Saturday, March 21, 2015

Curitiba | Paraná | Brazil

Soon after returning to Brazil, it was time to celebrate Carnaval. After so much time on the open road over the previous holiday, I was already feeling claustrophobic after only a few weeks back in the city. With this in mind, Felipe and I thought about where everyone would go and drove in the opposite direction.

As previously mentioned, Brazilian traffic is rough on a good day. Toss in a national holiday and your estimated travel time of six hours might turn into fourteen. We left at 4 am to circumvent the gridlock but instead ended up right in the middle of a backup caused by an overturned truck. This meant that from 5-7 am, we were completely stopped on the toll road. That's right, two hours without moving. Naturally everyone fell asleep so, when traffic started to move several hours later, a police officer drove down the middle of the two lanes knocking on everyone's window to wake them up. No joke.

The backup still lasted for several more miles but then cleared up and was rather uneventful for the rest of the drive. By word of mouth, Curitiba is known as one of the cleanest and most organized (planned) cities in all of Brazil. I was relieved when we arrived to see that the rumors were all true. We spent the whole weekend enjoying the ease of getting around, the variety of cuisine that was available, and the general calm of the city.

We celebrated Valentine's Day at Cantina do Delio, which we would highly recommend for both cuisine and atmosphere. We walked across the street to the adorable Banoffi Cafe & Confeitaria, which is the perfect sweet ending to any day and also gets five stars for atmosphere.
Because of the consistent rain for the duration of our stay, we didn't get to visit many of the different parks Curitiba is famous for, but that's just another excuse to go back for another visit!

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