All posts filed under: Blog

Obrigada, Brazil! | São Paulo, Brazil ~ Day 16

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 …

Free Range Tourism (PART 2) | São Paulo, Brazil ~ Day 15

*PART 1 OF A 2 PART STORY… HEAD HERE FOR THE FIRST BIT* * We rushed SESC to cram everything else in we had left to see, our next stop being Beco do Batman, which is a famous alley filled with loads of incredible street art (but packed with crazy tourists). The area was amazing too, a really great place for young people. We slipped into one little place that looked kind of like a place to buy furniture and groovy things but also a place to tailor and design these things. I’m not entirely sure but it was picture-perfect. Dodging Instagram girls getting that duck face selfie in front of the artwork, we walked through Beco do Batman after our brief pitstop at design heaven, stopping briefly at little stalls which sold local dairy products (mainly cheese). The colourful, vibrant and dynamic walls suited the neighbourhood, which seemed to be seething with life. Toward the far end of the alley, and just a bit more of a walk away, there was a great staircase, …

Free Range Tourism (PART 1) | São Paulo, Brazil ~ Day 15

Our next morning in São Paulo was spent at Fernando Costa Park, an incredibly stunning park toward the north of the city, filled with colonial style yellow buildings, free-range chickens and chicks, tropical trees and shimmering ponds. A food market and fair were setting up in one part of the park as people were trickled into the park on this gloriously sunny morning. We meandered around the ponds and palms, chasing chickens and screaming at the baby chicks (ok that was just me). I had heard there was great organic breakfast at the park every Saturday morning, hence our visit. We reached a group of yellow buildings, to which on the other side were many people sitting at tables and eating the very breakfast I was in search of. Two men played on guitars to one side as people flooded into a building in front which housed an organic farmers market, filled with all sort of fresh organic produce. EEEEEE. In front of the entrance was a little hut, where a handful of people were …

City Dwellers | São Paulo, Brazil ~ Day 14

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 …

SSA > GRU | Salvador – São Paulo, Brazil ~ Day 13

We said farewell to the amazing Salvador by firstly having a quick look and the amazing hidden street art on the exact road we were staying on and the amazing painted dutch tiles on the facades of houses…. Painted tiles. AMAZING STREET ART. After the fastest photo-taking ever (we were totally blocking a one-way road) we took a quick visit to the city’s most famous market, the Mercado Modelo, which is filled souvenirs at amazing prices, food and even capoeira. Right at the bottom of the Elevador Lacerda and near the port, it’s definitely a hotspot for any tourist in need of holiday gifts. We had spent the morning just packing and saying goodbye to our magical Airbnb, so we were starved and grabbed some pastel and juice from a nearby lanchonete. It felt like the Brazilian version of an American diner; dashingly dressed old men drank coffee from plastic cups, freshly made goods were dished up on scratched plastic plates and the swivelling bar-like stools wobbled precariously when sat on. We each had a …

(All I Wanna Say is That) The Weather Don’t Really Care About Us (PART 2)| Salvador, Brazil ~ Day 12

(PART 2 OF A TWO-PART STORY – HERE IS PART 1) * To our total shock horror, when we stepped out of the restaurant, it was gloriously sunny outside, with no sign of rain. WTF BRAZIL. 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 …

(All I Wanna Say is That) The Weather Don’t Really Care About Us (PART 1)| Salvador, Brazil ~ Day 12

Rain and thunder provided the soundtrack to our morning in our beautiful Airbnb. I walked out onto the drenched terrace barefoot to look at the beautiful pink flowers, which were now flopping sadly from the bush they grew from, and at the horizon, which was engulfed in fog with no sun in sight. I figured, as long as I wasn’t sick then nothing was going to ruin this day, no matter how much rain. We rushed out, needing to cram as much into the day as possible, first heading up the cute road we were staying on to one area with a park in the centre and a large majestic white church to the right – Paróquia de Santo Antônio. Right ahead, behind the park, was Forte de Capoeira, a historic fortress dedicated to the history and practice of Capoeira (an Afro-Brazilian martial art, which is like a fight and a dance at the same time). It seemed completely empty when we arrived, the early morning and rain probably being the main culprit. We walked …

An Afro-Brazilian Jewel | Salvador, Brazil ~ Day 11 (Evening)

I don’t know how and why but the journey back from a place always seems way shorter than a journey to a place. You would think it would be the opposite way around… the anticipation gone, with maybe a little misery in the air as to the passing moments of joy… On that sunny and positive thought, we finally arrived back in Salvador after 4 hours of driving and another hour on the ferry back to the port of the city from Ilha de Itaparica. The sun set as we left the harbour in Bom Despacho, and we sat on the floor of the ferry ‘balcony’ watching the landscape turn from a bright blue to a beautiful magenta, then purple, then navy blue speckled with clouds and stars. It should’ve only been a ten-minute ride to our Airbnb from the harbour, but oh boy nothing could’ve prepared us for the spaghetti that is the roads and streets of Salvador. Maybe 40 minutes later we actually got to the place, thoroughly infuriated after missing nearly every …

How Chocolate is Made! A Cocoa Farm Adventure | Itacaré, Brazil ~ Day 11

We had a mere few hours left in Itacaré, those of which were filled with heavy rain and uncertainty as to whether to head straight to Salvador or hang around and visit one last place that I had in mind: Vila Rosa. Itacaré belongs to the ‘cocoa coast’ and, until recently, the town’s livelihood and history was very intimately connected to cocoa production. The town actually was a notorious hangout for Dutch and Portuguese pirates during the early colonial period and then later became a haven for cocoa plantations. When on a boat sailing through the river running next to the town, and then through Brazil, you’ll spot acres and acres of cocoa farms, boasting as much cocoa as you can possibly imagine. One farm of which belonging to Vila Rosa, a historic house only 30 minutes driving away from Itacaré.  It was pouring down with rain and we had to make a snap decision whilst driving out of the town. At Vila Rosa, you could head on an amazing cocoa farm tour for only 50 …

A Tropical Tale (PART 2) | Itacaré, Brazil ~ Day 10

*FOR PART 1 HEAD HERE* * Totally starved after our magical hike to Prainha beach in Itacaré, we ventured to the main road of the town which is filled with bars and restaurants and shops. At the nearest end of the road was La Cabana Restaurant, recommended to us by our tour guide for amazing Bahian food. Having been awfully sick the past few days, we were terrified of eating anything too crazy (basically anything that wasn’t a can of guarana or crisps). It had been two days or so since, so we took our chances and ordered a tropical meal fit for a queen; a piece of meaty white grilled fish with a passionfruit sauce, rice steamed with mango and fresh grilled vegetables. The sweet meaty fish seemed crazy to be paired with the creamy, tangy and fruity passionfruit sauce. After having not eaten for a few days, my tastebuds were totally overwhelmed. The rice was… fruity?!?! What was this abomination?! The only flavour I could recognise came from the grilled red peppers, aubergines …