Train, Buses and Antonina ruins

typical Antonina old buildings with th facade still standing solidThis morning we caught the 8-15am Serra Verde Express which takes you from Curitiba down the mountain to Morretes. This is a train trip for the train enthusiast taking you through 13 tunnels, over viaducts and on top of virgin rainforest. It took 5 years to build in the 1800’s, designed to transport freight. It is still used for freight today but Curitiba has made this lovely passenger trip which can be done as a round trip in a day, with different carriage class. The standard one was all booked so we took tourist class which meant we had a snack, drink and guide as well as comfy seats.You can get another 3 classes above this.And we got a terrific guide who made a supreme effort to repeat everything she said in Portuguese to us in English just for our benefit.Today we rode through the mist and clouds, initially passing through the outskirts of Curitiba, through farmland and then into the mountains and forest. Deep ravines, dams, rivers and virgin forest make this a wonderful restful trip.Morretes is a tiny town, we had a 14R per person buffet lunch on a side street which was similar to yesterday, and headed off farewell for us passengers on the Santa Verde Expresson a local bus to Antonina. The buffets always include dark beans and rice, the beans being cooked in a beef broth arrangement. Antonina is a lovely little town set on a bay. Today we felt we didn’t have to constantly watch our backs, our money, who was where, and we walked around with a sense of safety and ease.The town is full of old buildings, very colourful, some almost ruins, sometimes just the facade, but preserved and artfully decorated. Streets are cobbled and we chose the most loveliest of places to stay set high in the hill with a view of the bay and mountains to the other side. Atlante is a pousada which is like a hotel but not. Imagine Fawlty Towers type of building and this is it. I can see in summer this place would be full and in the old days people would have come here to take the waters and get well with bracing sea air. So we wandered around town, along the waterfront, watched the guys fishing off the quay catch a fish while we had a coconut icecream, had a coffee and cake, and found out there is a festival going on.The Fantastic bus system throughout plaza opposite this place was full of children and young people playing games, folk dancing tonight, pop up bars and cafes, concerts, and all we could manage was half a concert and in bed by 9-30pm. All this translating, not understanding and walking is wearing us out.Now for those of you who love coffee my recommendation is if you are in Curratiba or Antonina, do NOT order cappuccino. This comes out as a foul concoction of chocolate powder, chocolate syrup, frothed sweet milk and possibly some coffee in there. Cafe de leit (say the t like the tch in witch) may be the best option.Tomorrow we go on an early bus back to Curatiba to catch a bus to Florinoplis. All one distance bus has to go through the capital.

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