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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Driving the country roads – is this part 3?

DSC_2854 Yesterday we had to make an unexpected drive from Mury/Nova Friburgo to Macaé on the coast. Our new route for this trip [taking the road to Lumiar (RJ 142), then along the new road to Casimiro de Abreu on BR101 and then over to the coast by way of Rio das Ostras (the river of oysters – don’t you love it) on RJ 162] is as you can see in the photo closed at Cascata by a landslide. So we decide to go back to the way we were going before the Casimiro road opened last year. That is to go north of Friburgo to Bom Jardim, the take a right at the first traffic light (well there is a sign for a traffic light 100m but I didn’t see a light), and go east on RJ146…… after that you just drive by the seat of your pants because the road has little towns with no street signs and every once in a while there is a sign that will say Macaé (that way) and you take a left here and a right there and you start coming down out of the mountain and come to BR101. Isn’t this great directions? That is the way I felt also. You need to be able to say in Portuguese “is this the road to Macaé” or at least “BR101?” The last time we drove that direction the road was great, scenic and well maintained, with a great number of twists and turns and vistas of granite outcrops that take your breath away.
This time (with me driving the first leg) the road was pitted with craters, areas where the road was washed away and had been filled with gravel, and two areas where with no one directing traffic there were landslides narrowing the road down to a part of one lane. (I am sorry no photos – since I did not have B&B with me to take photos while I was driving….) After more than two hours of grueling roads and getting no where, I gave the car over to Camillo and took a nap. I was exhausted. This is normally a beautiful drive, give them 6 months to fix the roads then try.
DSC_2824 Once in Macaé there is not much to see – as far as I am concerned it is a horrible little town, the center of the oil industry and not much else. The sea is beautiful and a storm off the coast made for a nice sunset. We do (of course) have a favorite restaurant – Lucca’s in the Cavaleiros section of Macaé. We took a taxi from the Ibis to Lucca’s, enjoyed most of a good bottle of wine, I had a delicious fish soup, Camillo I don’t know what – sorry the wine was very good – then we ask for a taxi to take us back to the hotel. No taxis. We waited 25 minutes then – this would only happens in Brazil – the restaurant manager and two of his waiters offered to walk us back the 6 blocks to the hotel - and off we went…. and then they didn’t want a tip – said they did it as friends! Even though this is one of the best parts of town it is not recommended that you walk on the side streets, no lighting and some gangs hang out looking for gringo-suckers to frighten and rob. Typical of Macaé’s streets
This morning after getting our business out of the way, we decided to take the long way home – follow the coast south on RJ106 catching the RJ124 (toll road Via Lagos) in the outskirts of Iguaba Grande and taking it to Rio Bonito on the BR101 and then making our way back to Mury via RJ116. The roads were mostly good, the toll road almost excellent, there is an Oasis with good toilets… thank goodness. Both directions took us just over 4 hours. Via Bom Jardim to Macaé it was 186km and going south nearly to Rio de Janeiro and then backtracking to Mury was 249km – the conditions of the roads didn’t make up for the additional KMs.
long two days – and we’re glad to be home


  1. I feel like I'm on this road trip with you because of your most outstanding snapshots and your beautiful descriptions. I love the snapshot of that store that sells just everything :)
    Hey, I'm wondering.....I've never used Window's Live and do you like it? I really want to try it when I have more time and feel a tad better but I didn't have anyone to ask who I was sure used it.
    What do you think honestly?

    Steady On
    Reggie Girl

  2. I wished later that I had taken some photos of the road with the holes.... just too focused on keeping the car out of the holes and on the narrow road.
    Windows live has a better spell check than using blogger. It does not have full functionality of Word - for example to insert symbols or the letters with accents for Portuguese - you would not have this problem. At times I have trouble getting the photos to line up correctly but I think this is me trying to make it more than it is - ex, text wrapping.
    I had to use it about 5 times before I started liking it - but change is hard for me.
    try it and good luck

  3. I love road trips! Can we stop at the next place and get some ice cream. Can we?

    OK. Here is my stop. Thanks for the ride.

    Great post.

  4. What a great travalogue! Wish I was there, along for the ride. You are having way too much fun! No, actually you are having just the right amount of fun! Yea, you!

  5. Patty - you are right no road trip is worth its while if you don't stop for ice cream... but Camillo is always watching his watch - to him the trip is about getting there - do you know what I mean....

  6. B&B - I ask Camillo this morning at breakfast if we had fun yesterday - neither one of us was sure it was fun. I am sure though when we remember in a few years, we will tell the story with humor and remember only the good parts. What would have helped is if we were in the MP instead of my Audi - the MP is so slow you don't expect to get anywhere fast - and the Audi just doesn't drive well in adverse conditions, i.e. Brasilian country roads.
    yes you all need to come here and visit - we would show you a good time. make the reservations NOW

  7. We are relocating to Macae and I'm so scared... we also have a big akita.

    I do love your photos :D thank you so much for sharing.