December 2013


January 2014

Over Christmas and New Year's Eve 2013/14, we picked eastern Brazil as our holiday destination. We started in Salvador de Bahia, went from there to Lençois and the Chapada Diamantina, flew to Sao Paulo where we picked up a car to drive via Paratí on the coast to Rio de Janeiro and Niteroi where we ended this 2-week trip. Colourful, diverse, but at times also quite unsafe, especially in Salvador and Rio where local police advises to avoid certain city districts.

This time we went to Brazil. Since it's such a huge country, we zoomed in on two regions: Bahia (Salvador & Lençóis) and the two main cities São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and the coastal zone between them.
Rua Direita de Santo Antonio in Salvador where our Pousada was located.
Colourful houses in Salvador
Igreja da Ordem Terceira do Carmo
Ladeira do Carmo
More colourful houses
Rua das Portas do Carmo
Modern architecture, badly maintained. Looks a lot worse than old architecture that's badly maintained.
View from Rua Chile towards the Southern Atlantic Ocean
The lacerda elevator was built in the 1870′s and links the high ground of Salvador’s Historic Center with the beach and wharf district below.
Forte São Marcelo in the Salvador Bay
Have a seat...
Many old buildings here are derelict and in dire need of renovation
Street vendors making lunch for the working class
Rua Miguel Calmon
Casa Caboclo
Telephone switchboard
Rua Pinto Martins towards Ladeira de Montanha
More derelict buildings in Rua Sanos Dumont. Quite beautiful though with all that ivy sticking out.
Junk yard
The convent of Igreja de Sao Francisco. Finished around 1752, decorated with blue-white tile (azulejo) panels.
The tiles have moralistic allegories based on 17th century-Flemish engravings and sayings by Roman poet Horace
Portuguese-Brazilian Baroque gilt woodwork art or 'talha dourada'
This place hosts a rococo gallery of saints and angels which are quite unique and were carved by slaves
Black ladies in traditional Bahia clothes trying to lure tourists into their shops
Traditional dresses Bahia style
Farol da Barra, on the most south western tip of Salvador
17th century Portuguese canon that helped protect Salvador against Dutch invasions lead by the infamous Piet Heyn
The lighthouse on the inside
Incredibly detailed ships in bottles in a permanent exhibit inside the Farol da Barra
The sleepy town of Cachoeira (waterfall in Portuguese)
The square in front of the former town hall
First sight of the Chapada Diamantina
Chapada is a Brazilian word that means a region of steep cliffs, usually at the edge of a plateau
Diamantina refers to the diamonds found there in the mid-19th century.
Huge toad crossing our path
Cave man
Toads first
Climbing Pai Ignaçio
Vertigo? My ass...
On top of the plateau the views are magnificent
Pai Ignaçio
The road to Lençóis
Squeezing sweet juice out of sugar canes
View from our hotel terrace on Lençóis
Nice room with a small balcony overlooking the river rapids
Great place for late afternoon winding down time
Cave swimming
Last night of the year, party time in the centre of town!
But a game of chess is sacred sometimes...
The drums do the talking
Buffet dinner, inescapable on the last night of the year, anywhere in the world
Dressed for the occasion
Starting the new year with a brisk walk through a still sleepy town
Lunch time - and a dodgy wifi connection for some picture uploads to Instagram and Facebook
Escaping the scorching midday sun in a hippy hangout
The owner's son - probably
And now for something completely different: the morning view from our hotel room in São Paulo
Nice spot to overlook the city
Looking towards the downtown business district
Igreja Nossa Senhora do Brasil
Igreja Nossa Senhora do Brasil
Igreja Nossa Senhora do Brasil
This church - built in 1940 - is nowadays one of the most popular wedding locations in São Paulo
Even the toilets have this eclectical baroque decor
The entrance of the Auditorio do Ibirapuera - designed by Oscar Niemeyer, who else - tries to lick you inside with a large, protruding red tongue
Upstairs in Hotel Unique
One of the wonderful Brazilian delicatessen. This one is called Galeria dos Paes.
Über kitsch on the Avenida Paulista
Colorful produce in the local food market
And huge beer cans...
Market overview
Favorite lunch place for Paulistas that stayed in town over the holidays
Dried fish
And lots of sausages!
Paraty is a preserved Portuguese colonial (1500–1822) and Brazilian Imperial (1822–1889) town with a population of about 36,000.
Paraty is known for the cobblestone-paved streets. No cars or trucks are allowed in this part of town, only foot traffic or bicycles.
Paraty has been able to maintain many of its historic buildings. Much of the architecture of the city has not changed for 250 years or more.
Lively evening crowd in Paraty
Our hotel in Paraty borders on the Rio Pereque Acu
Breakfast in the lush garden
Picinguaba beach
Picinguaba is more a coastal fisherman's town than a regular beach
Not as crowded as the other beaches along the Costa Verde, that's probably why we liked it here
A holiday in Brazil can't pass without at least one day at the beach, right?
Guess who the whitey is...
Igreja Matriz da Nossa Senhora dos Remédios
Street food vendors
Fantastic evening atmosphere, 27 degrees celsius
When there is a full moon and the tide is high, seawater pours into the Historic Center District through special openings in the seawalls that separate the city from the harbour
The Capela de Santa Rita has seen better days...
Around 10.30 pm most tourists call it a day and the city slowly turns back to it's normal sleepy state
Ha! We've arrived in Rio. This is Mama Ruisa, our luxury retreat for the last 4 days of our trip.
The hotel is located in Santa Teresa, an example of a genuine Carioca neighborhood with the charm of its 19th-Century colonial architecture
A super nice place indeed with fantastic views over the Bay
A hummingbird passes but we didn't pack our big zoom lens this time...
Cafecito in Santa Teresa. Good place to hang out on the hottest hours of the day
Santa Teresa street corner
On a wall we found this old b&w picture of a street crossing...
...when we looked behind us we saw the same crossing, even with the Beetle standing on the same corner
Beetles were built in Brazil long after they stopped building them in Germany
The famous Santa Teresa street car - the Bonindho - is not in operation since a big accident with multiple casualties in the fall of 2011
Inhabitants of Santa Teresa miss the Bonindho - and its role in pulling tourists to the neighborhood - deerly. You see these cute stickers everywhere.
The Catedral Metropolitana is a typical example of 'brutal' architecture. The outside is made of grey concrete without any church-like decorations
The inside has a completely different atmosphere though, due to the light filtering in through the huge stained glass windows
One of the strangest arenas we've ever come across. More like a narrow road with concrete bleachers along both sides, stretching about 2 kilometers
This is the Sambodromo, location of the famous yearly Rio Carnaval parade!
Estádio do Maracanã, the largest football stadium in South America.
The stadium was opened in 1950 to host the FIFA World Cup, in which Brazil were beaten 2–1 by Uruguay in the final
On our way to Jesus. In Rio, in order to meet Him, you normally take the Trem
Corcovado, meaning 'hunchback' in Portuguese, is known worldwide for the 38-metre statue of Jesus atop its peak, entitled 'Christ the Redeemer'
The workshop where the Trem carriages are maintained
On our way to the top
Cristo Rendentor on top of Corcovado Mountain is a symbol of Brazilian culture
Cristo Redentor has been subjected to various appearances in popular cultural works like movies and video games
On a clear day you can see forever
Sugar Loaf Mountain on the left, Copacabana beach to the right, between the hills
The viewing platform is usually filled with people
Vie enjoying the view from the gondola
Next stop: Sugar Loaf Mountain which gives a very different overview over the city
This is what Corcovado and Cristo Rendentor look like from Sugar Loaf Mountain
Favela perched between the hills of Rio
Copacabana beach behind the gondola
We cannot escape it: a visit to the famous Rio beaches. This is Ipanema.
Ipanema Beach
It's an easy walk down from Santa Teresa, through Lapa, to the downtown business district
Lapa is renowned for its nightlife with many Samba clubs and music venues
Confeitaria Colombo, founded in 1894, is Brazil's most famous pastry shop and tearoom
Inspired in the grand tearooms of Europe, Colombo was founded at first as a pastry shop by Portuguese immigrants
Multiple and layered views due to the huge mirrors on the walls
Travessa do Comercio in downtown Rio
Last day in Rio: we decided to go across the Baía de Guanabara to Niterói. Why?
This is why. The famous Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói was designed by Oscar Niemeyer
Niemeyer called the design 'a flower' but to us and many others it looks of course like an alien spaceship that just landed
View on Niterói, framed by the double walkway
Inside the large disc
Straight walls inside appear to be curved due to the circular motives in the ceiling
Unfortunately, the upholstery and finishing inside the museum are a far cry from what the outside of the museum building promises
The exhibits were not worth the visit; it's the building that steals the show
Niemeyer chose the angle of the disc shaped museum to precisely match the angle of the slope of Sugar Loaf Mountain, across the Bay. Genious.
At the base of the disc there's a reflection pool. Underneath, a restaurant and café.
On our home journey we spent a full day in Lisbon due to a lengthy stopover
Elevador de Santa Justa
Rua da Conceiço
El trem, the 'bonde' of Lisbon
Retrozaria Bijou
Wonderfully simple and tasty lunch in Restaurante Castico in the Rua dos Sapateiros
One of the beautiful old bollards at the Terreiro do Paço
Praça do Comercio
Wonderful display of tinned fish conserves at the Loja Das Conservas
A touch of Paris in Lisbon
To Brasil!
Made with
by @just-edo in Spain