This trip was a bit longer than the others at 550km, or 340 miles. Google gave our journey time as 7 hours but we were in no hurry. This is not a massive journey, about 50 miles less than London to Edinburgh, but the roads here can be ‘challenging’. On the national two lane highways you can keep up to the speed limit of 100 or 110 kph, but on the single carriageway state roads you are lucky if you can keep up 80 or 90 and if you get stuck behind a truck climbing a hill 20 kph is a good average …. and there are lots of hills and lots and lots of trucks! Speed is also restricted to 40 kph as you pass the road side Police bases and through towns where you suddenly encounter huge speed humps – no way you can miss the reduced speed limit – and there are also a series of toll barriers. At the start of our route, in Santa Caterina, the tolls were R$2.30 but as we crossed into Parana the tolls rockets to R$9 then R$12! I put it down to the increase in altitude although to be fair the toll roads did appear to be in a slightly better state in Parana, but only slightly! Once back onto the non-toll state roads they sometimes looked like they had been ploughed by the HGVs, leaving massive furrows in the tarmac! Then there are the pot holes, and the slightly less uneven repairs! But, even arriving an hour or so after dark, we made it in just over 9 hours, without incident, and on Friday the 13th!
The outstanding feature of the day was the scenery, but there were no places to stop to admire it; this was probably a good thing as we would have spent so long admiring it we’d never have got here! Once out of Joinville we were driving through dense Atlantic Forest which gradually thinned out as we climbed up the coastal mountains before reaching the rolling green hills of the Plateau. I think we climbed about 1000 metres but it seemed to be far more and even though it is called the Brazilian Plateau, this is far from flat being bisected with river valleys and hills.
Our route took us around Curitiba and Valeria planned a lunch stop in Santa Felicidade at an Italian restaurant called Madalosso.
Valeria used to travel via Curitiba for work 20 odd years ago and regularly stopped here for lunch; they have a set menu and you can basically eat all you want for about £15! It was a really good call.
The rest of the journey was uneventful, until it got dark, then the yellow paint they use for road markings, universally faded, almost disappears in the headlights – you effectively drive by braille, the road centre is marked by large non-reflective ‘cats eyes’ and the edge by broken tarmac …… that together with a lack of road signs made the last bit of the journey exciting!
But we got here to a really warm Dayse and Cleber welcome, warm except for the beer which was delightfully cold!