At the end of each month, we’ll post about a dozen quick snapshots of things that caught our eyes but that we haven’t previously mentioned here. September’s selection is below; clicking on each image should bring up a larger version. You can find our snaps from July and August by clicking here, and many other images on our Flickr page.



michel-1024The reaction we received from kids whenever we pulled into a town in Brazil could usually be placed into one of three categories: in order of popularity, staring bafflement, wide-eyed excitement and studied indifference (the latter often expressed by them nonchalantly pulling a wheelie on their own bikes). Michel, the 13-year-old son of the owners of our modest hotel in Bom Retiro, fell into the second camp. Here’s Michel showing off his rather fabulous Schwinn bike; a few minutes after this picture was taken, Will took it for a ride.
Bom Retiro, SC, Brazil
3 September 2013



araucarias-1280These striking, spindly trees are araucarias, a tall evergreen native to South America. This particular image was taken on a hilly, glorious Saturday ride between the Serra Catarinense towns of Urubici and Bom Jardim da Serra.
SC-430, south of Urubici, SC, Brazil
7 September 2013



dismount-800Getting off a horse is more difficult than getting off a bike. Happily, our host was on hand to point Ruth in the right direction.
Bom Jardim da Serra, SC, Brazil
9 September 2013



nob-1280‘So, Carruthers, what’s your hotel of choice when holidaying in Orleans?’
‘There’s only one place for me, Cholmondeley. I always room at the Real Nob.’
Orleans, SC, Brazil
9 September 2013



gcc-800A freight-only railroad runs south-east from the town of Urussanga, criss-crossing the road as it does so. It appears that the Green Cross Code campaigns of the 1970s reached Brazil: the signs at every road junction translate as ‘stop, look, listen’.
Urussanga, SC, Brazil
12 September 2013



sfdp-1280This was just a small part of the extraordinarily warm welcome we received when we visited a festival of gaúcha culture (music, dancing, drinking, cake) on a rainy Sunday evening in the wilds of Rio Grande do Sul.
São Francisco de Paula, RS, Brazil
15 September 2013



chicobike-1280When we pulled into a roadside garden centre for a drink and a cake, Chico, the delightful owner, popped back to his house and returned with his own bike, an immaculately preserved Göricke model from the 1930s that his grandparents brought with them from Germany when they emigrated to Brazil. It’s only got one gear and has the turning circle of an 18-wheeled truck, but it’s a thing of utter beauty. The silver crest attached to the front mudguard appears to show St George slaying the dragon.
Parobe, RS, Brazil
17 September 2013



hotmotel-1280One of the more curious features of the Brazilian roadside is the love motel, where misbehaving couples can get up to no good away from prying eyes. They’re all situated on the outskirts of town, close enough to be easily accessible but far enough from residential activity that guests won’t be spotted going in and out. They all boast gates and high walls, so parked cars can’t be spotted from the road outside. And they often boast suggestive names, from the optimistic (Motel Êxtase) via the faintly comic (Motel Lascivius) to the altogether rather forlorn (the tin-roofed example pictured above).
Araricá, RS, Brazil
17 September 2013



poet-1024Early in his gripping book ‘A Death in Brazil’, Peter Robb describes the sight of a woman scrawling and then selling poetry – trying to sell poetry – to strangers in the northern city of Recife. We didn’t expect to find any such itinerant street poets on our travels; but here’s one, huddled on a kerbstone next to the Mercado Público in Porto Alegre. Immaculately dressed, she didn’t once look up from her pen and paper in the five minutes we spent next to her pitch – despite the fact that no more than five metres away, a sizeable crowd had gathered to watch a man leap through a small hoop lined with knives.
Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
18 September 2013



mandolin-800Wandering around the grounds of the Semana Farroupilha, an annual celebration of gaúcha life and history that draws thousands to Porto Alegre each September, Will – who plays the mandolin – noticed this extraordinary instrument, a bandolim (a mandolin, more or less) twinned rather awkwardly with a cavaquinho (essentially, a Brazilian ukulele). Note the expression on the face of the woman behind the musician, which seems to suggest that the appeal of the music made by her husband started to wane some time ago.
Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
18 September 2013



cristal-1024We formed a rather unexpected bond in Brazil with motorcycle clubs, of which the country has a great many. Fellow lovers of the open road, their members seemed to appreciate what we were doing, even if they didn’t immediately understand why we weren’t doing it on something with an engine. We ran into this chap and about a dozen of his pals at a gas station lanchonete on an unpleasantly wet Monday morning; they were returning from Uruguay, while we were heading towards it.
Cristal, RS, Brazil
23 September 2013



cowcountry-1280Welcome to Cow Country.
BR-116, near Turuçu, RS, Brazil
25 September 2013



ruthgaucha-1024Ruth (left) wins on highway visibility. Gaúcha wins on style. Neither of them seems likely to trouble the speed limit.
BR-116, near Capão do Leão, RS, Brazil
26 September 2013



from Quebrada de los Cuervos, Uruguay