Vitoria and a little bit of Vila Velha

04 Apr – 09 Apr

All the frantic rushing about left behind in Belo Horizonte, I arrived in Vitoria calm and collected (or as calm and collected as I can be, at least). My CS host Vinicius had instructed me to arrive at his place between 830 and 10am, so I took my own sweet time making my way from the bus terminal to his place. I even had time for breakfast at a little by-the-road coffee place before heading over to meet him.

View on the way to Vinicius' place Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

View on the way to Vinicius’ place
Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

He is a cool guy and we spent some time chatting before I decided that it would be wise for me to take a quick nap before lunch. After nap time, it was off to lunch (typical pay-by-weight place) before wandering around Vitoria.

Bridge connecting Vitoria to Vila Velha Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

Bridge connecting Vitoria to Vila Velha
Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

Vitoria seemed like a nice city – despite being quite a large city, it has a nice smallness to it, if that makes any sense.

Great views from the bay area Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

Great views from the bay area
Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

Live a little, suffer a lot :( Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

Live little, suffer a lot 😦
Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

We were both quite tired after a couple of hours of wandering around in the hot sun,

Nice sunset at a cool monument Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

Nice sunset at a cool monument
Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

so we headed back for dinner and a quiet evening of watching sitcoms on TV together. It really is quite nice to chill out and watch TV once in a while – one of the things I had forgotten after so long on the road.

Vinicius lives outside of the city center, and the day before, we had only explored the part of the city relatively near his house, so I decided to head to the city center to check out the sights there. I decided to head there on foot, despite it being quite a walk and visited the historic city centre of Vitoria. First off, I visited a sort of park on a hillside,

A little chapel even in a random park Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

A little chapel even in a random park
Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

Parque Gruta da Onça

Fearsome jaguar indeed Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

Fearsome jaguar indeed
Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

and spent a delightful hour or so wandering around the “park” which turned out to be some sort of favela on the hillside

Brazilian kids are super adorable (and full of sass) Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

Brazilian kids are super adorable (and full of sass)
Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

but with amazing views.

The living conditions may be less than perfect, but the view might just make up for it Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

The living conditions may be less than perfect, but the view might just make up for it
Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

I also managed to get completely lost and couldn’t work out which of the narrow streets through the favela led back to the main avenue and not to someone’s house,

No idea why there's a horse in the middle of nowhere, but the kids were having great fun with it Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

No idea why there’s a horse in the middle of nowhere, but the kids were having great fun with it
Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

but thankfully a kind lady I asked sent her rather reluctant son to lead me down.

After that, I decided not to go wandering around any more favelas (for the time being) and stuck to the tourist sights outlined on my trusty map of the city.

Pretty cool city, Vitoria is Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

Pretty cool city, Vitoria is
Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

It turned out to be quite a nice walk to see some churches

Impressive church Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

Impressive church
Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

and monuments,

Famous stairs of Vitoria Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

Famous stairs of Vitoria
Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

and parks,

Random street light in the park Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

Random street light in the park
Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

Law enforcement doing their jobs Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

Law enforcement doing their jobs
Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

The football field in the park was flooded from the rains and these guys were bailing out the water. They did not appreciate having their photo taken and threw some muddy water at me. Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

The football field in the park was flooded from the rains and these guys were bailing out the water. They did not appreciate having their photo taken and threw some muddy water at me.
Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

and I ended up wandering around for a good half hour trying to find some ruins of a church indicated on my map, only to find out that they were within private property, which was obviously abandoned. Just my luck.

There was a cute dog hanging out there though, so it was okay Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

There was a cute dog hanging out there though, so it was okay
Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

I finished off my sightseeing with a visit to a museum where there was a pretty cool exhibition on weddings in the early 1900s which I quite enjoyed.

Grand affairs even in 1920 Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

Grand affairs even in 1920
Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

Vinicius and I hung out for a bit that evening, watching some Game of Thrones and then it was party time! The CouchSurfers of Vitoria had organized a Colombia themed party, which seemed fun but Vinicius didn’t feel up to it so he arranged for me to go with his friend Daniela and her CouchSurfer. It turned out to be a pretty fun party and guess who I met again but Jacek, whom I had met in Belo Horizonte, who was the CouchSurfer of Daniela! Small CouchSurfing world 😉

I was ready for a rest the day after, and it so happened to be a Sunday, so I spent the day slacking around at Vincius’ house. His parents and pet dog came to visit too, so it was nice practicing my crappy Portuguese with them for a bit.

Feeling revived after a day of rest, I decided explore a little bit of Vila Velha the next day, where the famous Convento da Penha is located (you can actually see the convent from Vitoria, but to get there you have to go to Vila Velha instead).

Convento da Penha Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

Convento da Penha
Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

I walked for a bit, took a bus for a bit, walked uphill for a bit and finally arrived at the convent, which has amazing views of the entire city. It being a Monday, the convent was quiet with not many visitors so I was free to wander around for however long I pleased without being bothered.

Mostly I sat around watching people pray Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

Mostly I sat around watching people pray
Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

Once I was bored with the church, I decided to head to the beach for a nice relaxing afternoon. The water was too chilly for a swim, and I didn’t have my swimsuit with me anyhow so I just sat on the beach and marveled at nothing in particular and everything in general.

I saw someone's version of a tree house Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

I saw someone’s version of a tree house
Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

Contemplation done, I walked to discover what exactly was so interesting about a rock in the middle of the park. When I finally arrived, I had to admit that the rock was aptly named – Pedra da Cebola.

It does look like a weird sort of onion Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

It does look like a weird sort of onion
Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

Interesting end to the day, and I headed back soon after that to prepare for my adventure the next day.

So, my plan after Vitoria was to head up north to the state of Bahia, where I had my first Workaway gig lined up. When we met at the CS party, Jacek mentioned that he was also planning to head up north and was thinking of hitchhiking up to save some money. It seemed to us that it would be a good idea for both of us to hitchhike together – to increase Jacek’s chances of getting a ride, and for my safety. We decided to meet early the next morning to try our luck at hitchhiking.

Excited about my hitchhiking adventure, I woke up at 5ish to get my stuff together and meet Jaeck at his designated meeting point where we would then get a bus to the outskirts of he city before walking a short distance to where hitchhikers usually got picked up. Everything went smoothly up till the point I met Jacek. Well, we started waiting for the bus to the outskirts and waited and waited and waited for about an hour before giving up hope and taking a different bus to somewhere supposedly close to where we wanted to go. Once we arrived there, we started walking. And walking. And walking. And got nowhere. Apparently, in Jacek’s research, he had found that we had to reach a particular gas station about a 30 minute walk from the outskirts where long haul drivers usually stopped. Unfortunately for us, we first had to walk to the outskirts of Vitoria, and then continue walking. The thing is, we never arrived at the gas station that we were supposed to get to.

But we did enjoy some amazing views on our walk Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

But we did enjoy some amazing views on our walk
Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

It was all rather strange but in the end we were directed to a small curve in the road where drivers sometimes picked hitchhikers up, having begun out journey at about 6ish, we finally started hitchhiking at about 10, much later than we expected. Needless to say, none of the drivers stopped for us (well, a few of them did but they weren’t going much more than a half hour’s drive from where we were so we didn’t accept their rides), and after trying our luck for about 4 hours, we finally admitted defeat and headed back to Vitoria.

Failed hitchhiker Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

Failed hitchhiker
Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

It was an adventure and an experience nonetheless and we laughed about it while sitting at the bus station later, waiting for Jaeck’s bus. And that’s definitely something I’ve learnt on this trip – that even though things don’t always (or hardly ever) work out the way you want them to, you’ll always have a good story at the end of it. Good experience, or a good story, but never a dull moment.

Well, Jacek headed to Ilhéus (I think?) that evening, and the next day, after spending a couple of hours at an Internet cafe and picking up my first pair of Havaianas (!)as a replacement for my fliflop that lost its friend on the way to Vitoria, I was off on my mega long bus to Salvador!

My first Havaianas! Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

My first Havaianas!
Vitoria, Brazil, Apr 2014

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