A final visit to the center of Curitiba
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Destination Curitiba, capital of the state of Paraná.
The final day in Curitiba: visiting the center, obtaining the final impressions of this vibrating city.
Our stay in Curitiba ended after three days. A large part of the students had attended the student congress, and had stayed in the university campus: their had their improvised lodging there. I had joined a smaller group, who preferred more peace and comfort in a hostel This hostel, named ‘Roma’, is located at Praça Tiradentes, at a stone’s throw from Shopping Estação. I shared one room with three students. I have positive memories of this hostel. We had frequented the shopping every day, to have some fast food, or to buy some stuffs. One of the most striking things that I observed there, was a stand where the visitor could obtain a plastic bag to guard the umbrella. It enables you to walk around with a wet umbrella without wetting your clothes or shoes, the floor of the shopping mall and other visitors. Amazing!
At day, we tried to visit as many touristic locations as possible in Curitiba. We made use of the Jardineira, the white tourist bus,which runs along 25 touristic locations. A combination ticket allows you to chose a number of locations, where you can leave the bus and embark again. We also made use of the bi-articulate buses, which follow a fixed track that also included the famous Botanical Garden. For other locations, and at night, we shared a taxi. The taxi rate was surprisingly low. We spent the nights with the other students, we attended the student parties in the campus. Unfortunately, these parties were somewhat disappointing, that was our general impression. I was part of a group of seven students who went out together. Even with my Portuguese far from fluent, they all had much patience with me, and in turn they took advantage of my broad travel experience: for instance, how to obtain much touristic information in an efficient way, how to read travel schedules, how to interpret and how to locate city maps.
We visited Curitiba at the end of April. In Belo Horizonte, it is already becoming somewhat colder and drier, at the end of the the warm raining season, but the temperature is then still about 25 degrees centigrade. The temperature will not drop below 15 degrees at night. However… Curitiba is widely known as a cold and a wet city. In summer there may be some hot days, but in winter… Many Brazilians from the warmer northern regions avoid to visit the capital of the state of Paraná in winter. Curitiba is located at an altitude of more than one kilometer; the air appears to be somewhat thinner, and the wind may provide you a cold feeling. The students wore winter coats, scarfs, gloves, and hats. at a temperature of about fifteen degrees centigrade. I did not wear gloves, but I wore an extra coat, in order to protect myself against the cold wind and the cold rain.
We spent our final day in the center of Curitiba, as I already have described in the previous episodes. We jointly traveled to the historical center, where we marked a fixed time and location around midday. Then we would have our lunch together. The group was split in smaller groups, and each followed a different route through the center, to see what was of their interest. To stroll along the numerous stands with handicraft, or to visit a great number of shops, or in my case, to explore the city in order to obtain as much impressions as possible. To visit the locations of interest and to take pictures of them. To observe the center with my gringo eyes. The city map was my personal guide, and I selected a route that I could walk, and return on time. I kept my pace, and I was on time at the location we had marked before. To my positive surprise, everyone was on time! Not really a Brazilian habit! We searched for a cheap restaurant, which we found rather quickly.
After lunch, we still had enough time to walk through the center and to walk back to our hostel. The weather was much better this morning, it was really nice to walk around. In sharp contrast with the crowded historical center, the shopping center was almost deserted. Only a handful of bars and restaurants were open, where another handful of tourists had taken their seats on the terraces. We almost arrived at the hostel, when we heard noises of shouting and screaming. At about five hundred meters, there was a long queue with men waving enormous flags. This crowd was almost completely surrounded by the military police, and their slow moving cars. The flashing lights threw their red beams around. The crowd consisted of supporters of soccer club Coritiba, they were on their way to the stadium of their arch rival: Atlético Paranaense. A classic soccer derby.
Less than two hours later, we were on the highway, on the way back to Belo Horizonte, via the city of São Paulo. A bus travel, which lasted fourteen hours. The students who stayed in the campus, were exhausted. It was really quiet in the bus. The bus ride lasted the final part of the afternoon, the complete evening and night. At dawn, we arrived in Belo Horizonte, just in time before some of the students had to start their working hours. It was already Monday morning…
Typical ‘tubes’ where passengers can embark
the bi-articulate buses. Tickets can be obtained
at the entrance.
By Adriano Antoine Robbesom
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