Video

Itinerary’s stopmotion

I’ve just finished a short stopmotion showing more or less what’s going to be the trip’s itinerary. Far from being a great production, and there are no reasons for such production.

Now officially the Youtube channel debuts. Subscribe and soon new videos, now about the trip itself, will be uploaded.

A little change of plans.

I’ve been asking myself for a long time if I should report this trip in my mother tongue, portuguese, or in english, so more people could see it. So I decided I will do both.

So this blog will be only in english while the new one “O Leste num Lada” (literally means The East on a Lada) will be only in portuguese. From now on every post there will be translated here.

If you didn’t like the page in Facebook (both languages in the same page), go there.

https://www.facebook.com/ladaroadtrip

 

Thank you =)

Automotive experiences, 2nd part – Italy.

Quer ler em português? Acesse AQUI.

 

In 1989 Brazil was through a lot of things. The Military Dictatorship finished four years before but still many brazilians didn’t have the feeling of choosing their own president. The new 1988 Constitution was already working, overtaking the 1967 one, fueled with the outrageous AI’s. But still freedom wasn’t full. Only going to the polls and choosing the new president would make these braziliand feel free for real.

The first democratically elected brazilian president in 29 years was Fernando Collor. Collor, as far as I’ve studied – because I can’t remember it – was young and he was “chosen” by the brazilian mass press to be the president. And the Media did it.

I don’t want to create any polemics, so I won’t express my opinion about him. The fact that he was the president is something that has changed my family’s life completely and that’s important for the understanding of the story.

In the previous post I’ve commented that in 1989 my mom was working in the public sector and my father was the owner of a small building supply store. We were facing Hyperinflation and deep economic instability. People weren’t constructing houses of building at all at that time.

So it was that the store bankrupted. My father and his brother-in-law sold everything they could and with the few bucks the made out ot it they invested in the private asset. Also, the Brown Brasília was a part of the payment my dad got from the new owner of the store.

With the little money on the private asset, almost nothing in our hands and an undesirable car in the garage, we entered in 1990. And Collor, aware of our great situation, assumed the chair in March 15. On the very next day he announced the so called and unforgettable Plano Collor. 80% of all the private assets were blocked without any warning. So, literally, from one day to another our situation was from awful to unsustainable.

Without any cash, with the few we had blocked, my father unemployed and my mom with an underpaid job, we were thrown to our own luck of the “neo-poor” of the Plano Collor.

We sold the car, which gave us some relief for a while. Time enough to trace the escape plan. In 1989 some relatives from Italy came to visit Brazil and my father, who knew how to speak italian, helped them.

These relatives were cousing from a far degree from my Grandmother, who came to Brazil in the beginning of the last century and never gained brazilian citizenship. So my father (and me as well) was born already with two citizenships, brazilian and italian.

The friendship between us and our relatives in Italy was very high and as soon as they knew what was going on here, they called us to know how we were doing. My father told them the bad news and they offered us a helping hand. What a help!

First the paid us all, me, my sister, mom, dad and my grandmother, tickets to go visit them in Italy. Once there, they made the offer to us: they would arrange a house for us close to them, a job for my parents and all the assistance we needed until we could go back to our own feet.

My father didn’t even come back, he stood there. We came back and while my mom was seeking someone to rent our house, me and my sister were getting used to the idea of moving to completely new country.

Before we go, we received a letter from my father with the good news. He had found a job in a furniture industry, rented a house close to the factory and even bought a car for us. How fast!

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(In the picture my father is the one in front of the car. An Autobianch A112 from 1975)

In the end of the year we were all together in our new hometown, Pasiano di Pordenone, in the Friuli region, Italian northeastern.

My father at his new job, my mom working as housemaid, me and my sister making new friends in school. We were well, happy, free. We were only missing out beloved tropical and naturally blessed country.

In Italy I started to get interested about cars. There they live it. And me, a sponge as all kids, was absorving this culture.

Between posters of Rijkaard and Frank De Boer from my sister, I had mine from Formula One Cars, Ferraris, Maseratis and so on, on our bedroom wall.

My passion for F1 and, of course, Ayrton Senna, started there. I remember to have some diecast models from Bburago. I had a F1 green car that, now I know, was a Benetton. But I also had the blue one from Williams. Unfortunately I struck them all against the wall pretending they were crashing while racing. Sorrow.

The Autobianchi A112, besides its size, was a great car. We travelled a lot with it on our weekends. We spent Christmas in Munich, went until Salzburg and even to some caves and lakes in Slovenia. With snow without chains and everything worked out great.

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(Us in our Autobianchi somewhere in Italy)

My father wanted to have two cars and bought a Fiat Duna 1987. Even newer, bigger and stronger than the Autobianchi, this car just gave us trouble and didn’t last long. We don’t miss it at all.

Whilst, the Autobianchi was strong and steady. My father even tried to bring it with us back to Brazil, when we decided to come back in 1993, when the Plano Collor was finally over. But unfortunately he couldn’t.

Nowadays this car is a rare piece in the countries where it was sold. The brand was bought by Lancia.

And then, after two and a half years living in Europe, we came back to Brazil.

It continues…

Automotive experiences, 1st part – The first memories.

Quer ler em português? Acesse AQUI.

 

Iniciando uma “série” de relatos sobre as minhas experiências com carros, começo falando sobre as minhas primeiras lembranças automobilísticas.

I would like to talk about my previous experiences with cars. I start talking about my first memories.

I’m a middle-class person. I’ve always been. When I was born, in 1987, my parents, even with so-so jobs – if compared with their actual ones – were still in a better shape than much of the brazilian population. My mom was working in the public sector, in a very initial position, and my father was one of the owners of a building supply store – in a time when people weren’t buying stuff like that.

We could still manage to live a reasonable life and we even had a car, something that was impossible for those who weren’t middle-class – even if the lower middle-class. My mom and dad came from big and simple families and they were doubtless that even the little they had then was much more than what they had when in childhood.

The public sector, where my mom was working, gave her some good things, like school for my older sister and a maternity leave without the fear of losing her job. While my father was living the economical instability and the store was under real pressure.

I, obviously, don’t remember which car we had when I was born, but my father said was a VW Beetle. It was so old he didn’t remember the year very well – he assumes was 1971 – but the colour he did remember: white. This beetle has some history.

When I was still kicking my mom’s belly, we went to Santa Catarina state, in south of Brazil. My parentes used to say it was my first road trip. So sad I can’t remember it very well.

After the Beetle we had a Belina (a Ford car that was only made here, it was the station wagon version of the Corcel) and my father really loved that car. It was a 1982 version, much better than the previous car.

When I was only a year old, we were all going to my grandma’s house through a highway called Marginal Tietê. We were living 15 km away, in different neighborhoods of São Paulo. We lived in Pirituba and my granny in Penha. The road is crowded all day long since always. My father saw a Beetle from the Police coming very fast behind him. He gave he sign indicating he was going to change lanes, so the Police car (without the lights turned on, so it wasn’t chasing anyone) could overtake us. When my father was going to the lane on the right, the Police decided to overtake us through the same lane my father was going to. Result: a huge car crash and hopefully no one was hurt. Me and my sister were really scared and crying while my father was arguing with the Policeman. He was ironic and said “Go to the court and try to prove I was wrong. Maybe in 10 years they will pay you something”. And even 10 years later nothing happened. Ruined car and no money. Buhbye Belina.

 

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The final detail: the Police Beetle was, literally, just fixed from a previous accident. It was the very first time it was on the road again. The picture above is from a police car from those times, but I’m not sure if it’s the same.

After the Belina we had a Brasília. The colour none of us really remember it. It was a car that, in my father words, “never left the garage”. Another Volkswagen old stood there. Even though, my first picture next to a car was with it. In the black and white picture we can’t really know what is the colour of the car, but I assume it was brown. Together with me is my older sister and out forever beloved Giuly, gently called Giulinha, out half dalmatian, half stray dog that only deceased in 2006, almost 17 years old. So this picture is from the last half of 1989. I was almost 3 years old already.

 

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This car was our last one before we had to leave and go live in Italy. There the history was quite different.

In the next part I will tell more details about the cars we had in Italy and the reasons we had to move to another country.

 

Obrigado, Flavio Gomes.

Após algumas semanas de negociação, por assim dizer, o Flavio publicou em seu lendário blog Warm Up a respeito da viagem. E esse mirrado blog, que até então colecionava pouco mais de 2 centenas de visitantes, de ontem para hoje triplicou esse número! Inclusive com um comentário! Uau!

Mas, como disse acima, já havia algumas semanas que entrara em contato com o Flavio. Comentei em seu blog sobre minha viagem e qual não foi a minha surpresa? Alguns minutos depois havia recebido um e-mail pessoal do próprio, me perguntando mais detalhes da viagem. Daí se iniciou uma breve conversa e ficou combinado que assim que esse blog começasse a publicar com uma frequência maior – o que vem acontecendo essa semana – ele o publicaria em seu blog. Dito e feito.

Agradeço a todos que chegaram aqui por intermédio do Flavio – e não foram poucos. E asseguro-lhes que novas publicações virão!

A viagem em si começa só na primeira semana de Maio, mas até lá vou falando um pouco das minhas experiências em viagens e automobilísticas. Até para que quem não me conhece comece a saber um pouco quem sou e quais os meus propósitos.

Mais uma vez, peço que curtam a página no Facebook (que também colecionou dezenas de Likes de uma hora para outra).

Quem quiser contribuir para a viagem com alguma doação (haverá recompensas!), entrem em contato direto comigo pelo email renatomattar@yahoo.com.br

 

Obrigado a todos e continuem acessando o blog. Em breve falarei um pouco sobre as minhas (poucas) experiências automobilísticas ao redor do mundo.

 

Abraços.

Aside

Lada Road Trip. Why?

Quer ler em português? Acesse AQUI.

 

A Brazilian road tripping Eastern Europe on a Lada. Wait a second, did you just say a Brazilian road tripping Eastern Europe on a Lada? Yes. That’s it!

But, first, let me tell you a little bit about myself.

In 2010 I had a once in a life time chance to move to Vilnius, Lithuania, and spend a semester studying at Vilnius University. My love for Eastern Europe started then and since I’m back, I’m sure I left my heart somewhere around there.

From Lithuania I could travel to some neighboring countries, like Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Belarus while still studying. When my classes were over, instead of comeback straight, I took my backpack and left, without a precise destiny. All I had was a flight ticket to Tbilisi, Georgia, that I was gifted from a Georgian friend. So I took it and started my 66 days backpacking in completely mysterious – for me at least – Georgia.

The trip was, in order, Georgia, Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Slovenia and Italy.

The highlights of trip were (all, but I’ve chosen just five):

Stepantsminda, Georgia. This small town in the border with Russia is home to the Kazbegi National Park, one of the most breath taking mountains I have ever seen. The Gergeti Trinity Church, in the peak of a smaller hill, sets the perfect scenery for the place. Worth visiting! Whole Georgia is a great place to go and I highly advise anyone to go there.

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Ohrid, Macedonia. On the shores of the lake with the same name, Ohrid is a touristic town in the Albanian border. Cheap hostels, crowded streets and good food, this place should be in anyone’s itinerary in the Balkans.

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Kotor, Montenegro. If you think Dubrovnik is amazing but you are running short of money to go there, try Kotor. Dubrovnik’s miniature, Kotor is charming, cheap, easily accessed and amazing. Don’t forget to stop at Budva and take a look at the small Sveti Stefan peninsula there.

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Nida, Lithuania. This small seaside town is located in the Curonian Spit, in the border with Russian Kaliningrad. Sand dunes, colorful wooden houses and wind, lots of wind, this place is simply amazing.

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Tallinn, Estonia. The smallest of the capitals from the so called Baltic States is actually more Scandinavian than eastern European. The old town is well preserved and shows the shared history Estonia had with Finland. You will feel like in medieval times!

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Back home and the Lada Road Trip idea.

 

Since I’m back to Brazil I’ve been planning to go back to Eastern Europe, but this time not as tourist. The idea of use an iconic soviet-era car came up instantly. I always liked the Ladas and their lack of design innovations throughout the years. And as they were popular in Brazil in the beginning of the 90´s, I thought it would be a way to enlight a trip that could be unattractive for some people. This way I could add different people and opinions in just one objective – to explore and show the Eastern Europe after the fall of communism.

Now you may be asking yourself “a lot of westerns already came here with this same idea, to show how here changed since communism dictators were all put away”. And you are right. But this time is a little bit different. Instead of asking the elderly and mid-aged generations, that have lived both controversial years and nowadays, I’d like to know the new generation opinion. The young people who are now between its 20-30 years old, who were born in the very end of communism or after it and haven’t lived those times actively.

And for that I took myself as an example. In Brazil we had a military dictatorship that ruled the country for two decades, from 1964 untill 1985. I was born in 1987, so, I didn’t live those dark years myself. But I have a strong opinion about those times and how they affect present days here. And since I’ve been to at least a dozen of former communist countries, meeting and having fun with lots of young people, I’ve noticed they have the same thing as me. They didn’t live those years, but still have a strong opinion about it. Let’s show it to the people and try to understand what really goes on at this shiny part of the World now.

Feel free to contact me and ask me anything about the trip. Facebook page.

Is this the one?

Quer ler em português? Acesse AQUI.

 

I’ve been searching for the perfect car for the trip for ages. I remember a white Lada 2101 I found even before arriving in Vilnius, in 2010. I was stunned with the price (something around 300 euros) and I really thought about buying it. It would have been cool, but completely useless. I’m glad I didn’t buy it.

Weekly I search for new offers in Polish websites – country where I intend to buy the car. I found a green one 3 months ago. Gorgeous, just gorgeous. I’m a big fan of green (it’s the colour of the football club I support, Palmeiras). The price was somehow higher than what I was expecting to pay, 1500 euros. I left it in stand by and kept searching. Found anothers for lower prices. There were one quite interesting. “Younger” than the green one (the green one is 1981/1982), this one was 1988. Less than 60000 km and the reason: the car is owned by a disabled person that barely took it off the parking lot. In the offer he stated that no one has ever used the back seats. The price? 800 euros! My eyes were shinning and I asked my polish friend, Tomek, to contact the owner. He tried but couldn’t and a few days later the offer disappeared. But the green one is still there.

And for my surprise, I check it out and the price is 300 euros lower than before. Now the owner wants 1200 euros and says it’s possible to negotiate. So, is this the one?

The link for the offer is here.

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Leave your comment. It is always important to know your opinion.