05 March 2010

An Island Surprise

Again and again we are reminded that our happiness is heavily influenced by our expectations. We were  disappointed at the lack of environmental responsibility and camping possibilities at Ilha Grande, even though the island is advertised as eco-tourism. In Sao Paulo, we were pleased with the lively culture, friendly people and cleanliness of a city bigger than anything I had been to previously. And now, we have been pleasantly surprised by Florianopolis, which we thought would be a generic beach town.

Throughout Argentina, we saw advertisements enticing people to relax on the gentle beaches of Florianopolis. Thus, I thought it'd be an elitist resort town with nothing more than sand and palm trees. What we found, however, is a peaceful island with normal working-class people and lots of great hiking. The old part of Florianopolis had a few gems, as seen in the photos below. The northern part of the island is chock full of resorts, but the excellent public bus system makes it easy to explore the rest of the island. Vibrant towns dot the coast. The hiking was fantastic and we didn't see any other travelers.  It helped that the summer tourist season was over and we went to the least visited part of the island. We could have easily spent two weeks hiking around, but unfortunately were limited to less than two days.

A giant fig tree that spanned the entire block of the central plaza.

The fancy interior of a 19th Century building-turned-history museum. Well worth the $1 entry fee.

We are good at making animal friends. Anybody know why the left claw is so much bigger than the right? We noticed this on every crab we saw.

Dense vegetation along the trail.

Yes, another dog that followed us for HOURS while we hiked. As Kristin said, at least we don't attract homeless people like we attract dogs.

After the rain . . .

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating, I did not think you'd like Sao Paolo at all. But what amazing hosts you had! I also loved SP... stayed with a paulistano friend too. Otherwise, I probably would have hated it :) It must be a lot of work arranging your schedule to meet with friends, but obviously well worth it -- your experiences are so different from anything in the travel books. Hey you guys should be writing your own travel books!