“Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember and I remember more than I have seen.”
How do I even begin to tell you about the past month without turning this single post into what should probably be a full fledged travel diary? This trip was one like no other, having spent two weeks between Recife and Curitiba, followed by Amsterdam for another 18 days (all with MANY connections in between). Not your typical travel route for a summer holiday but it was truly unique, with a total tally of over 25,000 kilometres in flights.
Recife, one of 12 host cities for the World Cup, doesn’t have the best reputation – we anticipated street muggings, pickpocketing, and read that certain areas of the city should be avoided (which is why all my photos were taken with my iPhone). Oh, and their most popular beach strip is infested with sharks. We were still cautious, and paid extra attention to our surroundings, but when I recall my experience, I think of the outgoing and kind people, the fact that I never for a second felt unsafe and our awesome Airbnb hosts who took great care of us. I figured it was best to trust all the shark warning signs.
The Dutch colonized city is home to Olinda, a stunning historic UNESCO site, and one heck of a Carnaval (one day). Did I mention the food? For a week we sipped on the iconic (for good reason) Caipirinha on a bi-daily basis, popped by the corner gas station for freshly baked pão de queijo almost every morning, salivated over the ubiquitous street meat, coxinhas and tapioca, and kept hydrated with young coconut water straight from the source. The perfect beach refreshment!
Winter temperature in Recife is comparable to our summer, though it rains much more frequently – on the morning of the US-Germany game that we were heading out to watch, it rained over 100mm in four hours. If only I had packed my snorkel! We practically swam through the streets, drenched from head to toe by the time we arrived at Stadium Pernambuco. For the most part we were lucky with the weather – any opportunity we had we’d be soaking up the winter rays under an umbrella on Praia Boa Viagem, watching the beach vendors walk by with an array of snacks from black bean soup with quail egg, grilled cheese on a stick with oregano, or freshly sliced pineapple.
After three World Cup games, many attempts to communicate with the locals (our pronunciation was hilarious), and a sunset catamaran tour of the city, this vibrant country left quite an impression. I’ll be back again one day. If you’ve been to Brazil, I’d love to hear about your experiences!
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