Sunday, 14 July 2013

Trip to South America: Impressions of the Brazil

Andrea employee, recently spent six weeks in South America. She returned delighted and agreed to share his best moments here.

After busy in Peru and a brief stop in Buenos Aires three weeks here I am in the land of samba, caipirinha and paradisiacal beaches. If I can not tell you everything, I'd still like to share my impressions of three unforgettable places of my trip: Salvador de Bahia, Boipeba and Rio de Janeiro.
Salvador de Bahia

I started my journey with a city full of color and music: Salvador de Bahia. This is truly the heart of Brazilian culture. There prevails a festive atmosphere and music is king in these places. Could not cross a repeating group in the street, inviting passers-by to dance. Despite the sweltering heat, it is a city that must be visited on foot and, in particular, the Pelourinho neighborhood where I was seated.

Salvador de Bahia @ Andrea

I highly recommend to go there on Tuesday evening as it takes place there regularly concerts in the center of the old town. This is a great opportunity to mingle with the local population and, why not, try to samba. A little warning right before to rush: go in a group and do not take any valuables with you. If the Pelourinho has an undeniable charm, it is also an area that can be dangerous at night. You avoid problems by not wearing anything that would attract attention and staying in lighted streets. But that does not stop you! Attractions far outweigh the risks.

It is in Salvador that I discovered one of the dishes that today I miss most about our country: acai juice. It is not only delicious but it is also refreshing and nourishing. The juice from a berry (Acai) mainly cultivated in Brazil and is known for its antioxidant and energizing properties. Please do not miss this little gem, perfect terrace by a suffocating heat.

Finally Salvador is also the cradle of capoeira. Between dance and fight, it is an art that is practiced feverishly in this city. It is also not unusual to practitioners practicing on the beach or in the parks. In my hostel, I had a chance to meet a capoeira teacher who undertook the trip to Brazil, especially to train with the great masters of Salvador. So I was invited to attend one of their training sessions behind closed doors where I could see all the intricacies of this art. If physical prowess are breathtaking, I saw the importance of music in the course of training. Practitioners must not only master the techniques of martial but also each of the instruments that shape the battle art. It is therefore a physical as well as musical training. The instruments include the berimbau, a Brazilian musical bow, became the emblem of capoeira. If the martial art does not tempt you, the songs will seduce you. Capoeira shows a beautiful union between body and music. It is a battle in which there are no winners or losers, just a shared pleasure.

Salvador de Bahia @ Andrea

I found it hard to leave Salvador after so many discoveries and encounters, yet my next step proved just as spectacular.

I hesitated before speaking you Boipeba. Like any little piece of paradise, it is desired that it remains intact, almost devoid of any tourist. It is a small island south of the famous "Morro de Sao Paulo." If the dream beaches and lush flora are similar Boipeba is, however, a completely unknown destination for most tourists (even some Brazilians do not know). There are so many miles of white sand beaches where you can cross any human being for several hours. A dream, so for Crusoe aspiring to get away from civilization for a while.

However, be warned, to achieve this eden, you really want it. In other words, if you are traveling as I did with a tight budget, it takes a full day to get to from Salvador. If the distance on the map seem short, the means to achieve it are, in turn, laborious. So I had to take: a boat, two mini-vans (transport current in Brazil), a bus and a boat. In all it was a six-hour journey by chaotic over thirty degrees Celsius. If this trip was certainly challenging, all my tiredness vanished when the boat came out into the harbor of Boipeba. The small fishing village bathed in sunlight and children took advantage of their last swim in the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean. A true paradise.

I stayed a full week, yet I felt like staying there one day. If nightlife lovers may be bored Boipeba, the nature lovers will find their happiness. Between crystal waters and hunt for crabs, it is a true playground that awaits you.

Boipeda - © Andrea

A very personal recommendation before an expedition all day, prepare well your bag. The first day in my enthusiasm to visit these beautiful beaches, I went off and it was only after three hours of walking I realized that I had not taken any money or drinking water. Serious mistake, knowing that the temperature was around 35 degrees.

The following day, being equipped accordingly, I visited each of the beautiful beaches of the island, each more beautiful than the other. I am also often surprised to feel like walking into a postcard.

In some places, local selling coconuts on the beach and you will not find a more refreshing drink that "agua de coco." It is simply a coconut that sellers pierce the machete (or what they have on hand). It'll be more than to put a straw and drink water from the coconut. It is absolutely delicious and you run no risk "intestinal" since the water was sealed in the nut until it is pierced. To consume without moderation.

After a week of total disconnection, it is time for me to return to civilization and the shock can not be bigger because I realize now in Rio de Janeiro.
Rio de Janeiro

The city symbol of Brazil known to all tourists, especially for its famous carnival. This is a must for anyone who wants to know Brazil. It includes all the advantages of the city with access to the beach (and what beach!) As well as abundant in nature. It is impossible to know Rio in its entirety, so the activities and discoveries are abundant. Among my recommendations include: the ballad along the Ipanema Beach, the beautiful botanical garden in the heart of the city and enjoy Brazilian cuisine in a "Churrascaria".

Rio is a city with many attractions that will appeal to the most demanding tourists. A precaution though: always have an eye on the local weather. Personally, I came to Rio in January and it rained in torrents for most of my stay. Rest assured: you will never cold. The tropical rain Rio has nothing to do with the freezing rain of our country. However, it is desirable to provide an umbrella.

Rio de Janeiro - © Andrea

While remaining in the climate field, I was recommended to get on the Pão de Açúcar to observe one of the most beautiful views of the city. Great idea for sure, but sure, to again, the sky is very clear. Although it does not rain, the clouds seemed to have clustered around the rocky outcrop, blocking any view on any view. Considering the price of the climb, you better be sure that once from above you can see something. Amazingly that day, the same agglutination clouds covered the Cristo Redentor overlooking Rio.

Rio de Janeiro - © Andrea

So allow plenty of time to have the opportunity to enjoy all the facets of this city.

If the hustle and bustle of the big city you want fatigue and inbetween sightseeing, hop on the bus to Ilha Grande, three hours drive from Rio. It is an island of dreams where you find one of the most beautiful beaches of Brazil: the famous "Praia Lopes Mendes." I would also tell you about a little story.

In the inn where I was staying, I met an Irishman who tried to tell me this place. He told me to walk on the beach it was like walking on flowers (at least that's what I understood). I thought that was odd, but poetic. It was not until much later in the evening that I realized he was talking about "flour" and not "flower." In other words, the sand was so fine it was like walking on flour, not flowers! I made myself the experience and could not that adhering to this metaphor.

Ilha Grande @ Andrea

If this small sample of travelogue has intrigued you, I have only one advice for you: appointment immediately and book your ticket to Brazil. It is a destination that will not disappoint you and you will have only one desire: to return.

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