Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Finally Ashore in Ilhabela

25 February 2017 - posted on 8 March 2017 in Santarem, along the Amazon

On Thursday, we stopped at Armacao dos Buzios, better known as just Buzios.  This is a lovely little resort town on a peninsula that juts out from the mainland, and is surrounded by golden beaches and turquoise water.

This location became famous after Brigitte Bardot “discovered” the town and the beaches in the 1960s, when she visited the area with her Brazilian boyfriend.

So the town has a Bardot movie theatre, a Bardot statue, and, well, other little reminders of this actress who made Buzios famous.

Richard went in on the tender, and explored a bit.  I was still feeling a bit blah, so I stayed onboard the ship.  Had a nice walk around, though, taking photos of the view from the various decks.  The water was gorgeous, and it really looked like a nice place.  But sick is sick, right? 

A few people came back to the ship reporting that they saw some sea turtles swimming around, too! 

Friday was a sea day, which means walking around the ship, catching up on photos, reading, all that.  Chatting with people we’ve met, maybe having afternoon tea with our new ship friends.  Mostly a relaxing kind of day, maybe some napping.
We also sailed past the entrance to Rio de Janeiro, with its signature coastline – Sugarloaf Mountain, or maybe the false Sugarloaf; the statue of Christ the Redeemer up on the mountain; the hills beyond the city; and more turquoise water.  The captain announced that we could see the views, and everyone rushed to the starboard side to see the view.  We also will see the view tomorrow morning when we sail into the harbor, although that may be a bit early – we dock by 8 AM, so the view begins about 5:30 AM.  Yeah, not my best time. 

Today, Saturday, our port visit was the town of Ilhabela, on São Sebastião Island, part of a little archipelago about 125 miles northeast of Sao Paulo.  The name of the town, Ilhabela, means “beautiful island,” and it really was.  Lush and green, with cute little shops, small streets being decorated for Carnaval, and fabulous mosaics.  Really, I loved the mosaics that were all over the place – a little mosaic house on the dock, panels outside restaurants, signs, even an incredibly detailed map of the island and its features at the main intersection in town.
The town was getting all set for the big Carnaval parade that night.  All kinds of scaffolding was being set up along the streets, with spotlights to highlight the dancers, and speakers to blare out the music.  Plus viewing stands with tents that vaguely resembled the casbah, or something.  None of the streamers and pennants we saw in Recife, but it looks like a high tech parade route so everyone can party the night away!

We left by mid-afternoon, heading back for our couple of days in Rio.  Some people will be leaving the cruise, since this is our mid point.  Hard to believe we’ve been cruising for 24 days already!  So some of our passengers signed up for the 24-day cruise, and will disembark and head off to other things tomorrow.  The rest of us will stay aboard for the upcoming Amazon cruise.  And there probably will be other people who join us tomorrow for our next 24 days.

We’ve planned to meet up with a friend from St. Thomas who now lives in Rio, and also to see the big samba parade.  The Carnaval events are mostly at night – even all night! – so we’re looking forward to what probably is the biggest Carnaval in the world!  We already have tickets for the Sambadromo, which is basically the stands set up for the all-night parade of samba troupes.

The samba is to Brazil what tango is to Argentina – the national dance and music that is the heartbeat of the nation, with its roots in the African slaves who were brought here, and the music then changed and adapted and enhanced by each wave of subsequent immigrants and cultures that continued to change the country that became their new home.  The music has a pulsing and insistent drum beat with rapid footwork, swaying hips, and swinging arms.  Well, at least the women swing and sway.  The men do more of a muscular brandishing of muscles while following the same fancy foot moves.  I had fun at samba class I attended, and I can sort of fake a little of the dance now. 

So yes, we’ll watch the parade and dance and sway and celebrate life along with millions of tourists and Brazilians!

Not sure what kind of wifi we’ll find in Rio, nor how much time we might have for blogging.  Plus I imagine I’ll have a thousand or so photos to sort through.
So if you don’t hear from us for a few days again, not to worry.  We’re either out partying, or recuperating from enjoying Carnaval!


  1. Ooohhh....I live the mosaics, too!
    How was the temp/weather for Carnaval?
    Did you manage to stay up half the night?
    Thnx for sharing.

  2. Your pictures are gorgeous, they always make me feel like I am there too.