On word - RAIN - that is what we wake up to today and so we are in no hurry to get moving. It is the latest we have allowed ourselves to sleep in and it sure is nice to wake up in a room that is warm and we don't need pounds of blankets to survive. The rain puts a damper on our plans to see a little more of Porto Alegre before we head to our next destination. We have breakfast, check out, and off we head towards downtown to see the historic city market before leaving the city. After a short drive we arrive downtown and it is but with people everywhere. Most of the people are walking with umbrellas attempting to stay dry. After we circle around for about fifteen stay dry. After we circle around for about fifteen minutes looking for a parking spot without any luck. We decide the city market will have to wait until our next visit to Porto Alegre and so off we drive.
Today we are driving down BR 101 which brings us along the eastern coast of Brazil. OK - maybe not quite as close as Highway 1 along the California coast in the USA but if the weather was better and the sun was shining. The drive would be beautiful I am sure, but today I can only imagine. Sunny is not our luck and the drive is a little boring and I have to admit that I doze off from time to time. The good thing about dozing off is that we soon arrive in Florianopolis (our destination), a city with a population of approximately 400,000 located on the Island of Santa Catarina. I should say most of the city is on the island, as part of the it is on the main land and some on the surrounding small islands. I know you are probably curious about the history of the city and since it is raining and already late afternoon, there is not much more to share of our exploring so I will give a little history (thanks wikipedia once again).
Archeologists have found proof that the area was first inhabited by the Tupi people who were native to Brazil over 4,000 years ago. Settlement by Europeans began by Portuguese around 1514 and continued when the Bandeirantes came and explored the region. The city was located halfway between two of the largest seaside cities in South America of the time, Rio de Janiero and Buenos Aires. This made it a very important port and helped attracted businesses and immigrants and sparked growth. Then when the Federalist Revolt started in Rio Grande do Sul, it soon spread to the city (then named Desterro). During the revolt the city became the Federalist Capital of the Republic. After some time, Brazil contained the rebellion under the leadership of President Marechal Floriano Peixoto. He ordered the shooting of many people being held in the Anhatomirim Island Fortress who were considered enemies of the state at that time. In response, it is said that the people of the city then changed the name to Florianopolis to show loyalty to Brazil and President Floriano. Over time the city has changed and today it is known for it's beaches and tourism. People come from all over the world to vacation here.
Now you have a small history of Florianopolis, so I will take us back to today's journey. We cross over the bridge connecting the continent to the island and the connection between the city and tourism is apparent. The shoreline is filled with high end condos and hotels. It is late afternoon and raining so darkness is starting to set in early. Instead of finding a hotel right away we vote to take in the city market. I am sure our hunger played a part in this unanimous vote and I voice my desire to eat fish during our visit since we are so close to the ocean. We figure I should be able to find that in the market. The market is crowded with people, scurrying through the rain on their way to destinations unknown. Some quickly without anything over their heads and some a little slower under the cover of their umbrellas. The streets are simply beautiful with the people hurrying home for the evening all with the colonial buildings as a back drop. As I step into the Central Market I am hit by the strong aroma of fish. The market is full of vendors selling everything from fish and produce to clothes and home goods. Very eclectic like most of the street fairs I have visited and I consider searching for souvenirs. At one point I wonder if the clothing and trinkets purchased at the market would be saturated with this smell which is so strong. I decide not to make any souvenir purchases at this time. The mustard colored building which houses the market is U shaped with a patio in the middle for anyone who wants to grab a bite to eat. Today it is not very useful with the rain coming down. We spend some time looking around at the merchandise and have no luck finding food. It soon becomes time to find a hotel so we hop back in the car and cruise around awhile. Finally settling on a great hotel in the middle of the city. Room service lasagna is our dinner plan as a rainy travel day has made us tired and lasagna seems like an excellent comfort food option. It will surely be a good night sleep as the pelting rain on the balcony will help lull us to our dream zone. Oh yeah, the outside temperature has come up to a more comfortable climate. I am however disappointed that the forecast for tomorrow is more rain. I guess I will just have to wish for sun and see what happens. GOOD NIGHT!