The sun seeped gently through the wooden shutter doors from the little balcony in the bedroom, birds chirping amongst the jungle of avocado trees out front. I awoke, cocooned in at least three blankets, freezing from the chilly São Paulo evening – down south of Brazil, it gets way colder at night (something we definitely hadn’t prepared for). Like a slug, I slipped from my bed and went out to the balcony to soak up some light after the cold, dark night, ready to see the last of Brazil before going home.
The São Paulo Botanical Gardens was one of the last places we wanted to check out, so we slathered on sun cream, grabbed our bags and off we went to roam around trees and plants. Upon entering, a path with sky-high palm trees on either side takes you into the garden, where there are many trails and paths into various parts of the site. A large pond filled with lily pads sat at the heart of the garden, and further along was an amazing trail into a jungle of trees. Taking you through it was a wooden walkway suspended high into the air amongst the tree-trunks. It was serene. The shade of the trees made the air cool and refreshing, and birds and crickets sang in the background. This is definitely a place you could spend a whole day in, but we had only maybe two hours. If you plan to visit, definitely grab a picnic and set yourself up to spend a long time in this beautiful place.
Upon leaving, we grabbed some scarily red popcorn (it was red-coloured caramel hahaahah what) from a street-food vendor just outside to snack on whilst we got an uber to Parque Ibirapuera, a famous park in the heart of the city which was back in the direction of the neighbourhood we were staying in.
Filled with museums, large ponds and fun outdoor spaces, the park was actually built along the lines of English landscape gardens, also being the first metropolitan garden of São Paulo. Featuring buildings designed by the incredible architect Oscar Niemeyer, alongside a variety of museums and exhibition spaces, this park is an amazing hotspot for locals and tourists alike. You can stroll around a historic Japanese pavilion, explore the universe in Aristotle’s Planetarium, visit a museum of Afro-Brazilian culture, or just cycle, skate or walk around the amazing grounds.
Far into the garden was the Museum of Modern Art (MAM) which I definitely wanted to check out after having missed the famous MASP art gallery. For a reasonable price, you get access to several exhibits at the gallery, all of which feature modern, and fairly abstract and impressionist art. The restaurant was also serving up some delicious looking grub, so if you’re in the market for a meal then definitely check that out.
Time was slipping through our fingers and we had only an hour or so left before we had to rush back to our apartment, grab our bags and run to the airport. With our leftover time, we headed back to Paulista Avenue, going to one cafe that was on my list to visit but we hadn’t made it there yet – Urbe Cafe. Now was the time!
I 100% insist this place is one of the first bars/cafes you must attend if you happen to be in the city. This hip cafe, which turns into a lively bar at night, boasts an amazing menu of coffee and food for all tastes. The vibe inside is young and buzzing, one wall on the far side covered in art and suspended bicycles. On another side are shelves filled with everything a coffee enthusiast needs, from beans to machines to books. As for the food and coffee served here, it’s so damn delicious. In a total rush, we had to make a hasty decision, grabbing two lattes, a Vietnamese style sandwich and a cheesecake with guava jam in a jar. The sandwich was so tasty, it may have been one of the tastiest, most flavoursome sandwiches I’ve ever had the honour of eating. The fresh and delicate Vietnamese flavours were a marriage made in heaven on my tongue, the ceremony majestic in my mouth and the reception even better in my belly. The coffee was also the best I had had in Brazil yet, having gotten used to the standard burned taste after two weeks, and the cheesecake with guava jam was a great Brazilian take on one of my favourite desserts. If I haven’t said it already, I love this cafe. I only wish we had come here sooner so we didn’t have to rush away so quickly…
Alas, we walked with haste to Paulista Avenue, the cafe being on a little side road, quickly soaked in the bustling atmosphere of the closed-off road, which was now filled with even more life than the day before, and jumped on a metro home to grab our things and get to the airport.
We stopped quickly to watch one band play…
From here on out, the nightmare to get home began, first by almost going to the entirely wrong airport, then getting there to find out that not only was outbound flight to Paris delayed, but our connection flight from Paris to Budapest had been cancelled due to strikes at Paris airport. What seemed initially like a fun day out in Paris, as we would have to get a flight the following day, turned into a total nightmare, featuring one crappy hotel, 150 euros worth of food vouchers, yet one more cancelled flight, two more flights from Paris to Prague and from Prague to Budapest, and two lost suitcases at the end of it all. At least in the midst of this total catastrophe, we dined like kings, having been put in business class, and thus in those fancy af business and first class lounges. I took all the damn food I could, including many fancy magazines, as compensation for our troubles. Nearly 48 hours later we finally made it home to Budapest, without our luggage and also without our sanity.
What was a tumultuous experience at the airport, and generally during our time in Brazil, has now has turned into a catastrophic, yet highly entertaining, story – a kind of ‘holiday from hell’ – that I’ll be telling for years to come.
Anyway, here are some pretty scenes from the uber ride to the airport in São Paulo…
Thanks for reading! <3