Tuesday, January 19, 2016

January update.
From Bombinhas we drove to Gramado, there we felt transplanted to the Black Forrest in Germany. Gramado in famous for its Christmas decoration and the lights at nite. At the campground we met Darlou and Sandra, both are retired professors and Darlou has a book published. Thy went with us in to town and showed us the sights, thy are Brazilians and have travelled Europe extensively so we had a lot to talk about. From Gramado we drove to Uruguay and the border crossing went smooth. Purchased some parts in Montevideo and drove on to Colon were we had visited before and spent the nite to take the ferry to Buenos Aires in the morning. It is a 3 hour ferry ride.
We are now in Buenos Aires at Norbert's brothers place.
We had advertised the camper for sale at the end of March but all the inquiry's we got , thy wanted it the latest mid January. So we decided to sell it to 3 young people from Minnesota and 
British Columbia. 
We took the ferry from Colon, Uruguay to Buenos Aires. Lucky that we have Manfred's place to station. It took us a while to find a notary to do the paperwork as it is vacation time here and most professional offices are closed from mid January to mid February.
Today we met with the new owners of our Blue Wonder and I am happy to pass her on to the very nice young owners.  Tomorrow we will go with them to buy insurance.
The Blue Wonder has been wonderful for us and I am sure she will be for them as well.
This brings our South America Adventure to a close, we have seen many amazing things, met wonderful people, learned about other cultures. Of all the places we visited and saw, I am very happy to call Vancouver home. This adventure has shown me how fortunate we are and that we have too many possessions. Also that people everywhere want the same things, most of all love and respect . Also that the people who have the least are the most generous. I have learned that fear can hold you back from exploring or attempting many things. Above all I am thankful for the many wonderful people in my life.
Love and hugs to you all.
Norbert and Greti

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

We left Aldeia de Paz on December 29th with a spectacular send off.
Everyone waiving white kankies, later I discovered that the nuns had filled our camper with so much food stuff, sister Tahita had baked a big container of oatmeal cookies and Sister Maris a Christmas cake and for Norbert a case of beer and lots of chocolates and other sweets also Macaroni and rice. No  surprise we left with a heavy heart and miss them already.
We drove to Goias where we parked at a hotel, and visited the historical town. Next day we went to Caldas Novas after our GPS send us on a 200 km detour and to top it off the road was very bad, full of potholes which made max. speed 20km ph. When we got to the hot springs thy wanted 320 Reales for camping, so we said thank you and drove on towards Uberlandia.
There we found a nice gas station with a Churasceria (steakhouse) free showers and Internet where we spent the nite. Next day on to Ilha Comprida were there was a fiesta and a grass field next to the beach for camping. There we met Jao and Nathalie and their family. Thy invited us for lunch and a nice walk on the beach. As usual, everyone wanted to see the camper and take pictures. All afternoon people came over and asked if thy could see the camper and take pictures. Everyone wanted to kow about our travels, where we had been and how we like Brazil.
That nite it rained very hard and when we woke up the field had transformed in to a lake, lucky we made it out.
Next stop was Bombinhas, again a terrible road in but the town and beaches are well worth it.
There is an entrance fee of 48 Reais and when we went to pay it turned in to 72.0
We went to the tourist office to complain and were told that the rate had changed on the computer on 1-1-2016 but thy had not received the new sheets to post them.
Antonio Olimpia, director of the office tried to reimburse us but as we had to pay with credit card, thy could not apply a credit.
Antonio offers to take us in his car on a tour of the area and we got to see many places tourists do not see and also learned the history of Bombinhas. After lunch we also got to use their internet. Thank you Antonio and staff.
We found a nice place to park right by the beach in a residential area were we spent the afternoon on the beach.
Many Argentines vacation here and we met some from Entre Rios Arg. That evening we talked to the owner of the house across the street and so we met the Nicoletti Family. Celso and Bete and Breno (13 who speaks English very well) and Lara, (9 also starting to speak English) and extended family. We were offered the use of their bathroom and shower and invited for pizza.
Breno played the guitar and all did some singing. We had a very nice and late evening and were also invited for breakfast which was delicious.
The hospitality and friendliness of the Brazilians is wonderful, wherever we go we are treated as family. Nowhere else on our travels has this been so pronounced. 
We Love Brazil and its people.
By now our camper must be the most photographed automobile in Brazil, anywhere we park, people take pictures of the front, back and license plate. On the freeway people honk, give us the thumbs up and waive, and without fail, out comes the cellphone or camera. Some have even followed us in to the gas station and given us a gift.
Lucky I did bring some Canadian souvenirs to give, but now I have run out so I give Canadian coins.
So far we have seen only three foreign campers here and thy were from Europe so Canada is rare.
Hugs to all.
Norbert and Greti

Saturday, December 26, 2015


Today we went to the waterfalls, a very good hike, Mike with little Lila showed us the way.
We got offered rides and people were surprised that we preferred walking.
It is so nice to cool off in the pools after a hike. We see lots of tattoos on young people, some very elaborate. Met 3 girls from Brasilia with interesting tattoos and thy let me take a picture.
We had a nice picnic and then headed down the mountain as the clouds kept coming closer.
We were offered a ride again but refused, only to be sorry a few minutes later as the few drops tuned in to a tropical rainstorm with thunder and lightning and no shelter. In minutes we were soaked to the bone. 3 km. before the town we found a house under construction, so we took shelter there until the worst of the rain stopped. Lucky Norbert and I had extra clothing and towels to  keep Lila warm. Arrived at the convent like drowned kittens. We were thankful for the hot shower.
The next day at 4pm. the Convent got a call that there was a donation of furniture, toys, washer, kitchen machines and clothing waiting in Brasilia which is 150 km. west of here.
It needed to be picked up today, there is a truck waiting to be loaded there.
So Norbert, Sister Maria and two other nuns hopped in the car and drove to Brasilia.
Thy arrived there at 6pm. and had to wait two hours for the truck to arrive.
The truck was a 1980 Mercedes 911, almost no breaks, no high beams and a very loose steering box. It took them 2 hours to load and off thy went, Norbert, 3 nuns and an overloaded 
Truck that had a max. speed of 80 km on the flat, never mind up hills. Got to the convent at 1:30 am and had to leave at 4 am to bring the truck back and pick up the car. Thankfully in the morning the truck would not start, so the owner of the truck drove down with Sister Maria's car and picked up his truck. What excitement over the donated goods.
That afternoon the children put on a Christmas play and thy received gifts.
The next day the fire truck arrived all decorated and sirens sounding, with food donations, we brought the grandmas down to meet them, thy were so happy to hug the fireman. All day long people kept coming  to donate food and cleaning supplies and also new clothing for the Grandmas.  
We prepared a big Christmas dinner with 3 turkeys, I was in charge of the turkey's as thy are not very common here. (Thy turned out well thanks to Mary who thought me how to cook them)
After dinner we went to church were we distributed toys to the children. The convent has an ambulance and  the siren was the signal that Santa had been there and to pick up the presents. Afterwards the presents for the nuns were given and even we received presents.
Then we sang Christmas carols in Portuguese, German and English. The nuns had to laugh when we sang the Drummer Boy. 
Christmas Day we drove to a little village to attend church and distribute more toys.
This was truly an extraordinarily Christmas which we will always remember. Especially the happiness of the nuns when needed supplies are donated.
Norbert is very busy, thy keep finding things for him to fix, when thy discovered that he can weld, 
thy asked him to fix the railing in the courtyard as the fire department has been after them for a long time to get it fixed. So with the little tools he has, he got the job done, in the process teaching sister Anyshirley how to weld. While Norbert was cutting back some bushes he disturbed a wasp nest and got stung 5 times,so now he has a swollen face, arm and shoulder.
Today I prepared the Blue Wonder for travel with a good cleaning as it was not so hot today.
Christmas Day was 45 degrees here, really too hot to move.
Our intended stay of one day turned out to be 10 and one of the best experiences of our travels.
We will miss all the friends we made here and bless them for the work thy do.
Hugs to all
Norbert and Greti