Hello, everyone! Here is Natália, from the blog 360meridianos. As Claire told you on the previous post, I am going to swap blogs with her for a few days during the Big Blog Exchange competition. As I don’t want to come abruptly on her blog, I decided to write an article introducing myself, the blog and my country.
Yes, I am the lucky one who is traveling to France, but I didn’t win this game alone. The blog is a result of the effort of three friends: Luíza, Rafael and me. We started blogging during a round the world trip, in 2011, but this is subject to another post. You can have a glance of this adventure on 360meridianos, and as we don’t expect anyone to speak Portuguese, we added a Google Translate widget on the side bar (hint: translate it to English, because I think that the Google’s Portuguese-French translation is super weird).
So, what about Brazil?
I am from an adorable province called Minas Gerais. It is located in the interior of the country, quite far from the Atlantic Ocean. Therefore, we don’t have any beaches there. But we have the mountains, farms, delicious food, historical towns from the time when we were a Portuguese colony and bucolic landscapes full of cows.
More importantly, we have lots of cheese and a bread made out of cheese, or ‘Pão de Queijo’, that I definitely think that Claire should try during her stay in Brazil. I was born in the Capital city, Belo Horizonte. It is a planned city with beautiful squares and a ridiculous number of bars. Actually, it is the city with the highest number of bars per capita in the world. So this is the place in Brazil where you should go for a drink.
Unfortunately, Claire is not going to visit Minas Gerais this time, but she is going to other nice places that I want to talk about as well:
This is where I live. São Paulo is the biggest Brazilian city and it is full of life – specially nightlife – and things to do. The coolest place I have ever been here is definitely the Mercado Municipal, a beautiful building where you can find a huge variety of tropical fruits, breads, cakes, pies, seafood and juices. There are also few restaurants inside, some of them very famous because of the typical food they serve. Try the bologna sandwich and the Bolinho de Bacalhau (codfish balls).
Another must see in São Paulo is the Museu da Língua Portuguesa, a museum that tells the history of our language in an interactive way. And for those who love sports, the Football Museum might also be an interesting stop.
A walking tour through the city centre can provide a glimpse of Brazil’s and São Paulo’s history. The blocks are full of historical buildings, starting from the Pateo do Collegio, place where the city was began, in 1554. From there, walk to the São Bento Monastery, the Sé Cathedral, the Pinacoteca, the Municipal Theatre and the Solar da Marquesa.
At night, the most famous place to go is the Rua Augusta, a trendy location full of hipster bars and night clubs. However, my favorite bohemian place in São Paulo is a neighborhood called Vila Madalena.
Foz do Iguaçu
Located in the border between Brazil and Argentina, the Iguazu Falls are one of the most amazing natural places I have ever seen in my life. Actually, it is considered one of the seven natural wonders of the planet, a well deserved accomplishment!
Foz is the base to explore the Brazilian side of the falls. Inside the national park, you will have the opportunity to walk very close to the water and feel its strength. Also, don’t miss the Macuco Safari, a boat ride until one of the falls. It is very unique to take a bath with the Iguazu waters, isn’t it?
If you have the chance, spend a day on the Argentinian side. It is also wonderful and, visiting both sides, you will have a full picture of the falls. From there, it is possible to have a great view of the Garganta do Diabo, the biggest fall. Puerto Iguazu, the Argentinian town, is very charming and has good restaurants. You can also visit the Triple Frontier, a place where you can look at three countries (Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay) at once.
Alternative tours in Foz do Iguaçu are: the panoramic visit to Itaipu dam, the Bird Park and Ciudad del Este, in Paraguay (good for shopping).
This is the one place where Claire is going that I have never been. Thus, I can’t talk a lot about it, but I know that it is famous for water sports and ecotourism. It has crystal clear rivers, dozens of caves and is a great spot for scuba diving.
A curiosity: Bonito means beautiful in Portuguese. That gives you a good idea of what to expect about this place!
Rio de Janeiro
The most famous Brazilian city has much more to offer than Copacabana and Ipanema beaches (which are beautiful, by the way). Take a close look at the Christ and get a ride on the Cable Car to see the city from above. After a long reform, the Maracanã stadium is ready for the World Cup, so you might enjoy visiting it firsthand.
Santa Teresa is a charming neighborhood full of cultural centers, art ateliers, artwork stores, bars, restaurants and a convent from the 19th century. Close from there is the Selarón staircase, the most famous of the city, with 215 steps decorated with colorful tiles.
At night, go to a Samba at Lapa neighborhood. Actually, go there also during daylight, so you can take a look at Lapa Arcs.
As Brazil is a very musical country, I made a mixtape so you can get in the mood. Listen to it here.
Yes! Please, eat the following foods:
– Açaí cream (made out of an Amazon berry)
– Feijoada (black beans with pork)
– Brazilian barbecue
– Tropical fruits (as many as you can)
– Brigadeiro (most popular dessert here)
– Pão de queijo!
– Catupiry (brazilian cream cheese)
And, most importantly: