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.
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.
Vitoria seemed like a nice city – despite being quite a large city, it has a nice smallness to it, if that makes any sense.
We were both quite tired after a couple of hours of wandering around in the hot sun,
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,
Parque Gruta da Onça
and spent a delightful hour or so wandering around the “park” which turned out to be some sort of favela on the hillside
but with amazing views.
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,
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.
It turned out to be quite a nice walk to see some churches
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!