Excerpt from the Journal of Olds – Day 338 – Brazil – Ay Corumba

It was an early start again as this time we had to cram breakfast in before a 7:15am taxi to Gruta do Lago Azul. We’d heard mixed things about this nearby cave with a supposedly brilliant blue lake at the bottom and didn’t really know what to expect. It was relatively cheap however and easy to squeeze in before our midday departure to Corumba on the Brazil-Bolivia border. We were a little dismayed but accepting to discover that again no-one spoke English; I was here for the photos anyway and again it’s me who should make the effort and learn Portuguese – Raquel would attest to this as it’s obviously the most important language on the planet 😉 We got to wear hair nets and hard hats and we were once again helped with some rough translation by some of the other tourists (to whom we are eternally grateful) with the odd titbit of information here and there.

I was impressed. The scale of the cave is significant – not to the extent of those we’d wandered through in China or Vietnam but certainly grand enough to make an impact. Undoubtedly the real highlight is the blue lake – it’s beautiful, truly, and amidst the typical stalactite and stalagmite adornments it makes for quite a spectacle. I enjoyed the hour & half spent wandering within.

We returned to the start point and hopped straight back in the taxi to Pousade Eco Villa Verde where we checked out and when the time came took a wander a little down the road to the middle-of-nowhere bus stop we were assured our long distance bus would stop at. Half an hour after we were expecting it we were starting to get a little concerned but then it appeared around the corner and 6 hours later we rolled into Corumba.

We were met at the bus station by Thiago, a helpful chap sent by our hostel to advise us on costs to transfer to Bolivia. We followed his advice and booked our train tickets through him for the journey from the border town of Puerto Quijarro the following day at 6pm which would give us ample time to deal with border crossing. All sounded perfect and for 120 Real each it was expensive but apparently the best class of train we could catch. We cruised with the guys’ brother to find a cash point to pay for the tickets before being dropped at the hostel.

There were a lot of English speaking Brazilians milling about the place and we were shown to our nice private room. We nipped out for a traditional Brazilian BBQ meal at a local place – extremely authentic plastic-chairs-on-street-not-a-word-of-English-but-you-don’t-mind kind of place and a wonderful meat-fest. As always we found it within ourselves to slyly pass a few pieces of meat to the local hounds when no-one was looking. After tracking down some water and a couple of beers we made our way back to the hostel and met a couple of girls from Germany, Johanna and Anne, who were making the same trip as us the next day all the way to Sucre as well so we agreed to share the journey together before we crashed for the night.