Thursday, 17 November 2011

The paradise of Praia do Patacho, Alagoas


If you want tranquility, peace, perfect deserted beaches then please look no further than Patacho. It is a lifestyle that may not suit all tastes, life is simple here with no nightlife apart from that which you create for yourself. One rises early with the sun and one retires early with the moon. If you want to go back to basics then Patacho is the place for you, life revolves around nature, the beach, the freshest fish and the regular Caipirinha which seems to be cheaper than a bottle of water! Life in this unspoilt region revolves around the family and the home, at the weekend though the outside village television gets turned on and, people socialise on the main square. The state of Alagoas still has some way to go to reach the tourist heights of Bahia, secretly I hope it remains the way it is. Feels like a secret location for only a few, where you get an insight into true Brazilian country life. It's got to be the closest I've ever been to Paradise where the beaches were empty of other tourists, naming no nationalities, grabbing the best sunbed or the best spot to lay their towels. Here we didn't even use a beach towel preferring to lie directly on the warm, soft white sand.


The house we stayed in is owned by my dear old university friend Michael Clifford (aka Deejay Cliffy) and his Brazilian wife Erika de Carvalho. They designed and built Casa Olivia and the other house just a few doors away, Casa Patacho. Kuka is a Designer, she worked closely with architects from Recife as well as local tradesmen and builders to ensure an immaculate attention to detail. Everything in the houses was designed by Kuka including the furniture, fixtures and fittings, using local materials and building methods. Furniture is crafted from local wood, tiles handpainted, the wood used to build the houses came from the coconut trees that had to be cut down to make way for them. It has been designed to be sympathetic to the local rustic style intrinsically linked to the modern expectations we have, the house could easily occupy the pages of Elle Decoration.



Our house Casa Olivia has one big living space with a kitchen area at one end, up the stairs there is the Master bedroom with a beautiful 4 poster bed and a balcony with the most incredible view over the coconut trees and beach, plus a wet room with hand painted colourful tiles decorating the grey walls. In a separate building there are 2 further Ensuite bedrooms again stylishly decorated. The piece de resistance in this house is the living space that opens up completely to the garden and terrace, the floors in the house follow through outside and where ever you the sea is in full view. Nothing can prepare you for the sheer peace and beauty of Praia do Patacho. The beach is part of the protected coral coast so Matilda loved splashing around in the sea as we never feared for her safety. We had the beach to ourselves everyday and the water was so shallow we could walk out for miles without it hardly going above our waists. It has been voted one of the top ten most beautiful beaches in Brazil by Guia de Quatro rodas as well as receiving 5 stars from the same guidebook.



The houses are looked after by the sweetest family headed by Maria Helena who was a bundle of energy and kindness. I miss our long chats sat in the shade with me quizzing her on her recipes, her daughter the darling Juliana looked after the house we stayed in whilst Laudemir looks after the gardens and anything else you might need. They are a wonderfully warm family that made you feel instantly at home and looked after. They would bring a bit of extra food from their own kitchen, when they knew we liked that particular dish. They clean the houses every day and cook the most amazing fish and seafood dishes too. If you go, also ask about Maria Helena's niece's freshly made bread and the most delicious cakes! Don't bother with the local bakery!





We came away after 2 weeks the most relaxed we've ever felt in our lives. We concentrated on us which without any of the normal modern day distractions, we were able to do. As there isn't a great deal to do in this area, we truly unwound and relished doing nothing at all. We even managed to read a couple of books each. Matilda's language came on leaps and bounds, it was wonderful to see her running around without us worrying about cars or other dangers that living in metropolis brings with it. She loved the horses that often went past the house, the dogs that came to say hi, the fish that we found lying on the beach, the coconuts and shells left on the ground on our walks. Writing about it gives me the urge to get straight on Opodo and book our flights back to Recife. If you don't know Brazil this would be the ideal introduction to a quiet idyllic corner of this captivating country.