Bahian beaches and a whole lotta culture

Trip Start Jan 17, 2014
Trip End Aug 06, 2014

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Bahia,
Thursday, July 17, 2014

Post World Cup day was a very lazy affair with a big lie in for all of us in the apartment - as if we could finally relax after the go, go, go of the World Cup. The afternoon was spent on Ipanema before we returned home and Hannah cooked a feast for our last supper in the apartment - roast chicken, med veg, salads and of course, broccoli for Al! Well fed, beer, film and bed.

We said our goodbyes the next morning to Ruth, Paddy, Edey, Jack and Maude and left the apartment for our flight to Salvador, the Bahian capital. Flight very easy and we arrived into Salvador in the evening checking in to our hostel in the old historic centre, Pelourinho. Headed for a cheap dinner on the hostel owners recommendation and then into a bar watching some live music. We were about to go home when we heard a samba band very close, wandering round the next corner of the cobbled streets we happened upon a samba group walking through the square playing with around a hundred people following them. We bought some beers from a street vendor and joined the party, dancing our way through the streets of Salvador. Finished after about thirty minutes but a brilliant experience especially with all the streets lined with flags and colourful ribbons and banners for the World Cup. Gave us a taste of the famous Bahian / North East culture as well as what carnival would be like.

The next day we headed out to take in some of the culture. First we headed to the San Francisco church which in the inside chapel is covered in gold. Pretty impressive sight. We then made our way to the Afro-Brasileiro museum to learn about the influence African culture had in the region, having arrived predominantly during the slave trade years. Very interesting to try and get to grips with the history as you really do notice the African influence here. After watching some capoeira in the square, enjoying the music and odd mix of martial arts/break dancing/ballet we headed to the massive elevator which takes you from Pelourinho, down the cliff face, to the sea front and port. Very cool feature. After being blessed by some women in colourful dresses and then probably cursed when we refused to give them money (needed the change for elevator!), we had a wander round Modelo Market which truth be told was quite a lot of tacky tat. Then we walked along the front to the Museum of Modern Art. When we arrived it all seemed a bit quiet and mysterious and it turned out it was under renovation. Maria, a Portuguese woman doing a doctorate on Bahian culture was very welcoming however and we talked for about an hour on all things art in Bahia. After she showed us around the workshops (they hold painting, gardening, printing etc classes every week and people can use them for free) and showed us a great view of a small favela perched just above the sea, we headed back towards Pelourinho. Although we didn't see much art we did learn quite a bit about the art culture there! After a very late lunch we sorted out transport for the next day and enjoyed some more live music in the evening. Music is everywhere here.

Early brekkie and then to the port to catch our boat to the island Morro de São Paulo. Usually only a two hour boat ride but due to rough seas we had to take a boat, then a bus, then a boat. Not wanting a repeat of previous sea sickness we popped some pills and slept the entire journey, apparently much to the amusement of Brazilians around us. We arrived on the island and checked into Pousada Sossego - a bit off the main square and surrounded by jungle and palm trees so very peaceful (which we later found out is what Sossego means in Portuguese!) decided to hit the beach - they are either very practical here or just waaay too laid back to name their beaches so they are simply First, Second, Third and Fourth beach. We plumped for second where the main action was and spent the afternoon reading and chilling. Decided it was time to try the Brazilian delicacy and supposed super food Acai - so shared a bowl of acai, granola and banana much to our delight. We'll be having more of that I think. More beach time before heading back to the pousada for a chill in our hammock and then out to dinner at a cheap local place for average chicken and rice.

Same again the next day but with better weather. Reading, swim, watching all sorts of sports - football, volley foot, paddle board, bat and ball, washed down with beer and acai. Even got to watch a great display of capoeira as a group of five turned into about 50 as everyone on the beach congregated to watch the guys pull off some crazy moves nearly kicking each other's heads off while enjoying the music too. They were in decent shape. In the evening we found one of the best restaurants we'd been to in ages. Good music, great food - chicken, rice, proper veg and salad and they had great condiments! Chilli flakes, balsamic, olive oil, chrrichana Argentinian dressing. All for about £6 each including drink. Went for a long wander in town to walk off the food then headed back.

The following day was exactly the same - breakfast in the pousada, same acai lunch at the beach, beer at sunset and same dinner in the same restaurant - creatures of habit, maybe but if it ain't broke... One exception to the evening was meeting THE most relaxed man ever - lying on his back smoking a cigarette a dread locked sixty odd Brazilian dude selling books who turned out to possibly be the most well read man we have ever met. We ended up having a long conversation with him and Hannah having just finished a book ended up buying any human heart despite already having read it! According to our man we absolutely have to read Aldous Huxley and Tim Robbins next!

Short but sweet blog, but to leave you with a question - who would your must read author be?!
Answers on a postcard (or just when you see us in ten days!!) x
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