Wandering more colonial streets

Trip Start Jan 19, 2006
Trip End Jan 19, 2007

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Got overnight bus from Recife to Salvador with Itapemirim which was good but not as good as the last one. Arrived into the bus station next morning and were surprised at how high rise and built up the city is - sprawls for miles and miles.

Got a local bus to Praca de Se in the old town and found a hotel (Thermis 55 Reais inc break) on the square which is a great location and has fantastic views of the city. Is a fantastic city by the sea and the old town is a hill with great views of the harbour, coastline and forts. Had a good wander around the cobbled streets which were a lot more touristy than Olinda but also very nice. Lots of churches etc not open on a Saturday until the evening or first thing so just wandered the streets and lapped up the atmosphere. We walked down to the newer part of town to find the Lan Chile office to change our flights (office was shut til Mon). Went around the Mercado Model which is the touristy market and around the port and then got the lift back up which is massive right up the side of the hill - very cool.

Later in the evening went for a wander and watched locals doing the capoeira in the nearby square and then some kids doing a fantastic drum performance in the street - they were excellent. Unfortunately arent here for the Olodum performance (famous drummers) who I think perform Tues and Thurs). Anyway then watched a local band in a square and had a capirinha before going to a restaurant to try ensopado a local speciality of coconut milk, peppers and whatever meat or fish - we splurged on lobster. Were a bit disappointed with it though.

Today had another wander around the old town and went into a number of the great churches. On the way around some of them noticed a parade of monks and nuns singing and carrying statues of Mary and Jesus before entering the Cathedral - was nice to watch. In the part where the service wasnt held there was the most amazing painted ceiling very ornately done and incredible considering the height at which it was painted. Went into an incredibly ott baroque church also on another square before then heading down into Pelourinho and saw the slave market church which was interesting. Then up to Carmo, another church wher we went to see a sculpture of Christ made in 1730 made by a slave who had no formal training but was very well done. Was made from whale oil, ox blood, banana resin and 2,000 rubies to represent the drops of blood.

After all that culture we went to pick up our other flight tickets as we are now flying from Rio to Iguacu Falls (instead of bus and train to Paranagua from Curitiba which is meant to be good but only runs a couple of times a week). The flights are actually cheaper in some cases than the bus and both of our new flights will save us about 40 hours of bus rides!

Great Pizza for dinner on Praca De Se where also cheap internet before bed
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