Foreigner in Brazil (47)
Experiences of a Dutchman living in Belo Horizonte, since December 2004, from month to month.
April 2007, part four: A visit to the northern part of Santa Catarina Island; visiting a fortress and witnessing a magical sunset.
After having finished our lunch, we went to the bus terminal. Vítor suggested to go to Jurerê, to the north of Santa Catarina Island. Jurerê is located at about thirty kilometers from downtown Floripa. The bus route was along the green hills, and it took about one hour to reach Jurerê. Near Jurerê, we noticed various luxury mansions: it wouldn’t surprise us what some rich people from the city of Florianópolis would possess such a house as their second home.
As we were already expecting, Jurerê Beach was almost deserted at the late afternoon hour. The sun was about to set, the sky already showed some faint pink colors. Vitór suggested to visit the nearby fortress, we followed the direction indicated by various road signs. We came along the ruins of what was once a battery. The battery served as part of a complex defense system, which also included the fortress. Now we only observed some rocks and remains of what once appeared to be a thick wall, surrounded by lush, green grass.
Fortaleza São José da Ponta Grossa
The entrance gate to the fortress was only a few hundred meters away. We were just in time, before the closing hour. We paid the entrance fee and entered the fortress complex. This fortress, named São José da Ponta Grossa, is quite well maintained. We noticed the thick walls, with battlements at the corners. These battlements, with narrow vertical peepholes, were very narrow; we imagined that it was impossible for a sentry to fall asleep in there: due to the lack of space, the sentry could only doze when still standing on his feet. Inside the complex, there was also a small chapel and a main building, which was built for the commander of the fortress. Both buildings were located on the top of a hill. The barracks and the facilities for the soldiers were located at the foot of that hill.
A small museum exhibited various objects that were found within the complex. We observed ceramics from England, Portugal, and even from Holland. Various utensils from past centuries. And a mannequin which was dressed as a Portuguese marine from the eighteenth century. Various cannons were positioned at strategic location in the complex, with their barrels aimed at the Brazilian mainland. Other cannons, located on the mainland and on tiny islands between Santa Catarina Island and the mainland, had their barrels aimed in opposite direction. Any enemy who was about to enter this region, would not escape the crossfire from the Portuguese defenders. The system of fortresses and batteries was constructed in a reaction to the short-term Spanish invasion of the island, late eighteenth century.
The setting sun had almost reached the horizon. The sky was now filled with pink and red hues. The shadows of the bushes and cannons served as prefect objects for interesting sunset pictures. A colorful sunset, in which the red hues gradually alter into purple and blue hues. Vítor and I walked to the nearby beach, Praia do Forte. We stayed there until it was completely dark, at six o’ clock. We then returned to the bus stop and waited patiently for the bus, which would stop near the hyper shopping mall. From there, we would walk the final kilometers to the university campus.
Missing the boat ride
It was already eight-thirty when we arrived in the campus. We had arrived just too late to participate in an boat excursion. The other students already had left by bus. The next morning, they told us that they had enjoyed that trip on the party boat very much. Did we really regret about that? No, because we had witnessed the magic of a breathtaking sunset. A magical sunset which we will remember forever.
Some pictures of the magical sunset:
By Adriano Antoine Robbesom