Life has been rather domestic these past couple of weeks. Instead of recounting my trips to the grocery store I thought you’d like to read about my very first Brazilian road trip from a little while back. My daughter was in Brazil for a visit and our good friends took us home with them.
We were driving for twenty hours. One way.
Glaucio and Denise have become good friends of ours, and they invited us along when they planned a trip to go back home for a long holiday weekend. Brian had to work, but it was perfect timing for my road-trip loving Girl who was here for three weeks.
There will be more posts about what we did while we were there, but let me tell you a little about the drive.
Have you ever taken a Greyhound bus trip in the US? Stopped at a rest stop, or a truck stop? I now there are a few nice ones, but in general they’re pretty skeevy and minimal.
Brazil can teach the US some things about rest stops. And bus trips for that matter.
We started our drive in Rio das Ostras at 2:30pm, hit Rio de Janeiro traffic in the evening and slogged through that for three hours before we made it through to the other side. A few hours later we crossed through Sao Paulo and luckily didn’t hit any traffic there. The biggest problem was between Sao Paulo and Curitiba, which is really out in the middle of nowhere. There was TONS of traffic, and at one point we creeped along for three hours and only moved ten kilometers. TEN. (That’s not even seven miles for my American friends.)
It was a 1000 km drive.
A big thank you to the road gods for building these Graal rest stops. We passed loads of them, and stopped at two or three. Every single one is spotlessly clean, open 24 hours, safe and somewhat reasonably priced. The long distance buses stop here too, so we always had a few sleepy bus riders to share company with.
The stops all have big, nice bathrooms, por kilo restaurants, a bakery counter, a kids play area in the restaurant seating section and a general store. You have to wind your way through all of it to get out the other side. Somebody did their design homework and knows how to maximize the impulse buy.
They were all decorated for Christmas, and some had fun themes. This is the last one we stopped at on the way home and it had a New York theme. Funny.
So, our drive to get to Curitiba took twenty hours. We spent 52 hours there and then turned right back around and drove home. Do we look tired?
We were tired, but that is a chicken pastry in my hand and a piece of pao quejo in my Girl’s hand so we don’t care how tired we are. We’re happy.
The drive home was much easier, faster and had much less traffic. It was a quick fourteen hours. We did have a fender bumper on the freeway in Sao Paulo, but luckily nobody got hurt other than Glaucio’s car. That woke me up for a little while.
But the scenery was fantastic, and the company was just as good.
Thank you, Glaucio, for your expert driving and for the invitation!
Coming up I’ll tell you all about the great things we did and saw while we were there, including the time I snuck my underage daughter into a Russian bar.