Before arriving to Brasil, we did not know that the South of Brasil had a tropical biodiversity. Indeed, many birds, capybaras (biggest rodent in the world) and jacaré (crocodile) live in the reserve do Taim. Capibaras, there are everywhere on the road. Unfortunately, as well alive than dead. All along the road, we meet a lot of dead bodies giving of a strong smell of putrefaction.
After having cycled for a hundred kilometres on the Brazilian asphalt road, the south beaches attract us too much
We pass the last closed fence and we arrive in a Pine woodland.
Step by step, the sound of the waves increase. We are not so far! We push our bikes in the last sand dunes when suddenly it is the pure happiness. After the asphalted monotony of the last months, the feelings of freedom have never been so intense.
Except few fisherman and birds, we do not see anybody. Once inside the “reserve do Peixe”, the humany appears again on a lamentable way. Dead turtles, sometimes centennial, are all around our way. The first turtle give us directly the explanation of this ecological disaster: its neck is stuck in a fishing net. We could think that the responsible are the local fishermen, but it is not the case. The responsible are the boats from the industrial fishing which empty our ocean and kill protected species.
crossing a lake with a fisherman boat
After this adventure on the southeast beaches, we continue our journey till Porto Alegre. There, we have to meet Jean in front of a bar/supermarket where himself and his friends are waiting us. Good opportunity to meet new people. We meet Richard and Juliana, a couple of future cyclist travellers ( the project : um casal na America) and Maria, a biologist who is working around Porto Alegre. She surprises us saying that not so far from the city, there is a natural reserve where you can meet the howler monkey called Bugiu. The day after, we go all together in the reserve. Unfortunately, we do not see the famous Bugiu.
After this break, we go towards the Brazilian sierra. First night in Taquara, where the military school welcomes us with happiness. Before to go, we explain our itinerary to the militaries, which are telling us that we are totally crazy. They absolutely want to send us to the coast (where there is not a lot of uphills).
We stay on our first idea and we will not regret it. The villages and landscapes crossed are fantastic: a wild mata atltantica ( Brazilian atltantic forest : what it remains because this forest has known a strong deforestation) recovers the valleys. Bananas, oranges, lemons, flowers with thousands of colours and colourful birds cross our road. Seeing us, the people as well as the zebus stop and give us a glance of surprise. The silence of the nature is just sometimes broken by the dogs which are barking and running after our loaded bikes. The heat and the successive uphills are tiring us but we like it so much. For us, That’s it travelling by bike : to go where nobody goes.
Once the Sierra do Umbù achieved, we go to the Sierra Geral.
The difficulty of the paths and the cold nights are rewarded by the beautiful canyons and waterfalls which are leaving us without voice.
Once arrived to the Serra do Rastro, we spend our first VERY cold night in the tent with a temperature of minus 5 Celsius degrees. Difficult to believe that we are in Brasil! The day after, the downhill of the Serra that we were waiting with impatience is converted in a highway. Indeed, a lot of Brazilian decided to go to the Serra to feel and to touch the ice. Instead of sliding the mountain curves, we have to slow down all the time.
Last step to reach Florianopolis. We go through the road BR101. In Brasil, the problem on the road is that there are numerous kilometres without any safety strip. A lot of times, we have to sprint to escape to the cars and trucks which are quickly getting closer. We have also to hitchhike on 20 kilometres due to a dangerous road. It is on night that we have to cycle on the Florianopolis roads. The traffic is intense and the safety strip are non-existent. The adrenaline is at its highest point. We end this crazy race by going uphill and it is covered of sweat that we arrive to Matheus house, a young student who is living with 5 other people.
We thank all the people who welcomed us on the road :
The Italian pousada In Mezzo ai Monti based in the village of Boa Esperança, who offer us a night and a complete breakfast
Fabiano and his pousada Fortaleza, based in Cambara do Sul, who offered us two nights and two complete breakfasts
The vice mayor of Sao José dos Ausentes who paid us a night in a hostel.
Fransisco, his father and his brother, who invited us to a full diner, a night in his pousada followed by a complete breakfast.