I’ve slowed down in the past few months. Having zigzagged my way up the west coast of South America, I almost skipped Brazil altogether before having an unexpected change of heart.
Brazil is such an enormous country that you could easily spend months hopping from place to place. However, hopping around wasn’t what I had in mind, so after two splendid months in Rio and a brief detour to Iguazu Falls, I caught a bus to Floripa and have been here ever since.
Florianopolis is a city on the island of Santa Catarina – a name that was familiar to me because years ago in London my dad met a Brazilian waitress who had described her home to him. He suggested I check it out if I ever went to Brazil, and after discovering that Floripa has one of the highest standards of living in the country, I was more than happy to spend my last few months on the island.
Floripa looks like Durban, for those South Africans reading this. Although it has a center – complete with high rises and historical buildings – many of its neighborhoods are scattered across the rest of the island. The spaced-out quality of these neighborhoods has resulted in them feeling almost like individual villages, as opposed to parts of a city. Nicknamed ‘the magic island’ it has a history woven with tales of witches and mythical creatures, as well as a magical quality about its beauty.
I chose to a live in Lagoa da Conceicao: a small community hugging the shores of the lake, surrounded by thickly forested mountains. Lagoa has a reputation for attracting hippies and foreigners and, although it feels very Brazilian, it does somehow remind me of home.
My time here has consisted primarily of Portuguese lessons, yoga and hiking, and – despite the constant rain – has been wonderful. The gentle pace of living, friendly locals and reintroduction of routine has reenergized me and I’m feeling happy and excited to go home. South Africa, see you in three weeks!