Thursday, January 1, 2015

A drive to Lapa, Paraná


 Yard, Lapa, Parana, oil on card, 16 x 17 cm

 Truckstop, Lapa, Parana, oil on card, 15 x 17.5 cm

There are various settlements like this in the centre and West of Santa Catarina (in fact, if you were to be unkind you might say there aren't any other types of settlement):  a vast agro-industrial complex or mine, or factory, with low rise housing around, minimal services, then the obligatory Catholic church and various Evangelical shack-churches.

 These are probably extremely tedious places to live in for any person with cultural ambitions, but they have a certain vigour and basicness which I find striking.


Lapa is a charming town, well preserved with fine architecture from the last and 19th centuries. I stayed in the beautifully restored Pousada Tropeiro.

It was built along a ridge, three parallel streets with perpendicular crossings, and the occasional square. There are fine views of the surrounding countryside.

I liked the town and the people there who were the right side of friendly: not overbearing: a good-natured community, in that way that characterises many small towns in Brazil: unpretentious yet gracious. Brazilians have a tendency to gossip, but they are much less interfering than the British, who, ironically, while priding themselves on their mind my own business culture, in reality are among the most interfering busybodies on the planet, eager to pry, rebuke and report on anyone who appears to be even moderately unusual.

 As is normal in the interior, the vast size of  food portions in restaurants are is matched by their mediocrity in quality. But as I grew up in Scotland, where eating out is classified as a severe form of masochism by psychiatrists and culinary experts alike, this did not phase me in the least.

I'd wanted to revisit Itaiópolis on the way back: the town's Polish and Ukrainian history is peculiar, with Ukrainian Orthodox and Polish churches, and I like the setting, deep in hills and pine forests- rather romantic. But the rain came and was certain not to go for a few days and, I made my way back to Florianópolis via Lages.


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