Thursday, May 27, 2010

Visiting historic Paraty

Following 5 days in Trindade we took a local bus up to Paraty, an historic colonial town founded in 1667 (although the quiet harbor area is thought to have been first discovered in 1531). There is a well preserved historic district that features 25 (little) square blocks of historic buildings and ankle-twisting boulder paved roads. It is a beautiful town.

By coincidence we were there at the time of the “Festival of the Divine Holy Spirit.” In addition to Catholic religious ceremonies unique to the occasion, there were dozens of great food and drink booths set up in the main square, plus a huge stage with live entertainment nightly. Lucky us to have chanced upon a big public party.

Paraty is rather known for its monthly festivals and events – they keep the pousadas and restaurants full!

Luiz spent a few days in Paraty last August and had found a sweet little pousada with an even sweeter proprietress, so once we arrived we set out to find her hideaway and secure a room. Jane, our hostess, remembered Luiz instantly. After they exchanged hugs and kisses and we all cooed over her 6 month old grandson, she gave us her best room.

Everything was great: the room, the amenities and of course the breakfast! If you are ever looking for a pousada in Paraty VERY NEAR the historic district (at 1/3 the price of pousadas within the district) check out Pouso Mel de Liz.

One new find this time around was a beach bar and self-described “World Music Club” in Jabaquara (the northern district of Paraty). It was great. The owner had just moved back to Paraty with his wife after running a pousada in Trancoso (great town in Bahia) for the past 14 years. His little beach bar was truly a little corner of Trancoso. Great vibe.

New to me, although Luiz had been there before some 30 years ago, was a visit to the “Big Tobagan.” It is a huge sloping waterfall that you can slide down (when the weather is warmer). While we visited the river/waterfall we were fortunate to be there when a proud local came to “surf” the waterfall. Great to watch, but I won’t be trying that any time soon.

Finally, our favorite thing unique to Paraty (although the fine restaurants with live music are a close second), was the Grupo Contadores de Estórias adult puppet theater. If you go to Paraty you absolutely MUST see their work, performed in a tiny 100 person theater space. The puppetry is ‘direct manipulation’ by masters draped in black. The scenes are universal in their charm and performed without words, just music. This company has performed all over the world. We were THRILLED that the company had just returned from Spain so we could see them again. Performances are on Wednesday and Saturday only.

Here is a brief video from their website where two old folks are flirting. Although the video is halting at times you get the feel. The actual performance is accompanied by music only, without lyrics. Check it out.


Heather said...

We definitely want to go sans kids sometime so we can see the adult puppet show. Such a unique culturual thing, it drives me batty that we've had to miss it so far.

You got some gorgeous photos, though! Paraty is one of our favorite places.

Jim said...

Thanks for the cudos on the photos. I just carry a simple Cannon point and shoot. But Picasa helps me look my best.

It's hard not to get beautiful shots when you are in Paraty!

DRL said...

Nice post! I need to go to that waterfall slide.

baresytapas said...

I came to this place by chance, but I found very interesting. Greetings to all the people who visit this page.