one there).
Afterwards our ways parted again as Nik went on to visit a friend in Minhas Gerais, whereas I continued towards Foz do Iguacu, where the world famous waterfalls are located. To add some adventure, I decided to hitchhike from Parati to Sao Paolo, because the bus was already fully booked. I was lucky and after fifteen minutes of waiting I found Alex, who took me all the way to Sao Paolo. And I was even happier when I found out that there was still space on the night bus to take me to Foz do Iguacu.