We found a weird little campsite near the lake and barely pulled in under the low trees. Giant bromeliad and orchids grow right out of the moss. We woke up with screaming cicada’s on the bus. We packed up and were on the road by 9. It was a nice lake, though.
Up the road, around the second Lagoa Dos Barres, and we hit a Brazilian interstate for the first time. The BR-290. All for about 20 kms – with two toll booths. Then, we turned up into the mountains and headed up to 1000 m on the way to Gramado. This is apparently one of the few places where it snows in Brazil. It’s a possibility, anyway. Not in December, though. It’s almost 40°C (100°F). And, this is also the only place I’ve ever seen where hydrangeas grow like weeds.
There is a nice campground just outside of town, so we pulled in to find that we would be the only people here that haven’t built a house around our vehicle. This place seems to double as weekend homes for folks from Porto Alegre. Bode made fast friends and took off for the day – Portuguese phrasebook in hand.
We think met just about everybody here. We seemed to be a bit of a curiosity. People were not shy about walking up and staring at Red Beard or us for uncomfortably long periods without speaking. Many people speak German, but not much English. We threw out a few “oi‘s!” and engaged a few folks to talk a bit. It’s the only way we’re going to learn. We’re finding that listening/speaking the language is way harder than reading it. And, way harder than Spanish. Bode is already ahead of us.
We met Marcel, who fortunately for us, loves VW’s and speaks English. He’s got the sweet VW Karmann Safari bus. There is another one here too, and it didn’t take long to meet that guy either. Anyway, Marcel is planning a big trip and is waiting until his bus is absolutely perfectly restored. He’s pretty close. The thing is incredible. Two big beds. A bathroom! Two showers! A real kitchen! And, it’s just a VW bus with a stock 1600 engine. Apparently, these Karmann conversions were only made in Brazil, Germany, and Africa.
I think I want one.