It’s a long ride from Misiones, Argentina till the border. Once passed the border everything changes because this ain’t Argentina anymore… this is Brasil. A nation of superlatives if we talk distances. First we cross the plateau of Guarapuava. The altitudes here vary from 1200 to 900 meters. In this area the original vegetation (Tropical Forest and Araucaria Forest) almost no longer exists. In its place are plantations and pastures. Then the bus finds its way through the area of Ponta Gross, where the altitudes vary between 1200 and 300 meters. The relief is undulating and the vegetation is composed of Araucarias and fields. With the Araucaria Forest endlessly escorting us a long way through the plateau of Curitiba we climb again to altitudes between 1300 and 850 meters. A short stop at the state capital Curitiba and the ride continues leaving Paraná behind us and entering in the state of São Paulo. Although we have 861km behind us, we still have to cross the Serra Do Mar and do another another 417km. It’s this long ride that gives us the chance to get used to the idea that we are at the end of our particular Panamerican Highway journey. And how to end this travel better than a couple of relax days at our local friends Marcela and Antonio. After a 20 hours bus ride we arrive late in São Paulo so we stay the night there in a lovely high floor apartment with stunning night views of this colossal metropolis.
In a 12 million megalopolis as São Paulo pick your fights and only choose some of the things to do/see or do as us and just walk. Just walk this way and then that street and go right at this corner, cross Paulista Avenue at any pedestrian crossing and turn to the left at any other casual side street… loose and find yourself over and over again.
We simply love it. No stress with street maps or opening times of buildings. Suddenly we are walking in a street full of graffiti’s, stand before a church that once stood tall above all but now is overgrown by crystal skyscrapers or find ourselves gaping at the impresive São Paulo Metropolitan Cathedral. Or how about unexpectedly entering an underground bookstore astutely called: “Passagem Literaria Da Consolação”?
Nonetheless there are some things that a traveler must have done in São Paulo. Street markets are all over the city and offer an endless variety of products. Drink, at any time of the day, a Caipirinha in one of the overpopulated bars and feel the vibe of Brasil.
We try all tropical fruits we are able to as we might not find them again in other countries. Each corner offers something to try of São Paulo’s notorious street food, bites such as Coxinha, Pastel, Kibe, Mandioca Frita,… are cheap and keep us energized. It’s our perfect way to try a bit of everything! It’s our way to feel the essence of this vast city.