Well, discussed it and decided to go to the Botanic Gardens; should be a good day. We've been to others in other places and they were beautiful except KL. Had breakfast then caught the bus (still 2 tickets left). Got off at the botanic gardens. Free, a bonus. On entering there's a beautiful glass house which has a Kew Gardens influence but smaller. We take a couple of pics and head towards it. There's a few square like areas surrounded by box hedging with nothing except grass inside. Why's that? Surely as a gardens it's a waste of space. The only flowers up to now are begonias. It's a botanic gardens.....? We get to the glass house thinking there's a going to be a 'prized exhibition' here. Erm...no! It's closed because they're cleaning the glass? So can't go in. Head down a pathway and come to a gated off sensory section. Go through and there's areas with different herbs and plants, all of which are pretty standard plants, nothing special....remember-Botanic Garden, I'm expecting it to be fab! We wandered through critically. Not to worry, they're be something just around the corner to blow our socks off! We come to another path which goes over a lake...wow! :) There's a few turtles in the water and some large koi....nothing to write home about. There's a few nice wild birds flying around, but on the whole nothing else. Think Blenheim Gardens, a little larger with a large greenhouse and a lake. But less impressive flowers. There, you've got it! Or Sefton Park in Liverpool, the glasshouse is pretty much the replica.
So you can hear from my description we're disappointed. What a waste of a bus ticket! No animals or anything. The only thing we saw indicating that there are or could be animals was a sign about endangered SQUIRRELS! Tree rats! They're not endangered in the UK so maybe we should send some here. Then there'd be some animals! We did hear them though because they screech when someone's near their nests.
Saw the bus at the stop so got back on with out remaining ticket. Decided to get off in the centre. Found the Cathedral in the centre which is beautiful. Not huge. I have my wrap (always take it for this reason), cover my shoulders and we go in. There's women (Brazilian) with strappy tops! Not sure that's allowed, it's certainly not in Italy. Lit a couple of candles and say a little prayer and sat a while. The windows are beautiful; pieces of art.
We can walk back to our hotel from here. We can! Can't we? Well, after a couple of hours meandering, looking at this and that, Guy having his hair cut, going to look at the former beautiful City Hall, we finally ask directions. Guy is sitting on a seat and of course, I have to look stupid asking where I am and which way I'm facing on the map bearing in mind I don't speak Portuguese; if you're not holding the map in the right way round you go down the road the wrong way...that's been done before too. I get directions, not sure they're correct because they're not sure themselves even though they're local. We head in the general direction hoping for the best. Eventually, we recognise where we are and get back.
Remember we're on the 13th floor? Well we have waist height railings outside our floor to ceiling window so we thought, wonder does this open? It did, so we had a pleasant rest of the late afternoon with a glass of wine soaking up the sunshine on the 13th floor. Lovely. Out to dinner for happy hour - before 7:30. A beer and a shared plate of BBQ ribs. Yummy!
Wandered around the shops and then back to our room. Watched a bit of the news then some tv stuff on YouTube. Thankfully the Internet is ok here.
Something I keep meaning to mention is, there's so many phone boxes here and they're used. Very unusual in the UK and with mobile phones being so prevalent these days I'd have thought they were redundant everywhere but not in Brazil. How strange.
Ok, decided to go to the Wire Opera House. Go to the Turismo bus stop, buy another book of tickets. There's 5 to a book but we thought that maybe they sell us just one ticket to make up 3 rides. Get to the Opera House. You can only look outside and go over the bridge to the entrance. There's some work being done underneath and that means we can't go along the paths and inside, there's a prize giving or something. Really cross! It's an absolute waste of money! Stayed only till the next bus and then went to Portal Italiano which is where the italian immigrants lived in 1850ish. We went to Madalosso which is a traditional restaurant serving Italian food. It's allegedly one of the biggest in the world. We were only having a beer; it's only 11:30am! Anyway, get our beer and a lovely young waitress came out to talk to us. She'd been to Australia for 6 months so spoke English which is helpful as otherwise we couldn't converse. She brought us a couple of traditional dishes for free. Some lovely chicken wings and some polenta with Parmesan cheese grated over. We weren't hungry but ate it all. We had a wander around then thought about getting back - remember we in,y have one ticket. So bus comes, I get on and ask if we could buy just one ticket. Conductor said have to buy whole book. We got off. The driver had a bit of a chat to him but we couldn't go unless we buy another book, yes it's only the equivalent of £7 but we only needed on ticket so we'd be wasting 4 tickets. So crossed the road to he normal bus stop. Hopefully we'd get on the right bus. Luckily, 2 young men arrived, spoke English, phew and they said it was the right bus. It's terminal was near the cathedral so we sorta knew how to get back. Again, had a bit if a wander, a beer, and ice lolly and then we were back.
So, our last night in Curitiba, we've opened a bottle of wine in our room, opened the window to get the last rays (they're usually at around 9pm) to dry the undies we washed this morning and left drying by the window....maid closed the curtains so they're not properly dry! Exeter City and Liverpool are on the TV. We'll probably go back to the same place for dinner at happy hour and make the most of the bargain, there's been a guy playing a guitar and singing there for the last couple of nights so that's good. We found last night, the restaurant put an artist fee on the bill of $R5 per person. That's £1, pretty good idea?
Off to Marinhos tomorrow. We catch the 8:15 Serra Verde Express to Morretes and then have to get a bus or if that's difficult, a taxi. It'll be fine.