Anisia, and Sara from Floripa, suggested that we take the tourist train from Curitiba to Morretes and we followed her advice on Sunday, 26th.
The ‘Serra Verde’ Express is the old train which runs from Curitiba to the town of Paranaguá through the Pico do Marumbi Park. The penultimate stop is Morretes and Anisia and Juliana arranged to meet us there when the train arrived.
One thing the Serra Verde Express is not, is an Express. I think this may be a translation issue or a bit of touristic licence. For much of the journey it is painfully slow which you would think would give you plenty of time to admire the scenery ….. but again, not so much.
The line runs through the Atlantic Forest and you can’t really cut that down to give tourists stunning views and so we had to make do with ‘glimpses’ between the trees. The tour guide in our carriage knew exactly where these were and made sure we had plenty of warning, but there was a definite air of ‘blink and you’ll miss it’.
We also had the worst seats in the carriage, right at the front giving us a ringside seat to a wall bearing a notice reminding you not to put your head out of the window! Being at the front of the carriage also meant we were sat within 1 metre of the Guide, who really didn’t need the microphone he was using. The journey was about 3 hours long and he ‘talked’ for about 2 and half of them, only stopping to bring round souvenirs he was selling. Very knowledgable and informative, but loud. “Meu Deus de Ceu! PARE!” Oh, and bring a cushion, and possibly a hard hat and eye protection — at one point you have to close the windows as a defense against possible stone throwers, like the glass is shatter-proof!
But apart from the seats, the guide, the missiles and the trees it is probably the best way to see the Serra Verde. There are roads going through the Forest, but you don’t get any of the views the train briefly affords. And on the road you can’t stop and admire them!
Serra Verde from the train
When the train arrived in Morretes Anisia and Juliana were there to meet us to take us for a very enjoyable walk around the old town.
Morretes dates from around 1760 and was built around the church of St Benedict and has a very traditional feel to it. It is a pretty riverside town with brightly painted buildings and is very popular with locals who come to swim in the river. It was really pleasant to walk around a soak up the atmosphere.
But that wasn’t the end of the day. Anisia then took us down to the coast to visit the picturesque Ponta da Pita and the small town of Antonina. Both are on the western shore of the Baia de Paranaguá and rounded off the day nicely.
Antonio and Ponta da Pita
The Serra Verde Express, despite the caveats, was worth the discomfort and Morettes is a lovely little town, typical of what I think of as ‘real’ Brazil. We’re so grateful to Anisia and Ju for the day!