After over a week in the Pantanal we reluctantly left. We had all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves there and don’t believe we could have been luckier with the wildlife we saw. We reluctantly headed back into Cuiaba to resupply the truck.
Along our journey many people have recommended we should visit Bonito an area of outstanding beauty with crystal clear waters where you could snorkel with fish. Unfortunately Bonito was too far off our route but we had heard there was a similar place near Cuiaba that was only just becoming known. So off we headed to Bom Jardin. Unfortunately we could not find it on our maps but the guide book said it was near the town of Nobres which we could find on our map. When we got to Nonres we discovered Bom Jardin was still another 65km away. Undeterred we headed out that way. It was starting to get dark as we approached and we had no idea where to stay so we thought the best bet would be to turn up at the farm where you took the tour, book the tour and ask where we could stay.
Well, with it being a large farm it all turned out really easy. Of course we could just park up in the car park, so as it was now dark and we had just come down a dirt road this was an ideal solution. Sometimes things just really turn out for the best.
After a quiet night the next morning we headed out to the crystal clear pools and river. First stop was a beautiful pool where the water came out of the ground. Here we could snorkel in the amazingly clear waters with lots of fish all around. After that we were taken to an equally clear river where we gently floated down. The fish here were much bigger and it was a really pleasant hour just drifting in the water under the trees and watching the fish. Also as it is still really hot here it was nice been in the cool water.
After lunch we headed out and found a lovely spot by a lake to camp up for the night. There was a lovely breeze, although it was still 38°C, and plenty of freshwater so it was time to take care of the week’s washing again.
The next day we headed to a National Park, Park Chapada dos Guimaraes. The park has lots of waterfalls and sandstone cliffs and is quite spectacular. However it is quite hard to visit as to access most of it you need a guide. Also it was still so hot so doing much walking was out of the question. We were though able to visit the largest waterfall in the park and to admire the views back down to the Pantanal. The park is also meant to be the centre of South America been equidistant from both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and from the Northern and Southern tips of South America. The spot is probably not the exact spot and the mark is not exactly a major monument but the girls enjoyed standing on it.
As we could not find anywhere suitable to camp we decided to push on. With it been as hot as it is at the moment it is difficult to just park up somewhere for the day as you either need a pool to cool off in or some air conditioning. Baking in the sun is just not an option so we decided to hit the road. As we did a small rainstorm started. This had the effect of the temperature dropping from 37 degrees to 19 degrees and we loved driving with the windows open having all the cool air rush into the truck. However when we pulled in for the night the temperature was back over 30 degrees. That night was spent parked up with the truckers again at a fuel station.
We have not been able to buy a SIM card in Brazil as to buy one you need a Brazilian identity number, not something we have. This was introduced to make criminals more traceable. I wonder how successful this has been!
This has meant we need to use wifi. Most fuel stations have wifi but the one we stopped in that night didn’t. It was also not the nicest so the next morning we set off early. As the girls needed to do school we pulled in shortly after at another fuel station. This one was much nicer, in the countryside and as it was 8am all the trucks were on the road. It also had wifi so I was happy. It also had a couple of toucans in a tree so it was a bit different from the service stations on the M1 in England.
The rest of the day was a long drive to get to the colonial town of Cidade de Goias. As we were driving we hit a new temperature high on the trip as it registered 42 degrees in the shade. We are told that this is unseasonably hot for this time of the year. Unfortunately when we arrived in Cidade de Goias it was already dark. We do not like driving in the dark especially when we are looking for somewhere to stay. From the internet we understood there was a Pousada that allowed camping. After finally finding it, it was more of a day time pool place and the owner said he charged by the day so if we wanted to stay the night we would have to pay for 2 days. As it was already late and we would not be using any of the facilities that evening it was clearly ridiculous so we declined. Heading back into town we found a hotel with a small car park and thought we could see if we could park there. The owner could not have been more friendly. He said he thought we were too big for his car park but suggested we just park on front of his hotel as it was very safe so that’s what we did.
The next morning whilst the girls were doing school I set out to see if I could find somewhere else we could stay where we would also be able to relax during the hottest part of the day. I found a 1970s Soviet tropical style hotel (for those of you who know Prague, think a smaller version of Hotel Praha with palm trees), a big shaded car park and a lovely pool. Then I encountered my next problem. Gilly and my Spanish may not be the best but throughout Spanish speaking South America we have generally made ourselves understood. Brazil speaks Portuguese and we do not speak a word of it. So far very few people speak any English so been understood is pretty difficult. Some people say they speak a bit of Spanish but in all honesty when we have spoken in Spanish they make my Spanish speaking skills look pretty good.
So picture this. I turn up on foot at a hotel reception not wanting a room but wanting to ask if we can park our truck in their car park not speaking any Portuguese. Anyway it took a while and still we were no further along in understanding each other so I whipped out my ipad and just showed them photos. Off they went to get the manager and the end result was we could park up, use their internet and a pool so a great result. After paying him the manager said it also included breakfast, or at least I think that is what he said, maybe it is just coffee, we will see.
Cidade de Goias is our first Portuguese colonial town. We have visited lots of Spanish colonial towns but this was slightly different. The buildings were lower and it was very beautiful. We had a lovely walk around before stopping for lunch to sample the regional speciality Empedão a special pie. We also bought some of the local sweets which are crystallised fruits.
We headed out that evening for some more beers on the pretty square before having a nice dinner.