This winter during February and March 2020 our family of now four were fortunate enough
return back to Brazil to see family for a truly wonderful 6 weeks. Our trip was split between an
initial twoweek trip visiting Patricia’s fathers new abode in Santana dos Montes, Minas Gerais
which is in the depths of the Brazilian countryside. We then had four weeks on the beach in
Recreio, Rio de Janeiro soaking up the sun, playing on the beach and of course surfing Rio’s finest
beach break waves.

Santana dos Montes is miles from the sea so our daily exercise was made up of walking and
running along the dusty mud tracks and trying to navigate the ‘off piste’ roads whilst keeping out
the midday heat. After heavy rain this made even more of a challenge by trying to avoid slipping
over in the rich red coloured mud that could quite easily turn into a fresh mud bath after a
torrential down pour. The daily menu was pretty much all highly organic and consisted of an
array of fresh fruit, creamy dairy products and of course the finest locally reared beef and other
succulent meats. The local wildlife although interestingly beautiful can proved to raise blood
pressure. On arrival we heard of a local farmer who had just caught two large dangerous snakes
on the main path leading to where we were staying. Then on our first night we discovered a
spider not far off the size off an adult hand waiting patiently next to our fridge. I think he was
biding his time for it to open and upgrade his normal dinner requirements! Thankfully Patricia
father managed to usher him back outside with a long broom. Loosing our normal day-to-day
reality and being immersed in the deep countryside really was so refreshing, time seemed to
slow down and living was much simpler. We certainly are looking forward to another return
trip to this region in the future.

Base camp no.2 was in Recreio dos Bandeirantes (or simply Recreio) situated on the eastern
most outskirts of the densely populated yet truly wonderfully city of Rio de Janerio. The entire
city’s coastline, not just in the neighborhood of Recreio boasts white sand beaches with the most
beautiful backdrops of lush green subtropical mountains. That amongst the ever increasing
favelas and expanding metropolitan areas creates such a diverse and exciting cidade (city) that
never sleeps. Recreio is one of the last coastal urban areas of the city, with a fairly safe favela
before you move into some beautiful national park beaches and inland jungle. Although you can
surf anywhere along the coastline Recerio is the heart of Surfing in Rio with a local ‘Carioca’
(people from Rio) surf community. It is home to several local surf shop and surf schools with a
mix of softer beginner beach breaks to some more heavy barreling sand bottom waves.

Although its a pretty safe area, Rio de Janerio is well known for it crime so most apartments and
even houses are inside guarded complexes. Our ‘casa’ during this time was a stunning apartment
overlooking the surf, which really helped to keep in tune with swells, wind patterns, changing
conditions and the line up during lunch break! My daily routine would start with a 5am dawn

patrol surf and last until I was too tired or the frothing Brazilian crowds tested beyond my
patience. Still it was only a 2-3 minute walk from the water edge and back to the apartment.
Normally by 8am I would be tucking into a hearty breakfast of fresh fruit smoothies and cereal on
the balcony with Patricia and boys. By 9am the boys were desperate to get in the swimming
pool, which was part of our complex. At 1.5 years and 4 years old the mostly heavy shore breaks
on the beach directly out front were too dangerous so they would spend hours bombing off the
side of the pool, practicing their snorkeling or trying to escape myself or Patricia from chasing
after them. It was a perfect way to see their water skills and confidence develop. By week one
our eldest Filipe was swimming 20m completely unaided by himself, the only problem was
keeping our youngest Tiago from trying to follow him! This was an all too perfect training
ground for Filipe as 100m up the beach was a sheltered area tucked behind a huge rock where he
could enjoy surfing some soft breaking reforming warm waves on the longboard with myself. He
caught some of his best waves here with rides of 20/30m all the way to the shoreline. Patricia
was in her happy place under the South American sunshine where Tiago and her would be
cheering him on all the way to the beach. I’m not sure who was more stoked, us or Filipe! Some
days I would have a second surf session over lunch, as the line up would diminish due to a light
onshore breeze or the Brazilians enjoying an extended lunch! Failing that resting inside out of
the intense mid day heat was generally welcomed before an early evening stroll along the
promenade that runs for miles and miles all along the coast. It was a perfect way to soak up the
Brazilian beach life and always included a stop off for fresh coconut water and portions of the
delicious Acai and granola. Much past the boys bedtime in the evenings was always a bit of a blur
for me as the continuous daily 5am start did take its toll. It usually ended with my head in a book
then reading the same passage again the following evening wondering where I had previously
finished. It wasn’t a bad routine though!