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.
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