Ahh Lagoa. My happy place. The few months I spent there were good for my soul and proved the perfect transitioning period between backpacking and home time. I would return to Lagoa in a heartbeat, and sometimes have pangs for the life I lead there. In honour of that ‘saudade,’ here is a list of 8 things I loved about living in Lagoa.
(Saudade is a Portuguese word used to describe a feeling of deep nostalgia or an intense longing for people or places).
1. The Trails
One of my favourite things about living in Lagoa was the proximity of nature and how easy it was to go hiking. There are numerous hiking groups on Facebook and it is so easy to get involved and go on a different hike every weekend (weather permitting).
My favourite hike was along the Costa da Lagoa. The start of the trail is within walking distance of the centrinho and it is possible to do the trail alone. There are communities along the lake that are only accessible via the trail or by boat, and the hike provides a marvellous glimpse into the lives of the residents.
2. The Proximity of the Beaches
Florianopolis is on an island, so it follows that there are dozens of beaches. Lagoa is more or less in the middle of the island, which makes it ideal for accessing the different beaches. Praia Mole and Praia Joaquina, two of the most popular beaches, are easily reached by bus, a short bike ride, or about an hours walk. The traffic tends to be heavy on weekends so I don’t recommend trying to catch a bus later than 12pm.
3. The Vibe
Lagoa seems to draw foreigners and Brazilians from different parts of Brazil, so there is an interesting mix of people there. In fact, most of the Brazilians I befriended there weren’t originally from the area. Lagoa also has a hippy, young vibe and on the weekends it tends to attract the type of people you would typically encounter at a trance party in Cape Town.
4. The Food Trucks
The people from Floripa love a good food truck! There are a number of these trucks dotted around Lagoa, serving everything from vegan hamburgers to artisan ice-cream.
5. The Gas Truck
The gas truck was a classic example of Lagoa’s endearing oddness. Every morning it would trundle up my road, laden with gas cylinders and pumping ice cream truck-esque music. Initially I found it a little odd, but one day my gas ran out and ice-cream truck music never sounded so sweet.
6. The Egg Cars
Even better than the gas truck, were the egg cars! There were about three different, equally rundown, cars that drove around selling eggs. Each car was fitted with a megaphone that played a constant loop of a roosters crowing and hens cackling that made them impossible to ignore. The egg cars had an erratic schedule that I never quite worked out, so a number of times I had to sprint outside in my dressing gown. The perks of not knowing anyone!
7. The Streetwise Dogs
When I first arrived in Lagoa, I was surprised by the number of well-cared for dogs missioning around. Sometimes I would spot dogs from my street (that I knew had owners) trotting across a street with a pack of other dogs on the other side of town. Their owners are clearly pretty relaxed and the dogs seem relatively street-smart, so why not?
8. The Incredibly Friendly People
I only lived in Lagoa for three months, but towards the end of my time there I couldn’t walk up my street without having to stop and greet someone. The people were so welcoming and warm. I was lucky enough to have a wonderful Portuguese tutor who introduced me to many of her friends and embraced me into her circle. Most of us lived within two minutes of each other, so it worked out rather well.
On top of this, the supermarkets were small enough that I knew most of the cashiers, and shopping always guaranteed some human interaction and a spot of Portuguese practice.
In short, Lagoa Conceição was a lovely place to live. Até mais, Lagoa, I’ll be back!