Lencois Maranhenses Dunes

About 4 hours drive from Soa Luis is the

Lencois Maranhenses Dunes

About 4 Hours drive from Soa Luis is the Lencois   Maranhenses sand dune national park. Wild and untouched the view from the air was stunning. But first we had to take a plane!  In the wet season, the water forms lagoons on the bottom of the dunes creating different colors, depending on the light and the sand. 
 The dunes stretch as far as the eye can see.
 Here the water is green

After the flight we took a land trip into the dunes, we bumped and rolled for about 60 mins before arriving at the dunes. They looked very different from the air.
Yes that is a person on the top. It gives you an idea how tall the Dunes are.

 And how steep they are and how many years will it take this tree to fade away?
The water in the lagoon is very green!

And we stayed to watch the sunset.

Soa Luis

Little  known Soa Luis is in the Noth of Brazil, the sea is still part of The Atlantic, but very close to The Amazon estuary. It is a port where tankers seem to sit for days waiting in the sea to come into the port.
It is an old colonial city.
 Where it is possible to while a few hours away.
We found a market full of fascinating things.Sauces of what we have no idea how one woul use them.
 Hand woven baskets full of prawns . We have lived on fish of all kinds for weeks now. The meat is rather tough.

We were in Soa Luis on a Sunday, so we did what the rest of the inhabitants do. Go to the beach.
Beach football is the obvious activity, the pitch carefully laid out,

Kite boarding is a very hairy sport here. The winds are very strong and persistent .
Just to remind us we are in Brazil and it can be a dangerous place a helicopter landed on the beach, two soldiers jumped out waving very large guns, ran up the beach, a  police car arrived with sirens deafening everyone. A few minutes later the armed soldiers ran back to the helicopter And off it went. And off went the police car. Nobody but us paid the incident any attention! 

So, We decided to get on with what we had come to do .
Drink our Lemmon juice and relax

There is another side of Soa Luis that is modern. The city is a big holiday resort for the Brzillians  .  The skyscrapers dominate the beach area.

More of Pardise Island

The Island is dominated by The Point. 300 meters in height. It is very dangerous to climb.
The beaches are wonderful, but the currents are leathal.
Some parts of the island reminded us of The Orkney Islands
At The shark museum -yes there is a shark bay here. But Tony decided to rule the sea.
Despite all the sea the island is tropical with beautiful flowers everywhere .

Fernando de Noronha

We stayed three days on this island, which is about 300 Kms off the NW coast of Brazil. The Brazillians call it Paradise Island.
This beach has been voted The worlds most beautiful beach for two years in a row.

We decided it was time to prove that we were there!

To get down to the beach it is necessary to go down this hole and down another 50 vertical steps. Needless to say I didn't go, but Tony did.
While I sat waiting for Tony to return, this little chap from behind the rock


 Salvador was the first capital of Brazil. It is in the third largest bay in the world. It's black and mulatto people outnumber the white and the city vibrates with the sounds of Afro/Brazilian music.

The Forts built by the Prtugese are still standing

Our first indication that Salvador is a pretty run down place was our arrival at our hotel!
This is the building next to our hotel !

And this, we were delighted to see was our hotel! 

However the view from our bedroom window was not great!
There people living in this hut!

This was the distant view! 
However Salvador is not all like this.

Ouro Preto

The first thing one does when arriving in a town is to check the onward journey. Lonely Planet is pretty good on telling you how often and when the buses leave for your next destination. We were due to travel from Tiredentes to Ouro Preto by bus, quite possible according to Lonley Planet. But,  Agh we were told there were no buses from Tiredentes to Ouro Preto, unless we wanted to take a 4 hour journey to a big city and then catch a bus the way we had travelled to Ouro Preto - total journey time 6. Hours. Solution - take taxi - 3 hours!  Which of course we did. Can't believe Lonely Planet got it wrong.
Anyway Ouro Preto is fascinating. Set in a very ancient volcano caldera with hills all over the place the city has incredibly steep cobbled narrow streets. The whole city,was, at one time a huge gold mining city. The mining was done by the slaves, who suffered unbelievable conditions.

The entrance to the mine was usually so narrow it was hard to walk along the passage way
 The slaves then had to mine the gold ore down shafts like this. They worked for roughly 16 hours at a time. In chains.

As I said the streets were very steep 
The city was spread out over the hills

Some of the old buildings were beautifully restored .
But the cobbles really difficult to walk on.

There were some 20 churches in the city, but all very similar. We learnt here why photographs are forbidden .  The inside of the churches have beautiful carvings of saints and the holy family, all covered in gold leaf.  In the 1970's tourists were taking pictures and having replicas made and selling them. 

It was Copus Christi when we were there and angles were coming out of the churches

While proud Grandparents looked on.

We came across a restaurant with waters soliciting you. But which one is the real one? 

 Ouro Preto is a university town. The students have to make money somehow

In the old days the unmarried girls used to look longingly out of the windows, now the carved images look longingly out of the Windows.


From Petropolis to Tiredentes it was a four hour bus ride round and round the bends! It s years since I have felt ill on a bus, but I was in a poor shape when we arrived half way to Tiredentes to stay the night in Soa Joa, not much to see there so we took a taxi a few Kms up the road to the first of the colonial mining towns of  Tiredentes. The early colonials were after gold, but in Tiredentes there wasn't mush, but the town was very old and beautifully restored.
The town square was shady and if you wanted you could take a ride in the cart,

 The biggest of some 10 churches was up the top of a very steep cobbled road . Inside was covered in gold, but pictures were forbidden. Why we didn't know.
 But we traced our way down the cobbled street to listen to the gold laden stream run under the 15th century bridge.
I talked about cobble stones, but these were something else, and these giant stones were to become the norm! 

Brazil Petropolis

We left the Island and spent the day traveling to the first of the colonial cities  Petroplois . The city is called The Imperial City. The emperor and his court used to stay here in the summers.The weather was still bad, but the Cathedral was quite something

The colours in the stained glass window magnificent

In one of the parks was a crystal glass palace. The Queen used to exhibit here orchids plants and entertain people to tea!

We walked miles, so we stopped at a local cafe for some tea. We were presented with hot milk and a tea bag!