The secret to discovering Brazil is to enjoy driving. Or to spend time in over-night buses. Of course, you can take a plane. But a couple of hours flight won’t reveal as much about this country – or more precisely the tiny area we visited – as driving on the asphalted and non-asphalted roads will.
One of the first images that ingrains itself is the one of roads. Long, straight roads cut through a country of slight green hills covered by forests (occasionally) farm land (frequently) and cities & villages (frequently as well).
The next one is the sheer width. All we did, to understate the endeavor, was to cross one federal state: Parana. It’s by no means the biggest state but it still takes 7-10 hours. Belgium, in comparison can be crossed in 4 hours; and that is the longer extend including a traffic jam in Brussels.
The remaining though not last image is the beauty of the country and of the people. While the cities are concrete nightmares, outside of them, the dominating colour is green. Even the coast in Parana has been preserved quite well (one might add: so far) and is not disfigured by story buildings. Last but not least are the people. Wherever we went, people were friendly, showed us the way, and asked about the where, from & tos.
The feeling I had was indeed that Brazil is a country where many people have foreign roots and are curious to learn more about newcomers no matter if they are de passage or likely to stay.Though, it really does help to speak Portuguese in order to have those conversations in the first place as English is by no means wide spread.
The two weeks we had went by way too fast. No wonder with the 3000 km we spent on the road. But, it is the perfect way to discover a country in which, hopefully, I’ll have more time to spend.