Natal is a small city compared to the rest of the well known big cities in Brazil. It is so called because the Portuguese founded on Christmas Day of 1599. Our planned destination was Recife, but seeing shortages this city and the lack of time to reach our flight to Belém the 29th, we decided to go straightforward to Natal, by a brief stop of three hours in Recife´s bus station … Another night in those magnificent Brazilians transports and another night we saved accommodation.
We arrived rather early; they are barely 5:30 am. There is only an open canteen in the Rodoviara and they are asking us an awful lot of money for a “waking” coffee. We take just one to share. Before leaving the terminal we bought bus tickets that will take us to Fortaleza, and of course again, traveling at night.
We don´t have any hostel booking, but so far we didn´t have problems to find accommodation… so we trust in the couple of addresses in our pockets. The instructions to go to the hostel seemed clear: “Take the 66 bus to the Mall of Punta Negra …”, problems starts when we ask about the bus stop “That bus is not the right, you should take the 30” Another person says “No, don’t´ take the 30, is the 36 and then 46” ????????? Shit!! What a mess!! There are another couple of backpackers at the stop, let’s see if they know how to get their hostel. We have no booking so we don´t mind one hostel or another. Shit again!!! They are even more lost than us. They are Israelis and “nao falan portugues”, we handled it quite well with the Portuguese. Finally we decided to share a taxi, a big one to fit our huge backpacks. We arrived!!! And with available beds!!! We’re going to buy some food and then to the famous beach of Natal. We deserve it!
Our hostel is quite close to the promenade, the beach is very long with golden sand. Some tremendous dunes flanking both ends, we take a walk to a giant dune at the background. It is amazing !! Lots of shops, restaurants and bars occupy the premises of the walk and thousands of sun umbrellas with tables and chairs waiting for someone to sit or order a drink. After a refreshing bath and a long walk we sat in one of them, quietly, to flee sunbeams. Oh oh !! It seems the tide is rising, “we are sinking, sweetheart!!” Jejeje, beach beer… it´s cool.
With water to the ankles while we are drinking our beer, we seem that kind of tourist all-inclusive sitting and petrified at the bar of the hotel pool … Nooo waaayyy, just kidding. Ups! It started to rain and the boys of the bars are removing all beach stuff, which means it will not stop. It´s better we come back to the hostel to eat something. Although it´s a little bit late, chicken with tomatoes is quick to make.
We get up early in the hostel La Republika and whilst having breakfast we confraternice with some colombian friends. They are from Medellín, really nice people!! They are happy to get our impressions of their country … Sure!!! Because we love Colombia!! Coooome on, stop chatting, time flies and we must see the famous fortress of the Three Wise Men (i.e. our Three Magi kings who bring presents to children in Christmas). Beware with the Magi as they have here a fortress with guns and everything!!!!! The 54 bus leaves us “close” to the fortress, we were told at reception … Not at all!!! A walk of 50 minutes is NOT NEAR and under a blazing sun much less. Well, everything is worthy to see one of the seven Brazilian wonders. Well, at the end we didn´t like the fort itself, it´s not very well maintained. However the views were fine, we enjoyed the great bridge entering to town and its adjacent beach, full of kite-surfers.
Some time on the beach, watching people around … a braseleira girl with his mini thong and surfers riding and jumping waves hitting. We are melting and suddenly we realize our stomachs are empty. Let´s go for some food, ok? Today we like to pay homage to ourselves, a typical Brazilian barbecue? Perfect!! delicious meat accompanied with salad and French fries. We are full and it wasn´t expensive (22 Reales, around 10USD both), we know to care ourselves.
At night we share experiences with our new Colombian friends, we’ve encouraged inadvertently stroll through Central America, they feel it´s dangerous … we say it´s roughly the same than Colombia, reasonably safe and also very cheap and authentic. Hope to see you soon wandering into some exotic country … we are the world!!! A new day dawns, quiet, some shopping for food, a little walk and a lot of internet. We have many stories to tell and few places with a good connection to upload photos. To hold a blog is not easy, it takes time, imagination, inspiration and the most important thing “A RELIABLE INTERNET CONNECTION”. At the sunset, we carry our backpacks. Ready for another trip in those urban buses with crazy drivers, full speed even in roads with so many curves. He goes so fast that he didn´t brake in our bus stop, the Rodoviaria. Shit!!! Damn!!! At the end we have to make a good walk, “Beware, the area is dangerous and even more at this time”, says a man in perfect Portuguese, Thanks!! That´s what we need, some more fear in our bodies!!
Good, we arrived safely at the station, even a couple of hours ahead. Already thinking about our next destination and the friends waiting for us there. We liked Natal and we head for Fortaleza.
How to arrive, some advices and prices:
- Hostal Republika: 35 Reales p/p in a shared room (very good hostel, great cuisine and excellent breakfast, just 5 minutes from the beach)
- Bus Recife to Natal: 69.09 Reales p/p (night bus, 5½ hours)
- Taxi from Rodoviara to Punta Negra (zone B): 37 Reales
- Bus from Punta Negra to Rodoviara: 2.20 Reales (30 minutes)
- From Natal you can go to one of the most famous beaches in the area (Pipa Beach) which is only an hour and a half by bus. We couldn´t go as we were short of time, our flight to Belém was only in a couple of days time, but it´s worthy.
SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR BROTHER, JOSE, FOR THE TRANSLATION OF THIS POST. THANKS A LOT!!!!