14 February: We've decided to explore Ilheus on our own today. The alarm's set to 7:00 and we're up soon after. We slept well, but I've got a slight sore throat. I'd caught a bug during the last two days in Zurich and it seemed to be accompanying me all the while, but not very prominently. This was the first sign of it getting nasty.
We have a short breakfast and then walk down to town along the sea. It's a bit on the warmish side outside. Almost into town, we stop at a travel agent, Orisha Travel, to see if we could get some info and tour details, which they had. We weren't successful in finding the tourist office, though. We see the Cathedral de San Sebastian first (the main church, so it seems), have a great Kilo lunch at the nearby Equilibrio restaurant with a large Antarctica 'Bem Gelado' (well cooled) beer for myself.
Later, trying to change Traveller's Cheques in the nearby Banco do Brazil it takes at least 40 minutes. Being the only customer at that teller!
We see the nice red Prefeitura building (Municipality), we hang a minute or so near the entrance when a policeman there tells us that's it's 'ok to go up'. What's this? We walk the stairs and there is a large old decorated room which must be used during ceremonies. This was one of many examples of Brazilians we experienced offering help without being asked and expecting nothing in return! We walk around the shopping area, then climb the small hill of Ilheus to see, first, a small church in white, and then proceed to a convent at the top of the hill full of schoolchildren.
On the way down it's really hot, we stop for a Coke then go back to town to see Jorge Amado's house (one of Brazil's most famous writers who came from Ilheus; not too impressive). We then checked out the Igreja de Sño Jorge and then hit Bar Vesuvio for quite a long spell and have cokes, Caipiriñhas, Kebe and Arabic bread (the owner is supposedly from the Middle East). Very good stuff! The Caipiriñhas in Brazil tend to have normal ice cubes and not grated ice and are not as good as in Switzerland, what do you say to that?! On our way back to Valerie's, we go into the Ilheustur office and get some rental car info and a map.
Eusinio takes us to a riverside restaurant for a snack dinner, which is over a large bridge just outside the main part of Ilheus. It's at a very nice location, and he orders some beer and a plateful of something which was delicious but we never found out what it was. It had some type of fishy tails on one side and the other end was deep-fried. Dunk into one of 3 different sauces and I didn't have any reason to find out what it was. Then Eusinio ordered another dish which tasted fishy but was very good as well.
I'm feeling the onset of a cold. Eusinio
gets a call to pick up pampers on the way home, the a/c of the car
suddenly gets unpleasantly cold for me...