Piranhas

Town gates, Piranhas.

We arrived in Piranhas in the early the afternoon of Friday, 3rd February and spent the rest of the afternoon and evening in town arranging excursions for the following day.  Once we’d settled into our Pousada we went out to find a late lunch.  So while we’re having lunch I’ll give you the history bit.

Piranhas was founded in 1891 and originally named Floriano Peixoto after one of the army leaders who founded the first Brazilian Republic and later became President. It was also known as Porto de Piranhas because that was the main catch of the local fishermen. The architectural style is described as ‘late Empire of the North East style’ but it has echos of the buildings in São Fransisco do Sul and in Ilhabela, both well away from the North East. It was also a the terminus for a state railway, and the old railway station is one of the most impressive buildings in town.

Clock Tower square opposite the old station
Clock Tower

In the 1930s the town was attacked on several occasions by bands of Cangaceiros, bandits,  who plagued the boarders between the States. One in particular was lead by a local folk hero, or villain, going by the ‘nom de guerre’ of Lampião. This means lamp and allegedly referred to his prowess with a lever action rifle; he could fire so fast it looked as if he was holding a lamp!  Anisia, remembers a school trip to the region to learn about Lampiao and on return the students were asked “Lampião,  hero or villain”. The answer to that lay in whether he liked you or not!   Read the link for more on Lampião and Maria Bonita, it is very interesting.

Piranhas itself is a quiet, pretty little town and our Pousada, the Pousada O Canto, is a restored original building located at the far eastern end of town in a very pleasant spot over looking the river.

Sunset dip in Piranhas …..

It is only a few minutes walk to the river and after our late lunch and a wander around town we went back to the Pousada and down to the river to have a refreshing sunset dip.

Sunset over the Rio São Francisco

And while we are on the subject of piranhas; I am convinced they share a common ancestor with mosquitos. Scientifically a bee can’t fly and on similar grunds I am  amazed that mosquitos can either. They only have little tiny wings and there is no way they can generate enough lift to get their bloody teeth off the floor!  We almost bathe in citronella repellent but I think it is more of a marinade!  You can almost hear them drooling at the thought of ‘Lemon Gringo”!