In Indaiatuba with Paola
I studied together with Paola at the Technical University in Munich and as she was Brazilian she quickly invited Eli and me to come visit her! As Paola was one of the people that I got to know the best in Germany I was really looking forward to getting to see her again. It was time to stay in a proper house with homemade food again! Woho!
I first of all have to apologize for how much time it took me to finally sit down and finish this post. I have no other excuse than that life quickly normalized back in Norway and it was hard to find the time to finish my travel blog. The hospitality that the Matheus family showed us deserved better than this and for this I apologize. Travel blogging was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be!
Paola and her father picked us up at the bus station after a four hour or so bus ride from Foz do Iguaçu. For the next few days we were going to let our shoulders down and relax a bit while Paola showed us around. It was so nice to see a familiar face again! And we were very grateful for having the opportunity to enjoy the generous hospitality of Paolas family. We got introduced to the entire family and their many dogs! Paolas father Matheus, her mother Denise, and her two sisters Vanessa and Maria made us feel right at home.
Indaiatuba is a municipality in the state of São Paulo and is relatively small compared to other Brazilian cities. As always, if you compare it with any Norwegian city it is actually really really big. We started of our first day by taking a small trip to a patch of land that the Matheus family owned and where they were planning on building a vacation home when they had the time. It is still surreal to actually see trees that grow oranges and lemons after a whole life of never seeing these types of fruits anywhere else than the supermarket. It was a beautiful patch of land that had a nice view of the surrounding area. Another thing that I found a bit peculiar was that at the entrance to this an all similar areas where Brazilians had vacation homes it was always fenced of with a guard at the entrance. This is probably one of the few things about Brazil that I hope do not spread to Norway, as I am in favor of our liberal laws regarding the public use of both our beach front and general public areas. As Brazil has a higher crime rate I do understand the reason why the fences are there, but I have to say that I was both warned about muggings and general crime before I went to Brazil and I felt perfectly safe at all times! It is always a good thing to take whatever bad things you hear about a place with a pinch of salt. Give it the benefit of your doubt, as we did with Brazil, and you are likely to be pleasantly surprised!
Paolas father, Matheus, was generous enough to take some time to properly teach me how to make a Caipirinha. I had never made it with proper Cachaça (sugar cane based liquor) and I have to say that I was impressed by my final attempts after learning the art over several nights at the Matheus family. On our departure he even gave me their Caipirinha equipment to bring back to Norway! Thank you again so much 🙂 If you were wondering it has made numerous Caipirinhas since we got back from our trip!
Not long before we arrived one of the Matheus family’s dogs had puppies, and not just a few. Their backyard was full of them! On top of the several dogs they already had there was always a dog in sight. And what better photo subjects than adorable puppies? They never get tired of posing!
The days at the Matheus family was complete relaxation and a welcome one after a few tiresome sightseeing days at Iguazu Falls. We relaxed, talked, did some shopping, the girls got their nails done and we had a taste of the local fast food at Pastel de Feira! It was a delicious type of flat pie that came in a large assortment of flavors from chicken to more dessert types like banana..Both Vanessa and Maria joined us for a feast of Pastel that lasted until I barely could move, but I was definitely not as full as after our destination the next day – a Churrascaria. That word should definitely be followed by a dramatic sound effect as it is the place where I have eaten the most food in my entire life!
A Churrascaria is a typical Brazilian restaurant that has an ingenious way of serving their food. Paola was kind enough to take us to one and I will probably never stop blabbering about it ever again! The twist about the Churrascaria is that you do not order anything, you simply sit back and let the dozen or so waiters that are constantly walking in the same direction around the restaurant serve you. It works like this: You help yourself to side dishes from a separate table, then you sit down and turn a dial on your seat from red to green signaling that you are ready to get your eat on! As the waiters now sees that you are good to go they will come by your table with whatever they are carrying or rolling on small trolleys. This could be anything from a magnitude of dishes containing cow, chicken, pork, fish or a number of other animals that I could not pick out. Paolas favorite was small hearts.. which are adorable on paper, but really weird when served by the pound. After I got started I never managed to eat my way down to the bottom of my plate ever again. As new and delicious servings kept appearing it was hard to say no! I never even had a chance to eat desert as I was barely able to move after turning my dial to red. I felt like I was going to burst and did not have anything else to eat until breakfast the morning after. It was a complete success!
Paola also took us on a day trip to São Paulo. It was hard to grasp the size of this city as it is the biggest city in Brazil and the largest city in the southern hemisphere. The city itself was both beautiful and bland at the same time. And I got the feeling that São Paulo is one of those cities that takes a while to get under your skin. We walked around all day and got to see a lot of the older buildings that had both beautiful architecture and interesting history. By the time we got back to Indaiatuba I was exhausted!
After 4 days in Indaiatuba we were ready to take the bus to our final destination on this trip, Rio de Janeiro. Once again, thank you so much for the hospitality and the warm welcome that three tired travelers received at the Matheus home. And next time it is your turn Paola!