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07 May 2007


Rio was fantastic but hectic, so we needed an antidote, after two and a half weeks on holiday, you need time to switch off and relax.  Trancoso was the place.  It is a very pretty little village with 3,000 residents.

We needed a bit of luxury so we decided to stay at a gorgeous hotel called Pousada Etnia. I say hotel, but it's a collection of bungalows (which is all the rage in this part of the world) with a bar, breakfast area and pool set in what can only be described as a rainforest. Etnia is owned and run by Andre Zanonato (Brazilian, but of Italian descent) and his partner Corrado Tini (Italian) & their 3 gorgeous labradors, Lola (who was only into me because I kept feeding her), Ginny (who smelled a bit) and Rocco, their boisterous son.

Each bungalow is designed along a different theme.  We stayed in Mediteraneo, a large white and blue room - it was amazing, very classy.  Andre let us take a peek into the other bungalows.  He was excited for us to see how amazing and varied each of the bungalows were and I was eager to check we had the best bungalow.  As it turns out, ours was the best one but another bungalow, Gipsy caught my eye.  It was a clash of pink, orange and blue - I would have been equally happy staying in this room but it was too camp for Silverbrow.

Breakfast provided a lazy start to the day, beginning at 9am and finishing at 11am.  We ate lunch on a few occasions at the hotel.  Silverbrow loved the gnocchi, which, as he guessed correctly, was made using Andre's mum's secret recipe, which she had personally taught the kitchen staff to cook.  We were also well looked after by Paulo, the barman who kept us plied with amazing kiwi and passion fruit caiprinhas.

By night we hung out at the Quadrado - the village square.  It is a cute array of little, brightly coloured shops selling all sorts of glittery tat, to rich Europeans and tax evading Brazilians.  The shops were all perfect - the outside of each one was painted in a different colour (this is a local, Bahaian tradition) and there were many lit candles scattered around to add to the atmosphere.  In fact if Disney was trying to create an open air chi-chi shopping mall.  This place was seventh heaven for me, a Starbucks would have made it perfect - it's the only thing I've missed from home.  I dragged Silverbrow around all of the shops (several times as we were there for a week) but in the end we didn't buy anything other than a paperweight and a pair of Havaianas (the coolest thing in Brazil.)

Interspersed amongst the shops were several equally ritzy restaurants.  Unfortunately their flash decor was no sign of quality of the food.  We sampled many of the dishes over the week we were there.  We loved the seabass cooked in ginger and cashew sauce at Cantinho Doce and went back twice because it was so good.  The other meals were not overly memorable, apart from the sushi we had one night.  Despite being by the sea, the chef was using frozen salmon.  Silverbrow went off on some rant about why serve salmon when you're by the sea.  I reckon, they would have been better off as a simple fish restaurant, serving locally sourced fish, rather than doing sushi badly. (She's learning dammit - Ed.)

However, the mediocrity of the food did not detract from us having the most wonderful, tranquilo week in Trancoso.  We topped up our tans, swam a bit, read and chilled and even made a few friends along the way.

Should we ever find ourselves back in this neck of the rainforest, we will definitely be going back to stay (this time in Gipsy.)


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