Cozy Montevideo

Written by Nadine Zangerle on . Posted in Uruguay

Ready and packed Tessa and Jan drove us to the bus station in Porto Alegre. Well prepared against the fridge like temperature on night buses, I took my sleeping bag with me. Very quickly I figured out that there was no need for it. Even our water, which was perfectly placed above the heater, was ready for tea.

Another surprise were the formalities at the border. We calculated to get up at 3 am in order to get our stamps but the bus operator had collected all our passports. While the passengers slept through the whole process, the bus driver organized everything at the Brazilian and Uruguayan border.

Arriving early morning at the bus station Tres Cruces in Montevideo we hopped on the bus CA1 which brought us into town. Those big bags are a bummer in overflowing busses and we were happy to get off again.

At the hostel another surprise awaited us. While we were waiting at the reception I saw a familiar face working in the kitchen. When he looked up he had the same quizzical look and we had to laugh. No way, we had met Andrew in Santa Clara (Columbia) and agreed to do the 4 day tour on the Amazonas together. So we met up weeks later to swing our way down the Amazonas in hammocks. And here we are, running into him a third time. How funny is this?

The first day we walked around town, passing the Puerta de la Ciudadelain into Oldtown (Cuidad Vieja) with its book stores and artisan galleries. Along the Avenida 18 de Julio were many parks - Plaza de Cagancha, Plaza Fabini and Plaza Independencia where only a few we passed through. All those parks and beautiful avenues lined with big trees give the city a green touch.

This, the lack of fences and security guards as well as the helpful and smiling people where a big difference to Brazil. We felt safe and welcomed from the very first moment. We are still very alert after our robbery in Brazil but this feels already way more relaxed.

In Brazil we got the advice not to show that we are tourists, also means not talk too loud to each other in German or English. Here it didn’t matter and people where very quick helping us with directions.

The next day we explored the coastline with bikes and since this city is very flat, it didn’t matter that we had totally rusty bikes without gear shift. Despite the name “Monte”video the biggest hill is 132m which probably gave the city its name.

Tuesday is a great day for museums since most of them offer free entrance. This said, we had a glance into the Museo de Artes Decorativas, situated in the Palacio Taranco in Ciudad Vieja. The old, decorated furniture was beautiful. From the Palacio Municipal we had a fantastic 360 degree vista.

Since Montevideo and its main attractions are close together you can easily explore this city in two days. So after exploring most highlights of Montevideo we decided to follow the footprints of my father’s uncle – Padre Karl Zangerle.

Accommodation: Willy Fogg Hostel - Calle Maldonado 977, Montevideo 

Price: from 10 US-$  in a 14er dorm, shared bathroom, WiFi, incl. intercontinal breakfast

Comment: Spanish run, could be cleaner and better organized.


Festa Farroupilha, the festival of the Gauchos

Written by Nadine Zangerle on . Posted in Brazil

There was a little surprise on our last weekend in Porto Alegre. On the 20th September they had the Festa Farroupilha, a Parade with Gauchos (Cowboys). Alan brought us to the Parade and showed us around.

We met Alan at the FIFA Fan Fest and afterwards we saw him several times at the Germans Regular Table. Yepp, you heard right, there is a Germans Regular Table in Porto Alegre. And funny wise most of the people are actually Brazilians who speak really good German.

After watching the Parade with the wild and beautiful horses, with proud Gauchos and beautiful costumes we walked to the wooden huts which were totally covered in smoke. Hundreds of huts had big junks of meat on the barbecue and the smell was driving us insane.

For sure we had to get some of this fantastic Churrasco and afterwards we had a hard time walking. We followed some Gaucho-Dance-Competition which seemed to be a mix of Bavarian Dance and Step Dance. It was fantastic to watch. Hours later we arrived back home – happy and a bit tired.

We stayed our last days with Tessa and Jan because Beatriz`s family came for a visit. Great to have helpful people around where we can crush on a bed. Since we overstayed our Visa for a couple of days we had to go to the Policia Federal to sort this out. It was only than that we could buy our bus tickets to Uruguay.

And in Uruguay we are on a mission. On a mission to find a tomb. Curious? Well you will find out more in our coming report. Let’s go to Uruguay.


From SF de Paula to Nova Petrópolis

Written by Nadine Zangerle on . Posted in Brazil

For those who are wondering what happened to us, let me inform you, we are still in Porto Alegre, South Brazil, with our friend Beatriz. 

We needed some time out from travelling and after Beatriz offered us to stay a little while we welcomed this break. For sure we didn't spend all the time in the city, after some bicycle trips we also went to the country side with our host.
She showed us around and did some hiking with us. One weekend we drove to San Francisco de Paula and stayed in a cute lodge. We had a traditional dinner with a lot of chicken and pasta before we went to bed. 
The next morning we prepared for a small hiking tour at the Parque das 8 Cachoeiras (8 waterfalls) and explored the wonderful surrounding. The cascades gave us great opportunity to try our new/old camera a bit. Remember, after we got robbed we had to order a new camera and we have to get used to the other lense a bit.

In the afternoon we dedicated our trip to the cities with German heritage. First we walked around Canela and had a glance into the Church - Igreja da Pedra. At some houses you could see the German origin, typically style from the Black Forest, the southern part of Germany. The city was very busy since it is very popular for tourists.
The third most visited tourist destination is Gramado, only 120 km away from Porto Alegre and a couple of kilometers from Canela. So we looked around this so called "Switzerland of Brazil" but decided against a coffee break due to the Switzerland prices.

In  Nova Petrópolis we walked around the Parque Aldeia Do Imigrante which still has the old German town with those beautiful small houses. It felt weired to see all those German roots and they even played Bavarian music in Lederhosn. This town has several dance festivals and groups with traditional clothes (Trachten) which compete yearly. How funny is this?
It is interesting to see how the old traditions are kept alive and we could even speak with some people in German. Their German is quite old and it seems to be like a time travel in an older part of Germany. So we bought some real German bread and had a Berliner (a German donut), which the Brazilians call Sohno (dream). We seemed to be the only foreign tourists in this area. It was a great experience and we are happy that we had the opportunity to see this part of Brazil. 
Now we think it's time to travel on. Uruguay and Argentina are waiting for us. But thanks to our friend Beatriz and people we have met in Porto Alegre we will not forget our trip to Rio Grande do Sul. Thank you all for this special time!

Accommodation: Saochico Pousada - Eco Village, Rua das Valquirias, 288, Sao Francisco de Paula, RS 

Price: R-$ 180 private room, own bathroom, WiFi, incl. intercontinal breakfast

Comment: Brazilian run, great breakfast, room little moldy.