Ihla de Santa Catarina (Santa Catarina Island) is home to the capital of the Brazillian state that bears its name. Florianopolis, or Floripa as the locals call it, is really Santa Catarina island, though the city spreads to the mainland (the continent). The island has something for everyone. Beaches and bays shielded from the Atlantic ocean to the North are calm and perfect for swimming, while beaches to the east and south are famous the world over for surfing. The center of the island is green and full of a diverse ecosystem of flora and fauna. There are dunes, rivers, lakes and lagoons on this island. There’s even a section that is desert or otherworldly like.
On the west side of the island in Sambuqui where the powerful waves of the ocean are protected by a bay, oyster beds line the coast and restaurants like this haul them in and serve fresh seaside. These were the most amazing, tasty and fresh oysters I’d ever enjoyed. Yummy!
My friends Laura and Cezinha, who want to start a restaurant with me in California!
Note the oyster beds in the background toward horizon.
Fresh fish with a shrimp sauce and all the fixens and a nice salad made for a main course worthy of following those incredible oysters.
It was here that I started to really feel the Brazilian hopitality and friendliness that I was “warned” about. In Praia dos Ingleses I treated myself to long walks along the beach where once again I was the only person taking residence in a very luxurious but economical hotel. Firsherman perform daily shows as they pull and push their boats to sea. Washing my motorcycle at a gas station I encountered a fellow motorcyclists who insisted I come to his house — then and now! I left my bike to the cleaning crew and found myself sitting in his kitchen while he cooked a four-course lunch meal for me and his son. The two hour visit included photographs of us but sadly I didn’t have my camera and to date his son, who promised to send me photos, has yet to follow up. I remember his name, Lindamar — very easy cause it means beautiful sea. But the man was so genuine, and wanted to ensure that I’d never forget Ingleses or his hospitality that he showered me with gifts that he I couldn’t accept but he refused to take back. He gave me a book in Portuguese, six Portuguese music CDs, a flask, keychain and a big hug.
Vista of Lagoa Concecão – note the sand dunes. The island is amazing in its diversity.
There are restaurants on the Lagoa Concepcão that are only reachable by boat or hiking — also serving fresh seafood.
Later in the week I moved to Lagoa da Conceição where at a pizza joint I met Cezarinha and Laura. We chatted acorss the room during our meal. Ironically, later in the evening at a tony night club we met again. This 2nd encounter paved the way for a series of three days of good food, drinks, jokes and conversations that won’t soon be forgotten. Perhaps the highlight was an invitation to a traditional Brazilian “Fejuoada”, a typically Sunday fiesta that combines samba music, dancing, beer and a the tradiitional food that includes beans as the staple and use pork, sausages and other meats in a hearty stew like meal. Up to now, this party atmosphere symbolizes the Brazilian spirit of enjoying life with friends and family in a day long party.