Sorry it’s been a while folks, my computer charger died a few weeks ago and we have been super busy with the World Cup in full swing! We left off in Natal where we had an amazing time staying at Moab’s house with his family. Unfortunately Jack’s camera had gotten stolen in Salvador so we lost a lot of pictures and footage from the trip.. Oh well.. The memories will last forever!!
Jack and I suited up and headed south for one of my favorite days of bicycle tour in Brasil. Natal to Pipa! We could have taken the BR101 highway inland about 80km but we opted for the more adventurous route down the coastal roads, sand dunes, and a river crossing; which was shorter but more uncertain. We cruised south out of Natal with good weather. Along the way we stopped at the Brasilian Aerospace Museum. Natal’s position on the north east coast of Brasil with its close proximity to Africa provides for a strategic missile launching site. One of the coolest things about bike tour is being able to stop and check things out.
After the museum, it was coastal cruising along the Atlantic Ocean. Massive sand dunes on your right and the aqua blue Atlantic on your left as we headed south. Passing through the coastal towns it was nice to get out of the city and be back on the bikes. Eventually we made it to the end of the road and were faced with 5 km of beach to travel down at high tide. Sounded like we might be pushing the bikes on the beach which sucks. If you’ve ever tried to push a bike in sand it is not very enjoyable. We inquired about catching a ride on a dune buggy but were put off by the massive price tag of 70R$. This is about 35usd$. For 5km? Yea right. We managed to catch a ride down the beach with some local fishermen for free. Thats more like it. It was awesome riding through the dunes in their truck to the river crossing!
At the river we scooped a ferry ride to Tibau do Sul the other side and continued along the amazing coastal road on to Pipa. We were searching for a place to set up camp before the Germany Ghana game started but with no time left we just biked to the bar and hoped to figure it out after the match! Naturally as things go on bike tour, these swiss dudes were psyched on our tour and invited us to crash at the house they rented for the month!
Pipa is a sweet little beach town south of Natal. Its a bit touristy but it definitely has a party vibe. Especially during the World Cup! That night we partied in the streets and made friends. The next day we went and checked out the beach. Jack and I hitch-hiked to the main beach with some really chill Brasilians from Natal! We hung out with them for the day and got psyched to watch the USA x Portugal game.
There was a ton of Americans in Pipa, and it made for a great environment to watch the US take on Portugal! We had tickets to that game but it was in Manaus back in the Amazon and we didn’t have the means to backtrack there. I gave my ticket to a USA fan who was going and who promised to give it to someone who deserved it! We watched the game in a bar with a handful of fans who were going crazy! Jermain Jones scored one of the goals of the tournament to equalise. A howitzer from 20 meters leaving the Portuguese keeper Beto stunned. Everyone in the bar was going absolutely mental! Then Dempsey scored and we were on route to another victory! It was all going for us until Portugal scored a last second equaliser. It felt like we lost pretty much! But everyone was impressed by the USA’s performance which was cool because a lot of people had written us off before the tournament had even started! Once again the streets were flooded with people after the game. Lots of Uruguayans were there getting ready for their upcoming clash vs Italy in Natal.
The next day we had to leave Pipa and head to Recife for the USA x Germany game and it was pouring rain! We cycled on some crazy jungle roads south of town instead of going to the main highway. It was truly adventure cycling as we were cruising through flooded dirt roads. Eventually we managed to get to the highway. That night we stayed with Brasilian family! They cooked us dinner and we got to watch the Brasil x Cameroon game at their house. We slept in their little church behind their house and prepared for another day of rainy cycling.
3 Days of rain riding and we made it to Recife. We had organized to couchsurf in Recife with a guy named Filipe. He biked out to the highway and escorted us through town to his house in the favela north of Recife. We took it easy that night and got ready for USA x Germany. We had to take a bus into town and then hit the metro to the stadium. The Pernambuco Arena is actually 2okm from the city of Recife. With all the rain and flooding it took over 2 hours to get to the stadium! The German fans were raging but so were the US faithful! We were pregaming on the way to the stadium and partying outside before kickoff. Once we were inside we joined the American Outlaws in the terraces behind the goal. The rain was pouring down but we didn’t care. The last 3 days of cycling through the rain had hardened us to being eternally soaked! We were chanting “ponchos off” to all the gumbies still wearing their raincoats!
The Pernambuco Arena was one of coolest arenas we got to go to. Its brand new, and very big. The seating feels like it goes straight up! We were stationed behind the goal with the American contingent being loud and crazy! We were holding off the Germans in the rain until the second half when Thomas Müller put in a well placed precision strike off a Tim Howard rebound. The USA didn’t manage to equalise and we were holding our breath that Portugal would get a result against Ghana. In the end we lost to Germany but Portugal beat Ghana so we advanced to the knockout stages! Awesome indeed as we made it through the so called group of death! I knew we would, thats why we were here!
After the game everyone was partying in Recife! The Germans were going hard and so were the US fans! It was a win win situation for everyone involved! We met some cool Brasilians at fan fest and hung out with them for the remainder of the evening! Since the USA made it out of their group we were destined to go to Salvador for the next game vs Belgium! This worked out for us perfectly as Salvador was much closer than Porto Alegre where we would have played if we had beat ze Germans! Also our good friend Iago, and the chilenos we had met on the Amazon river trip had rented a house in the favela in Salvador so we already had a place to stay!
Stay tuned for adventures in Salvador and Rio