15-20.01.2022: From mountains, through vineyards, to lowlands
Guess what? We said goodbye to Brazil a couple of days ago. We have spent a month and a half enjoying our time with family and friends, and discovering many new places together. After Floripa, we’ve spent 10 days in Curitiba getting all the documents sorted out for our dear companion – Señor Cabrón Porsupuesto, the little car which will take us places in the next 5 months or so. So we decided to go South, and we went up the mountains.
Serra do Rio do Rastro is an impressive mountain range with its highest peak reaching almost 1500m. We stayed overnight in the city of Bom Jardim da Serra, placed right before the crazy curves of Serra lead you further South towards Rio Grande do Sul. A local told us that this city is the coldest place in Brazil, with temperatures lowering down to -10 degrees in winter. They even get 14cm of snow (in very cold winters). It’s a nice and peaceful little village which, besides magnificent views and beautiful waterfalls, also offers some great local cheese. Knowing that the weather gets quite tricky and cloudy after 10am in this region, we woke up super early and went sightseeing. A path pawed with hydrangea led us to this beautiful waterfall, one of many around.
But the best was yet to come. Driving towards Serra was nothing less of spectacular: 360 degrees views of this beautiful mountain offering many spots for walks, picnic, and hikes left us breathless. This is what we’re talking about:
There are many other activities one can do around here (e.g. quad excursions to canyons) but the drive down 10km of this curvy road was an adventure on its own. We were super lucky with the weather, maybe even too lucky; Cabrón Porsupuesto showed 44 degrees on the way. Our next stop was Bento Gonçalves, a small town in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. Lucky us, our friends Rafael and Brenda live in this beautiful place surrounded by vineyards. Travellers themselves (check their very informative and insightful blog Jornada Viva here), they decided to settle down in Bento Gonçalves and enjoy everything this place has to offer. And it has one of the best things: wine! Rafael and Brenda even produce their own and we had a chance to taste their 2021 Pinot Noir – it was delicious! Besides, we even had a chance to help a tiny bit with the production of the 2022 pinot (which we named Pinot Guto for fun). They promised to deliver the wine to Luxembourg once its ready, and we cannot wait to try it.
Rafael and Brenda took us to the most amazing places around their town; we went to two wineries and one brewery but the best tastings were, however, at Rafael and Brenda’s place, enjoying not only wine but also amazing conversations. As Rafael said, “the best wine is the one shared with friends.” Wise man. Brazilian wine was not something i knew anything about, but now we got a chance to see where the grape comes from and luck to have Rafael (who is enologist) who explained very well how the wine production works. Thank you guys for having us. We slept, ate and drank so well at your place. See you soon in Luxembourg for that Pinot Guto tasting 😉
We wanted to stay longer with these guys but we were also very very excited to continue our trip and explore another country. So, we started driving towards Uruguay. We stopped for a quick drink in Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul, before heading further south. But Porto Alegre was 42 degrees difficult to sightsee, so the only thing we could do was having a quick drink, and rush back to the car. We did take this one cheesy picture on the left, though.
Our next stop on the way to Uruguay was Pelotas, a city placed more or less half way between Bento Gonçalves and Barra de Valizas, our first stop in Uruguay. Pelotas gave us an amazing sunset and gauchos riding horses on the beach as a goodbye present from Brazil.
The next day we have finally arrived to Uruguay and we already have many stories to tell… but we’re saving those for the next post 🙂