Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Day 13: Cachoeira Paulista to Cunha
Our longest day - 84km! From Cachoeira Paulista to Guarantingueta the road was more or less level and we still felt fresh and motivated when a few km after Guarantingueta the climb started. The Estrada Real follows the tramac for some km, then diverts into an earth road for some while, gets back to the tarmac... But traffic is calm so even on the tarmac you can enjoy the beautiful landscape!
When we left the tarmac for the second time in direction of Paiol, the earth road climbs up to about 1100m. We did pretty well but for the last 50m of altitude we pushed the bikes. My knees and Flavios backside were still suffering from the two long days in Minas. Anyhow the beautiful view from the top of the Serra da Cunha compensated us for the pain and toil and a farmer we met on the way encouraged us that after the peak ´todos os santos ajudam ´ - literally ´all saints help´. And he was right, once you have passed the peak a long descent makes you forget the steep climb. Some more climbs follow but nothing really to worry about. We made it to Cunha just before it got dark - and started to rain.
There are heaps of pousadas but most are a bit out of the center. We finally found one, the ´Estalagem Primavera´. The room was cheerful and clean but the ´dono´, speaking with a strong paulista accent and dressed in flullblown cowboy outfit somehow spoilt the fun. He asked us to pay the R$50 for the two of us even before checking into the room. In my opinion this is unprofessional, unpolite and hints that there is something wrong with the place... and I was right - the water in the shower wouldn´t get any warmer then lukewarm, the rooster (bearing ressemblance to the cowbow in his behaviour) started to crow at around 5am and the breakfast was very poor.
After unpacking our stuff we went out in search of an ´lan house´ and a pizzeria. Cunha seems to close down at sunset - maybe because everybody wakes up at 5am due to the rooster and there is not much to do. We were happy when we found a ´lan house´ that was still open and enjoyed a fairly good pizza. Flavio only kept on complaining about the paulista accent which even for a foreigner is not the most charming one. Another reason for getting to Paraty as soon as possible :-)