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PEOPLE

La Isla

Floripa

Tossed on stormy seas, seduced by oysters, and enticed into a throbbing Carnival parade, Sarah Funk is spellbound on the Island of Magic

T

he ocean water sprayed on our faces as the red wooden fishing boat rocked against the waves, fighting the impending tropical storm. We watched the island of Campeche slowly shrink into the distance as our captain aggressively steered the boat back to Armação, where we would soon disembark, returning to our Amazon-esque home. The ride was only 45 minutes, yet the sunny day on the white sandy beaches of Ilha do Campeche felt ages away. This place earns the nickname “Island of Magic” for a reason. Florianopolis (Ilha da Magia) is the most alluring island you’ve never heard of. Its charm and beauty are said to conquer whoever steps foot on its soil. Fables tell of witches and sorcerers casting spells and curses on locals. Legend has it that the boulders on the beach of Praia de Itaguaçu were once witches now turned to stone. Folklore or fact, the island certainly is enchanting. From spellbinding sandy coasts to turbulent, adventure-filled seas, timeless fishing villages to isolated rainforest shores, diversity is what this island is all about. The southern side of “Floripa” is practically untouched by tourism compared to the northern tip. Villages immersed in tradition and history, such as Santo Antonio de Lisboa and Ribeirão da Ilha, resist the approaching modernity. The fishing boats, the lace makers, and the cuisine distinguish these colonial towns. The Azorean (Portuguese) spirit, inherited from immigrants who settled the region 250 years ago, marks the island’s personality. In traditional Azorean fashion, Floripa stands out for its seafood and celebrations. February is the month of

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“It’s a messy, colorful disaster that entices even the most reluctant bystander to join in the fun.” Carnival, a momentous time in which locals party for days on end wearing colorful, revealing outfits, buzzed on caipirinhas and Brahma beer; dancing to the beatsof drums until the wee hours of the night. When they get tired, they feast on fresh seafood and oysters and drink energy drinks to keep the party going. It’s a messy, colorful disaster that entices even the most reluctant bystander to join in the fun. And that’s how I found myself inside a Carnival parade; slightly afraid, considerably uncertain and eventually delighted that I had crossed an item off my bucket list. Floripa is about pushing your limits, experiencing adventure, and encountering a bit of magic. It’s the eye of the storm in a country riddled with crime. Heck, Condé Nast even rated it the friendliest city in the world in 2013. Yet Floripa surprises at every corner. A sunny day at the beach can turn into a stormy sea, but that stormy sea will bring the best seafood feast you’ll ever have. Sarah left her Hell’s Kitchen home in January to travel the world, living in a different country for a month every month. To follow her adventures, visit SarahFunky.com or catch up with her on Instagram @SarahFunky.

DIGITAL EDITION

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W42ST Issue 28 - Escape from Hell's Kitchen  

Inside the travel special: Daytripping, weekending, adventure and romance in Costa Rica, volunteering in Sri Lanka, joining Carnival in Braz...

W42ST Issue 28 - Escape from Hell's Kitchen  

Inside the travel special: Daytripping, weekending, adventure and romance in Costa Rica, volunteering in Sri Lanka, joining Carnival in Braz...

Profile for w42st