Thursday, June 11, 2015


Thursday was the holiday Corpus Cristi, but many took off work Friday as well to make a four-day weekend. We took this as an opportunity to go to Curitiba with the Halls. We took a taxi to the bus station Wednesday night for a 11:57 pm bus ride to Curitiba. I think everyone in São Paulo was at the bus station trying to get out of town. The bus was full and took about 8 hours instead of 6 hours because of the traffic.

We got to Curitiba about 8 am on Thursday and walked to the Victoria Villa Hotel, a couple of blocks from the bus station. It was too early to check in, but we made arrangements to get into our rooms by buying breakfast at the hotel.

We then went for a walk around Curitiba, going as far as Plaça Tiradentes in the center of town. Most of the stores were closed for the holiday. Brazilians love their holidays.

Old train station of Curitiba
Fountain in the park
Another fountain in another park
In the afternoon we caught a bus to the temple. In Curitiba they have tubes for bus stops. You get in the tube, pay your money, wait for the bus (nice for rainy weather) and get of the bus through sliding doors.

The tube
We were watching where to get off the bus when Victor, a young man on the bus asked if we were going to the temple. He and his friend (also named Victor) are waiting for their mission calls. They got off the bus with us and walked us to the temple.

Victor and Victor
We really enjoyed the peacefulness of the temple. After the session we talked to President Oliveira (1st Counselor in the temple presidency) who served in São Borja on his mission.
At the Curitiba Temple
Curitiba Temple
We were all tired after we got back from the temple so we went to the "Shopping" and had dinner at Maredo, "Best Burgers in the World".
Waiting for our food
We had a nice breakfast every morning with lots of pastries (I could eat the pão de quejo), fruits, and even scrambled eggs.
They learned this trick from Arches NP
We then went on a train ride through the Mata Atlántica to the nice tourist town of Morretes. 

On the train
We really enjoyed the scenery on the 4-hour ride through the mountains.

Lake with mountains in the distance
She'll be coming around the mountain
Lots of water
More water
Mountain range
São João bridge
When we got into Morretes we were taken to a restaurant where they served Barreado and fish, regional delicacies. Barreado is a shreaded-meat soup served with rice and farrofa (it replaces the beans in beans and rice).  They made some fish without using flour for me.

We then had a nice stroll through town. It was touristy, but nice.

Window shopping
To enter bring joy, to leave leave memories
Let's go fishing
Let's monkey around
Big wheels
Flowers of the Mata Atlántica
The tour included a bus ride back to Curitiba.

I hope the bus is fixed before we go
We stopped in the historic village of Antonina on the coast. There was a small choir practicing in an old church. The long reverberation time of the church made it sound nice.
The church
Overlooking the coastline
The bus stopped at a small rest stop about half way across the mountains.

Snack time - fried bananas
Extracting juice from sugar cane
We were tired enough when we got back that we ate dinner at the hotel.

During breakfast on Friday a young couple greeted us. They arte members of the church from São Paulo visiting Curitiba for a convention.
Mormons everywhere
On Saturday we took a tour on the Linha Turismo, a double decker bus that goes around to 25 different sights in Curitiba. We can get off at any 4 of the sights then get back on the bus for more. Being a holiday weekend the bus was very crowded, but it was fun to see the city from the top.

Our first stop was Jardim Botánico. It was a beautiful park with a formal garden, a glass greenhouse, and a nice lake. We spent enough time there we were short of time on other stops.
In front of the glass greenhouse
Inside the glass greenhouse
A view of Curitiba across the formal gardens
Our second stop was Bosque Alemão, a German grove with the trail of Joãozinho e Maria (Hanzel and Gretel). It had a tall tower with a city overlook (we walked down from the top, not up), the witch's house, and other surprising things.

The tower
The witch's oven
Watch out for the snake!
Tower of Philosophers
We next went to see Ópera de Arme, a glass opera house in the middle of the woods.

Anyone for opera?
We were hoping to have lunch at Santa Felicidade, an Italian village, but by the time we got there it was past 2 pm and we needed to return. We rode past the other sights so we were able to see them from the bus.

Memorial Ucraniano
We got back to the hotel in time to grab our luggage and walk to the bus station for a 5 pm bus. Unlike the bus to Curitiba, the return bus to São Paulo was almost empty. We had a nice, comfortable ride with a dinner stop about half way along. As we were approaching São Paulo I was watching the GPS on my iPhone and noticed the highway went right past our apartments. I talked to the driver who let us off right at our apartments instead of having to go downtown to the bus station and taking a taxi ride home.

Sunset from the bus
We had another training session on Sunday afternoon, but this time it was for the São Paulo West council and the training was right in our own building. After all the travel, it was nice to be home for the training.

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