a Janela de Marcia Bed and Breakfast

Bed and Breakfast Canto da Lagoa – Florianopolis – SC – Brazil

Love at first sight!

I discovered the beautiful neighborhood of Lagoa da Conceiçao on the island of Florianópolis, where Janela de Marcia is located, in 2003. I’d been living in the United States for many years by then—New York, Austin. Then one day I realized I was missing Brazil, my native country. I felt concerned that my children, who were born in the United States, would never learn to speak Portuguese like native Brazilians. I realized that unless I took decisive steps to remedy the situation my children wouldn’t even know the culture and ways of their ancestors.

So I decided to act. I resolved to spend an year in Brazil and reconnect with my native country after twenty-two years in the USA. I am originally from Rio de Janeiro, but I knew that Rio was too urban and violent for me to move there with my children after the mellow life we had in Austin . So looking around at all the beautiful cities in Brazil, I chose the island of Florianopolis, the capital of the southern state of Santa Catarina. It seemed like a perfect place for us. Forty two wild beaches, a big city with the feeling of small town, great climate and several Waldorf Schools*, just perfect considering that all three of my children attended Waldorf schools back in the US. My children would be able to continue their schooling without having to adapt to a new pedagogical system.

Before I made the big move I decided to spend a week in Florianópolis looking around, getting to know the island, and hunting for a furnished house that would serve as a base for my new life in Brazil. But it was difficult to decide where in Florianópolis to stay.

Each part of the island is so different. The island is divided into four main regions. The north of the island is more developed with bigger buildings and, in the summer, crowds of South American tourists. It is an area with lots of hotels, a huge resort, and crowded beaches with warmer water and smaller waves

In the south of the island, by contrast, you find genuine Azorian houses and typical fishing villages. The south is still very wild and authentic with great restaurants on the ocean and amazing oyster farms.

The center of the island is where you´ll find the public market, built at the end of eighteenth century. The Centro, as it´s called in Portuguese, is the focus of commerce and business and is always busy and bustling.

What I wanted was something mellow and funky, close to nature, but lively with lots of people around and things to do. Then one day, while driving toward the south of the island, I passed through the neighborhood of Lagoa de Conceiçao which is located in the eastern part of the island. It was love at first site. Here was exactly the neighborhood I had been looking for—wedged between two gorgeous lagoons, and beneath the lush mountain called Morro da Lagoa, the neighborhood dazzled me with its luxuriant nature. Beyond the lagoons rose the hills of Praia Mole and beyond them a smooth, blue sea dotted with islands scattering out toward the horizon. In the years since then I have not tired of this beautiful scene and every time I see it I feel my heart fill up with happiness. I think of the lines from that famous Bossa Nova song—“the joy in your heart.”

Lagoa, I was happy to learn later after I’d move there, is far more than just a neighborhood surrounded with natural beauty. It also has shops, restaurants, and a happening night life. In addition, Lagoa is the sort of “Brazil” I really wanted my kids to grow up in–a Brazil where people of all backgrounds and income levels mix freely and happily. This was not some guarded enclave of the rich. Nor was it a poor fishing village. Instead, it is the urban center around which the south of the island gravitates and so it is the meeting place of all social strata. If you visit the little marina in the center of Lagoa you will find not only the fishing boats used by traditional fishermen, but also speedboats and cabin cruisers.

Just outside of Lagoa is a small bridge and then Rendeiras Ave with its many bars, restaurants, and even– hidden in the dunes– a rugby pitch used by the local rugby teams. (The Florianopolis ladies seven team includes many of the Brazil national seven a side women’s team that competed in the last World Cup.) At the top of Rendeiras you can rent all sorts of boats and kayaks and peddle vessels to row out into the lake. In the summer time this is a great place to swim, have fun, and then enjoy delicious grilled fish or shrimp in the restaurants just across the road.

In Lagoa one can also catch a boat – a water taxi that serves the coast around Lagoa. This is one of the most scenic areas of Florianópolis and can only be reached by foot or by boat. This wild coast is dotted with little hamlets where life has remained much as it was before Florianópolis became an international tourist destination. You can stop at any of the landings, have lunch, swim, and then return to your hotel by nightfall.

So, to make a long story short, love at first sight turned into a long and enduring romance. There is no place I would rather live in Florianópolis than Lagoa and so that’s why I decided to open Janela de Marcia there. What is best about the B&B is that while it’s just a short walk from all the town’s attractions, it is still in a quiet residential neighborhood and so you have the feeling of actually living in this beautiful town, rather than just being a visitor. Added to that it the special hospitality that we offer here at Janela de Marcia. Taken all together, you will have the sort of experience I want for all visitors to this country—to feel the warmth, joy, and fun of life in Brazil.

* Waldorf education is a pedagogy based upon the educational philosophy of the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner


4 Responses

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  1. Thanks Marcia for reminding me of the dream I realized when I came down to visit you on the Island. You truely do live in paradise! I will never forget learning how to surf and dancing in the streets to your Maracatu Music during Carnival!! I can’t even put the taste of your delicious food to words! I have been looking forward to my next visit!!

    Scott Royder

    March 30, 2010 at 11:26 pm

  2. I have been a guest of Marcia’s and can only say you are in for a treat! Before you even know what’s happening she will know exactly what you need and have plans underway. Do you need to rest and relax? A quiet hammock is waiting for you. Do you need one of the best meals you’ve ever had? She will either prepare one for you (she is an excellent and creative cook) or she will recommend to you one of the fine restaurants in the area. Are you overdue for some serious fun? She knows where to find it. Or maybe you want to explore the area–it’s natural beauty or the wonderful Brazilian culture. Marcia will guide you toward what you need even if you’re not quite sure what it is. After your visit you’ll have already made an intention to return–for more of what you discovered while a guest at her fabulous bed and breakfast.

    Margalo Fielding

    March 30, 2010 at 2:32 am

  3. Love your blog!

    Michael DiLeo

    March 29, 2010 at 6:02 am

    • Thank you Michael,
      I am waiting for a visit !


      March 30, 2010 at 1:36 am

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