To our total shock horror, when we stepped out of the restaurant, it was gloriously sunny outside, with no sign of rain.
Without questioning it, I whipped out my damp camera and started snapping everything I could, even getting ‘blessed’ by a man wearing a beautifully patterned robe and holding holy water in one hand and a bunch of, I assume holy, leaves in the other.
I had no idea what was happening here.
Despite the sudden turn of events, I could feel my poor skin begin to sizzle in the sun, still feeling the literal burn of Itacaré. Street photography turned into a sudden dash to the car to retrieve my suncream, but alas, my skin wasn’t yet to be saved; coming from just up the road, I could recognise that distinctive twanging sound of the berimbau anywhere, following by the beating of the acabate and choral singing. Capoeiristas were practising and playing music in the very square we had been hanging out in all day!
Some street cats on the way…
Now I’m no expert but I’ve been practising capoeira for a handful of months, nearly about the change my first belt, so this was pretty cool – the best damn research I’ve ever done. Hesitantly I neared closer to try and participate somehow, and suddenly got taken on a capoeira whirlwind for a twenty minutes or so, playing with the other, extremely buff and tanned, capoeiristas and then being demoted to hand-clapping with the musicians. I even managed to barely converse in Portuguese, which was probably an even bigger feat.
Before saying goodbye forever, we asked if I could get some documentary style images of them…
After hanging around for way too long (we must’ve been super annoying) we went about our day once again, the rain clouds having rolled in as per usual and my skin having turned an even brighter shade of red, as per usual. The big stunning peach building behind the capoeristas turned out to be a museum of Afro-Brazilian culture, Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia da UFBA, and so we visited the great exhibits on show.
My skin was a goner by the time we actually reached the car, the activity having become a forgotten thought at the mere sound of the berimbau. To soothe the pain, what would be better than a shot of cachaça? Well, many things, but suspend your belief for me. ‘O Cravinho’ is supposedly the best cachaça place in Salvador, there being many many different flavours for you to sample (of course, this probably isn’t the best idea). The cachaça is stored in traditional wooden barrels and then served with a bunch of things I can’t quite recollect, but one of the ingredients was fresh honey. ‘Cravinho’ means clove, and so their signature flavour was a spicy clove cachaça (which I pretty much shotted in the end. Of course, this probably wasn’t the best idea).
Rather staggeredly, we roamed around Pelourinho once more, now that our feet were finally dry and the roads were no longer rivers. We visited the fallen cross monument once more and then returned to the Elevator Lacerda to properly enjoy the beautiful view in the mid-afternoon sun.
The fallen cross monument again, but now in the sun.
Tapioca ice lolly… so weird but strangely good.
Someone spilled their dogs.
Igreja e Convento de São Francisco from the outside.
Guys playing games.
Time was tight, dinner reservations having already been made at an amazing restaurant I had googled months ago and we still had to see one more sight – The Bahia Nautico Museum and Lighthouse.
It was only a short drive from Pelourinho to the lighthouse. On exiting the car, our skin became instantly humid and moist from the strong sea breeze. Salvador, located on the coast, when the tide is low, also features many a decent beach, great for surfing or just going for a wild swim. We walked along the seaside briskly to reach Barra lighthouse, perched on top of a little hill on Barra beach. This place interestingly used to be a fort but now houses an incredible nautical museum, filled with amazing items, including antique tools for astronomy, framed nautical maps and even a little exhibit with (hand-constructed) ships in bottles. It was a real treasure trove.
A narrow spiral staircase took us up the lighthouse itself until we reached a balcony which had amazing views out over the sea, the coast of Salvador and onto the rocks below where people were exploring. Whilst we were there, there was also some kind of navy parade or ceremony going, which was pretty fitting for a location such as this.
Sugar cane dealer.
Dinnertime beckoned and it did not disappoint. We went to Paraiso Tropical; a multi-award winning tropical restaurant, kind of in the middle of nowhere, not exactly budget, but totally worth it – it’s also a steal for the quality of food you get. It’s more of a lunchtime place, but time was not our friend, and so we arrived as the sun had set and dined in dim lights amongst the sounds of crickets chirruping in the vast gardens around the restaurant, where they actually source most, if not all, of their ingredients. On the menu are a vast array of items, all revolving around fresh fish and fresh fruit – yes, it sounds nuts, but stay with me here. Aside from the compulsory Bahian moquecas – moqueca is a traditional stew made normally with fish and coconut milk – there were massive platters with fresh seafood and grilled tropical fruits – of course, we had to sample once.
When I think of Brazil, I would think of a dish like this; fresh tender seafood (think squid, shrimps, fish) so sweet, so juicy and meaty, yet delectably savoury, accompanied by sweet and tangy fruits, like pineapple, guava and so many more I couldn’t even recognise – the world of fruits is crazy over there. For drinks, they make these incredible fruit “slushies”, made with fresh frozen fruit and nothing else. We had a graviola one, brought to us in a large jug, and it was perfect to sooth the heat of the humid Brazilian evening.
Looks kind of gross in the crappy light BUT IT WAS FREAKING DELICIOUS.
Fruit for dessert.
This was sadly our last evening in Salvador, and Bahia, so it was the perfect end to a perfect trip (minus the not so perfect weather). Tomorrow we were to head to São Paulo for even more sightseeing and delicious food…