We recently did an amazing trip of the Northeast and I don’t want to miss writing about it or at least posting some pictures, because it was incredible. It’s the place that everyone talks about…There is Rio, Sao Paulo, the Amazon and the Northeast. I just thought, well some beaches and agua de cocos, but it is so much more than this! It is the most beautiful part of Brazil. Not only full of amazing beaches and agua de cocos, but full of hospitable people, incredible food, countless small villages all full of their own character and identity, adventure, surprises and sun! We started in Maceio, where we couchsurfed with our wonderful hosts for a few days. Alagoas is quite a small state so it can be done and seen by car in a couple days. We did the coast in two days and we could have spent 2 weeks! Just sitting and absorbing the true northeast culture… relax!
Top 5 things to do in Alagoas:
1. Maceio – a beautiful city with gorgeous city beaches and wonderful people
2. Eat fish! Its hard to have a bad plate or fish or pirão! (especially at Peixarão)
3. Eat a tapioca!
4. Rent a car and go see all the towns on the coast…spend time talking with the locals and eating where they recommend and doing what they do.
5. Skip the Maragogi reefs and opt for the reefs in Maceio, they are just as beautiful and so much cheaper! Less touristy too!
See you in Rio Grande do Norte!
It’s a love hate relationship with this city people call Sampa. A mix of good and bad, rich and poor, ugly and beautiful. You may think, well that is any city, but the difference is the extremity that Sampa provides. The kilometers of traffic, the thousands of slums, the thousands of rich, the hundreds of top restaurants, hotels. It has everything you want and everything you don’t in one tiny area of 1,522.986 square km.
I came across this video the other day and thought it was an incredible view of the vastness and enormity of this city.
Today if I could I would be in Paris with G and P. I would be sitting on a bench near the river eating a baguette and brie watching the spring blossoms and the boats. I would be be walking through the tiny streets filled with shops and boutiques. I would stop for a café au lait. I would eat a croissant. I would be wearing a spring dress and little peep-toe heels. I would sip a good glass of french red wine. It would be a swell day.
So! I fulfilled one more thing on my bucket list… I went to Carnaval in Brazil. And it was brilliant. Really.
Initially, I wanted to go to Salvador where I hear the true Carnaval was to be found. However, after several times mentioning it I always received the same helpless stare from G. It was the look of “please don’t make me take you there” but “I will because I love you”. Bless the poor man’s heart. We decided on Recife instead. After deciding on Recife and booking our tickets I can’t tell you the amount of people that told us what a good decision we had made. Salvador is not for the weak at heart… its for the single at heart. I am not single. Nor do I wish to be. So off to Recife we went.
Recife’s Carnaval is also very famous throughout Brazil and as a Carnaval that has kept to its roots. It is very typical of the region and is still quite traditional. Oh and it didn’t disappoint! The party was non-stop…the parades… the food… the drinks… the concerts… the activities… the music… It was grand. And I didn’t sleep for 5 days. Not so grand. Oh well.
We visited Olinda as well, which is a town near to Recife, that has its own Carnaval and also very traditional. We also escaped the madness for a day and headed to Porto de Galinhas…which let me tell you is not a chicken port, but in fact it may just be heaven on earth.
In reality it is called Porto de Galinhas or chicken port because of the slave trade which secretly continued there even after it was abolished. When people heard that the chickens from Angola had arrived, the masters in Recife knew to expect another round of slaves. Despite its past, it really is incredible. Surrounded by reefs, blue warm water, good food, great company (friends from SP) and cheap…it must be one of my highlights (and seeing Vanessa da Mata!).
The pictures say it better than I ever could, unfortunately we didn’t want to risk the nice cameras getting stolen so G and I just took our mini Canons, which do the job quite well.
Dreaming of going back…
G surprised me with flowers yesterday. So I cooked a nice dinner for the two of us. It was mutual love I suppose…
The stuffed zucchini were delicious, filled with tomatoes, zucchini, onions, cheese, and cream cheese. The gratin potatoes were superb filled with leeks, calories and well… calories. Then we had broccolini (not pictured) to try and justify the cream overdose.
Nights and dinners like this one don’t happen so often… but they should!
I finally experienced the oh so famous Feria de Abril in Sevilla, and it was spectacular…to say the least. The pictures say it all and there is really no need for me to ramble on about it. I will however give you a mini ramble about what this actually is.
Have you ever seen those Spanish women in pictures and they are all dressed up in flamenco dresses (trajes)? polka dots? stripes? paisley? Then on top of their colorful and figure-hugging dresses they decorate themselves with colorful accessories… earrings, broaches, shawls, flowers, hair clips, bracelets… you name it… they got it. If you have seen pictures of these women and children, probably they were on their way to the Feria de Abril in Sevilla!
The fair or feria is just another excuse for Sevillanos to drink, eat, dance, and party. And who could argue? Starting in 1847 the fair started to gain popularity and created this idea of casetas or small houses. These houses are owned by the elite Sevillanos whose families carry on the tradition of owning and keeping these casetas for all family and friends to come and strut their stuff at the feria. Each caseta is a little bit different, but all of them include a dance floor, a mini-restaurant, and seating. Now in Sevilla many of the big companies have casetas too, which has added to the amount of casetas that totaled more than this year! Many Sevillanos ride in on horseback or horse-drawn carriages and there are also daily bull fights…its all tradition of course.
G and I were so fortunate to have some Sevillanos take us around to their casetas and we enjoyed drinking rebujito (manzanilla wine with sprite), eating to our heart’s content, and showing a few moves on the dance floor… which was cut short seeing as the rebujito was WAY too easy to drink.
You can also see more photos on my picasa page…as always. Don’t miss your chance to go to the Feria de Abril it doesn’t disappoint.
Happy to be able to breath again (figure-hugging dresses or figure-life-sucking dresses),