We awoke to the magical sound of screaming children across the road heading to school. What a joyous sound, kind of like the beautiful noise of fingernails scratching across a chalkboard.
(Pic from my last post)
Despite the shrill screeching of children this beautiful Sunday morning, it was a joy just waking up in our beautiful temporary home. We put on some jazz, drank some delicious coffee, munched on organic granola and enjoyed the amazing view from the living room; a glass window made up a whole wall, with a windowsill filled with cacti and leafy green plants, and further outdoors were a plethora of tall trees, almost making a little jungle in front and surrounding the apartment block. There was even an avocado tree right in front – I’ve never even seen how they grow!?! To our shock horror, it was actually sunny, I couldn’t believe my eyes; clear skies, no clouds, warm, yet a bit breezy. Thank. God.
First on our sightseeing list was Pinacoteca de Estado de São Paulo – or just Pinacoteca. This art gallery is one of the oldest art galleries in the city and one of the most important galleries in Brazil. That’s not to say that it was filled with classical art. Of course, there are some historical works, but the variety is what makes the gallery so great. On the outside, it’s a red-brick building from the 1900’s, situated in the beautiful Jardim da Luz, with pillars holding the facade up and palm trees surrounding it. Inside is an incredible space, with huge galleries and hallways and interiors, surrounded by red brick walls, and with some painted a brilliant white. Around the building were various rooms with various exhibits filled with art from Brazilian artists, some with contemporary art and sculpture, some photography, some naive art, some classical art, some dedicated to certain artists like Hilma of Klint and Emmanuel Nassar. At the top were more classical art pieces, but my favourite pieces by far were the more contemporary ones. Of all the art galleries we went to this was by far the best, and most reasonably priced, in São Paulo!
The sun was still shining by the time we got out – this was unheard of. A quick stroll through the park next door was in order, Jardim da Luz, which is definitely a must to do after visiting the gallery; it’s luscious and green, filled with tall thin palms, sparkling ponds with fountains and little nooks and crannies to sit and visit. There’s even an outdoor gym with every weight and machine made with rocks and natural materials. Be careful though, there are still some dodgy folk wondering around even the most beautiful of places….
From here, we wanted to see a few things nearby but the area seemed a bit dodgy… We walked to where were believed was the Memorial Resistance of São Paulo and the Sala de São Paulo, a grand music hall, but occupying the front of all the buildings were rows and rows of homeless people, probably on something sketchy (drugs), and so we made a hasty exit… if you can brave it I recommend finding out what these places were like (pls let me know how they are).
It was only about 20 minutes to get to São Paulo Municipal Market from there – a lively food market filled with amazing Brazilian produce and delicious food to satiate any taste. I had done my extensive research and found out about the most incredible mortadella sandwich in the world being served here. True Instagram, food porn, worthy grub. We ordered a large one to SHARE between us and it was WAY too much. Mortadella, perhaps stacked to about two-fist sizes high, was sandwiched between a bread bun and glued inside with melted cheese. Fat dripped all over our fingers as we sank our teeth into this heart-attack-inducing sandwich. Needless to say, we didn’t have to eat for a hours after this meat-filled madness. An ice-cold guarana was definitely in order to wash down the intensity of the moment as we sat gorging on this mental sarnie in the lively market.
We then walked through the madness that was a road called Rua 25 de Março; a crazy cacophony of sights, sounds and smells, bombarding all senses as you walk through. Imagine the busiest market you’ve ever seen, multiply it by 100, and then picture it overflowing onto roads of a city. Street-sellers pushed all kinds of crap onto you; cassava, USB operated gadgets, knock-off trainers, you name it. I held my belongings close to my body, staying alert and trying not to trip over the shit lining the pavements. We were actually trying to get to one beautiful monastery, Mosteiro de Sao Bento, which didn’t allow photos sadly, and that was the ‘best’ route.
Right next-door to the monastery was the Santa Ifigenia viaduct, which isn’t anything incredibly special but I thought it was kind of cool (at least photo worthy). Also right nearby was the famous Martinelli building. It was, in fact, the first skyscraper built in Brazil and designed by Italian-Brazilian entrepreneur Giuseppe Martinelli. You used to be able to climb to the rooftop for an amazing view of the city, but sadly now you can only take a look at the building from the ground. Still worth it though.
The Martinelli building!
The whole area felt like New York, well, I’ve never been but it looked like all the pictures. From the not-so-safe crazy market streets, this area seemed more business-y, and so a lot safer to walk around – but I can’t say for sure. We retreated to one Portuguese bakery, Casa Mathilde, on the corner of the building opposite Martinelli, and ate the best Portuguese custard tarts of OUR LIVES. You could see them being all freshly made, the pastry so delightfully crisp and buttery and the custard so creamy and sweet: it was heaven in a mouthful. You should definitely go to São Paulo just for these custard tarts.
Leaving to get to our next tourist spot…
We walked onwards and arrived at Red Bull Station. Like many places I had researched to visit in São Paulo, I didn’t actually quite know what it was but thought it was worth a visit anyway. It turned out to be a really amazing space, owned by Red Bull, it was an old station converted into an exhibition and event space, cafe and loads of music recording studios. There’s also a great view from the rooftop! On some days, they hold gigs, talks and other creative events. Basically, it’s a super amazing space for young creatives in São Paulo, particularly those interested in music.
Compulsory photoshoot on the rooftop…
The day FLEW by. I don’t know how but by now it was late afternoon and the sun was disappearing on us. Praça Da Se, a famous square in São Paulo with Cathedral da Se, was next to be visited, but the vibe was super weird. The beautiful square was just filled to the brim with homeless folk and drunkards. It just felt so unsafe and spoiled such a beautiful place. Getting out my camera for more than 10 seconds was a high-risk activity – I got in total two photos here. We were approached by one aggressive man trying to take my camera to ‘get a photo of us’. We knew his game… It was just such a shame and we retreated to a safe space – another Caixa Cultural only a short walk away which was free to enter and had some funky art exhibits…
São Paulo Cathedral.
Inside the Caixa Cultural.
Me trying this VR flying experience thing – I felt so nauseous ahahhaha.
After heading home for a much-needed nap (after having not seen the sun for so long, it hit us hard) we went to a hidden gem of a restaurant: Feed Food. This quirky hidden away restaurant serves up outstanding Brazilian-Italian fusion food at REALLY good prices. The interior is almost an exterior, filled with tall trees, wooden furniture and fairy lights. Try the divine buffalo mozzarella ball (which comes with this fresh tomato salsa), the quesadilla, and any of the mains…. I had a steak tartar with chips and salad but I also sampled this incredible salmon fillet with wasabi sauce and vegetable noodles. For a great evening with ya pals, this place, and the neighbourhood of Pinheiros, is definitely the place to be.