Florianopolis – Cerveja, Hike, Bike and Sandboarding

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Florianopolis, more commonly referred to as Floripa, is on an island just off the coast of Brazil just close enough to be connected by a bridge. It has a nice, bustling modern city. We opted to stay a bit away from it. Given advice from some Paraguayan amigos well familiar with the area, we stayed two fistfuls of kilometers out of the city, over some hills and by the water at Lagoa da Conceição.

Our place was decidedly less, uh, modern and perhaps “posh” as places we’ve rented. I’ve always wondered about the 2nd and 3rd floor apartments over small businesses here… the ones with the small, external and dodgy iron wrought spiral staircases. We found out as that is where we stayed. Our place was one big primary room with two small bedrooms. At least the bedrooms had drapes, the dining area/kitchen was a wide open fishbowl. We had a great deck/balcony with tables, lounge chairs, quincho… but it was fairly cold and got dark and actual cold early. Would have been a much better place for bros on a Spring Break than our usual lodging. We’ve liked airBNB for letting us “live local”, we got that flavor this stay.

That said, the location was perfect for a lot of the fun stuff Floripa has to check out. We had a great view from the balcony, hills on one side and a plaza on the other. Morning markets on Thursday and Saturday, kids playing futebol the rest of the day, all day, until the Sun went down. Conveniently near the water taxi as well.

First night we decided to stay close and check out Books & Beer. Was one of the places I had bookmarked to visit in advance… and conveniently located about 600m from our apartment. Really cool establishment, had a downstairs lounge area with dimmed lights, comfy chairs and couches to relax with friends for a social few. Upstairs was the bar/restaurant, half inside, half on an outside patio overlooking the lagoa. 5 beers on tap, and a large bottle selection, an enjoyable special – fruit of the sea curry style, com cerveja. The menus are printed up like books, with beers, wines, appetizers each having their own chapter and presented almost in literary style. We were handed, much to my amusement, Moby Drink and O Velho E O Bar – the Old Man and the Sea (well, Bar).

Wednesday we took the morning to hike around our new barrio, take in our new surroundings and get the lay of the land. And continue to enjoy more of Brazil’s absolutely fantastic coffee, courtesy of Café Cultura.

We did also cab into town to check out the Mercado Municipal – Basically two buildings adjacent to one another, each with open big hallways. One selling meats, fresh fish, and stores with tea, spices (including a Sriracha-imitator). The second more stores, tourist stuff and wares. The middle was restaurants and bars- including Beer Boss, another place with high craft, uh, as the name might imply, beer.

The entire neighborhood around the barrio also featured street vendors and stores with lots of wares -some maybe of questionable authenticity, along with a nearby plaza/park with a tree with branches so wide and massive they need metal struts to support.

We capped the day off back in the lagoa, with cheating on both Sriracha (the Hoy Fung original) and Sa-Ing Thai Restaurant (my one a week Tucson lunch for a decade) with Take Thai, mobile food truck. First Thai food I’ve had since January 2015. Thoroughly enjoyed.

As I mentioned we were near the heart of a lot of the outdoorsy/nature things to do, so on Thursday we cabbed a couple KM up to the start of the lagoa hike. It’s a bit of a weird one. Some little patches of hiketude along an old path cuts along the edge of the lagoa. So it’s a nature path… and suddenly houses sprout up. Some along the trail, some along the shore, some set back up higher and more secluded in the hills. Some are clearly for people with money, some are just for the local fishermen. Then back to trails. And eventually to a couple little villages/towns. There’s also a waterfall that is pretty to look at, but really underwhelming compared to Iguazu.

At some point during the hike we were joined by a black dog that looked vaguely like our old Aussie Shepherd, Jack. He tagged along, scouted ahead and accompanied us for probably a good 40 minutes. We dubbed him Jaco in honor of my old best canine buddy.

We did enjoy some crab empanadas and beer at the end of our journey, before taking the water taxi on a 45-minute ride back to our the main dropoff right by the plaza/our place. Dinner was a trip to the Food Truck round up. The town converted an old parking lot into a permanent housing for 10 food trucks – 8 various dinner choices – and some desert and one from a local craft brewery, picnic tables, umbrella covering, even a pool that skaters were using to do tricks. Love food trucks, was awesome to see the community utilize them in such a way.

Friday was cycling day, taking in a tour of the many beaches and dunes in the area, five in all are readily accessible. Enjoyable trip, even if the cobblestone roads of the lagoa were terribly uncomfortable in the saddle-area, particularly compared to Curitiba. We capped the day off with dinner at an artisanal pizza place. The restaurant vibe was great, an old two story house. They allowed us to split a pie half-and-half, which was great as neither of us managed to eat our half. They also had their own house beer, which went well with the pizza.

We returned to the dunes on Saturday to spend an hour sledding down. Rather 4-5 minutes up for each 30 second ride down. Started with the bunny slopes, but after two runs quickly graduated to larger and largest slope. Was a heckuva lot of fun.

And, sadly, just like that 8 nights in Brazil were over and we returned home.

(Beer enthusiasts – Top three Tupiniquim – Polimango Double IPA, Cervejaria Imigração – Ruleto Russa IPA, Cerveja Blumenau Capivara Little IPA, with special credit to Krug. The local supermercado had 5 different beers of theirs, all named after emotions… they were all great.) #KrugLife


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