After about ten days just enjoying the laid back coolness of Floripa I headed to the Brazillian state of Paraná and the tiny enclave of Morrettes, a small town in the jungle between Curitiba, on the high plains and Paranagua on the Atlantic Ocean. Getting there is rather fun as I take the Ruta Graciosa which is a rock and cobble-stoned winding road of endless switchbacks as it climbs down through the jungle toward the ocean. Morretes sits still high above the water along a river in the jungle.
The road to Morretes is called Camino Graciosa, which comes from the name of the mountain range you wind down through switchback after switchback making the descent to the town through the jungle. As the road straigtens and gets closer to town roadside stands sell tropical fruit, sugar cane products and more.
Famous for a rich and hearty dish called Barreado, a spiced meat stew that cooks with cumin, beef, salt pork, onions and more for 24 hours in a sealed clay pot. The meal is prepared table side with additional ingredients including banana, flour, other spices and vegetables. The waiter mixes the flour and beans with some bananas to make a solid base. She explains that when you can pour this base into a bowl and hold it upside down without anything falling out, it’s ready. Then the stew is poured on top. Top this with a variety of breads and wash down with some cheap Brazilian wine and you’ve got a meal that won’t leave you for a few days.
Instead of riding from Morrettes to São Paulo, I choose to take a train that winds through the jungle to the capital of Paraná, Curitiba. Sitting on the high plains (altoplano) Curitiba had a difficult geographical challenge in the 1800’s — it was in the middle of nowhere and difficult to get to often taking more than two days to get goods made or harvested around Curitiba to the port of Antonia — only 50 miles away. So in 1885 an investment group built a train that winds through 13 tunnels and 67 bridges through the jungle down to the Atlantic Ocean. It still serves commerce purposes but a tourist business allows world riding motorcyclists to cruise the jungle and see canyons, lowlands, forests and foliage that I didn’t see on the road to Morrettes. Getting Doc on the train was a bit of challenge but not unsurmountable.
After a night in Curitiba which included a hosted visit to a Samba dance hall by the motorcycle riding receptionist of my hotel and his friend, I rode to São Paulo.