Destinations Magazine

Morretes, Brazil

By Musictravels @musictravelsweb

Having spent the morning in the company of Guto, sampling some locals foods and drinks (non-alcoholic at this point – it was still early guys!) we had managed to establish the theme for the day (and it transpired – most of the time we spent in Brasil) – food, as Guto and his quite simply; lovely family, were taking me to a town approximately 65km away from Curitiba called ‘Morretes’.

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On our journey to date we had experienced some particularly wondrous drives through an array of varying scenery, from The Great Ocean Road in Australia, the West Coast of New Zealand through to the seemingly contradictory deserts (what do you mean ‘cold desert’?!) of Chile and Bolivia and we were about to experience another astonishing drive as to get to Morretes from Curitiba; the most popular route is through The Atlantic Forest.

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In a colossal admission of ignorance; we didn’t have any idea that such a forest existed in Brasil. When most people think of the interior of Brasil, they probably conjure up images of the Amazon Rain forest and we wonder how many people actually know, or have researched at least, just where this giant of a terrain is located. What they may not know is that a second forest exists in Brasil, located along the Southern coastline which is one of the most important habitats in the world for endemic species of plant and animal life – this being the Atlantic Forest.

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With our very own, well-educated, tour guide, Guto was driving and providing a highly interesting commentary about some of the unique species to the forest and as we ventured slightly deeper into the forest; moving closer to the coastline, the drive became even more exhilarating and a delightful surprise. The roads were cobbled in places, in fact; for quite a significant portion of the drive, and there was a strange familiarity accompanied with a new terrain – reminiscent to the cobbled streets in some of the old towns in the UK but in surroundings that were genuinely quite alien to us when you looked at the details of these unfamiliar plants. What an amazing drive this was turning out to be.

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Arriving in the town of Morretes we were greeted with a traditional Portuguese church which acted almost like a welcoming committee and an ambassador to the abundance of fellow traditional Portuguese buildings, giving a real sense of culture and of tangible development from early settlements to the major Cities such as Curitiba. Although the buildings were old, the town still had a vibrancy of color which lifted the spirits, in fact it pretty much echoed the Brazilian people we had met so far – a real energy, almost infectious, about them.

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Arriving in the town of Morretes we were greeted with a traditional Portuguese church which acted almost like a welcoming committee and an ambassador to the abundance of fellow traditional Portuguese buildings, giving a real sense of culture and of tangible development from early settlements to the major Cities such as Curitiba. Although the buildings were old, the town still had a vibrancy of color which lifted the spirits, in fact it pretty much echoed the Brazilian people we had met so far – a real energy, almost infectious, about them.

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The restaurant we were heading for was located right on the river, literally, as when we took our seats the balcony looked out over the water in a beautiful setting. The decor was traditional, simple, and helped set a great atmosphere for the eating of food, that along with my rather huge appetite coming back into play once more. Guto ordered several dishes but the main one; a traditional dish of this area, was called ‘Barreado’; a slow-cooked meat stew prepared in a clay pot which lends favour to the name as it means ‘muddied’ in Portuguese. (Is that right our Brazilian friends?) The stew is served with banana pieces and cassava flour which, when mixed with the stew, forms a sticky gravy, providing a unique texture, to our pallet at least – very tasty and big in flavor. In truth, we were a little bit lost as to the etiquette of eating in Brasil as the dishes were served in a communal manner. We were waiting patiently for a plate of food, a single order, to be placed in front of us, but for the most part, food in Brasil is served to share and although not completely uncommon in the UK, it tends to be the norm in Brasil as opposed to the exception; to share food – a concept we warmed to very quickly indeed (once we got over the British pomp and ‘manners’ of letting everyone else take their share first) as it truly does make eating a social experience.

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With another new taste in our systems, we decided to take a walk round the small town and it was delightful. Although there were a fair few people around, there was never a sense of being rushed or uncomfortable in seas of people. The gentle nature and atmosphere that the town evoked passed on to the crowds as people socialised and interacted and took on a similarly gentle and relaxed pace of life; something that was welcomed after such a hearty meal.

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After feeding the fish with Francisco and indulging in a dessert…banana flambé…it was time to head back to Curitiba. This was an absolutely lovely afternoon and if you do find yourself in the area; makes sure you take a trip to Morretes. If you don’t have a ‘President-to-be’ as your guide and host, one of the most popular means of transport from Curitiba is to take the train which carves through the Atlantic Forest and offers some truly stunning views. What a beautiful little town – made all the better with fantastic company.


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