After the wedding we went to Paraty.
It's a 4 hour drive down highway BR101 south of Rio.
Driving in Brazil is a bit tense.
Cars sit a foot off your back bumper at 60 miles an hour in the dark.
Cars are small and (by American standards anyway) feel a bit inconsequential and fragile.
Getting out of Rio was complicated by traffic and a SatNav that wanted me to turn down roads long since gone. Throughout it all my new bride chatted away, happy and unconcerned as knuckles white and tight on the steering wheel, I took our lives into my hands on winding Brazillian roads.
A curious feature of highways in Brazil are the placement of speed bumps (usually in clusters of three) whenever you approach a cross roads or built up area.
Speed bumps on highways.
Think about that for a minute.
Most of the time they're marked about three hundred meters ahead, but at night its easy to miss the signs.
The locals don't provide much warning as they tend to accelerate up to the last minute, hitting the breaks in a sort of "just in time" game of chicken with their suspension and undercarriage.
There were plenty of times I hit the breaks thinking a dip in the road was another speed bump when in fact it was just a dip in the road.
Lucia dealt with all of this with characteristic good humour.
I ground my teeth and smiled weakly.
We finally got to our hotel at midnight and this is how we were greeted .
The next morning we awoke to a glorious view.
Paraty ( pronounced PARA-CHEE) may be a four hour trip from Rio but is well worth the drive. Though it would be hard to compete with Rios' beaches in the summer, there's a wilder quality here. A backdrop of jungle and a dramatic, secluded vibe. Swimming is outside the city, so a car is a must though we did see buses running on improbably steep and narrow dirt roads.
The city has a long history and its fortunes have mirrored those of the gold and coffee trade, undergoing cycles of boom and bust. Until the paving of route 101 it had settled into existence as a quiet forgotten backwater. The highway brought day trippers from Sao Paulo ( two hours away) and transformed the town into a weekend getaway complete with chic restaurants, rowdy bars and beautiful secluded beaches.
The center of town is roughly paved with cobblestones and is a no car zone. The colonial era buildings house chic restaurants and surprisingly sophisticated watering holes. We were there in low season, but I can imagine the place heaving with revellers during the summer.