All posts filed under: Pernambuco

Boats and Goodbyes

When all good things come to an end, go out in style. And what better way to say goodbye to Recife than to take a catamaran down its famous river. But first we made sure to visit Francisco Brennand’s ceramic studio; a contemporary sculpture artist in Brazil and son of Riccardo Brennand, he displays hundreds of his sculptures in his massive studio space, doubling as a great gallery filled with gardens, water fountains and pools and theatres. His work exudes sensuous symbols and seem highly iterative of one another, being fairly abstract and range in form whilst being highly similar in style. He’s also well known to create floor and wall tiles for construction, beautifully decorated and painted by a team of hard-working locals who can be seen hard at work amongst the open galleries in the studio. And if you visit beware of some evil looking swans roaming around the gardens… Hurridley, we rushed straight after to the catamaran, sure we had missed it, but managed to jump aboard and set sail down the …

Me, You and Caruaru/Gravatá

Continuing on my exploration of the Northeast of Brazil’s cultural gem, Pernambuco, we rolled early out of bed, gathered some snacks, shades and sun cream, jumped in the car and took a road trip West of the coast toward small towns Caruaru and Gravatá. Snacks for the ride: Bolo de Rolo Biscotinhos – i.e. crunchy nuggets of sugary heaven. Caruaru is well known to be the artistic centre of Pernambuco, Alto do Moura, being the origin of the famous ceramics of Pernambuco. Driving down long and bumpy open and narrow roads, weaving in and out of slightly decrepit buildings and homes, getting inevitably lost, we finally found the the centre we were looking for. Known for being a haven for beautiful Pernambucan gifts, I whipped out my reais/Pedro’s debit card and filled my heart and Pedro’s car with beautiful hand crafted wooden and ceramic gifts. My indecisiveness often fuels excessive sweating, and so the searing Caruaru heat added to my skin’s discomfort. We also visited the small home of Mestre Vitalino, Master Vitalino, the man who …

Linda Olinda

A small town neighbouring Recife overlooking the ocean, founded in the 16th century by the Portuguese, Olinda radiates colonial beauty and charm. Having thought to be named by people exclaiming “Oh… Linda!”, Linda meaning beautiful in Portuguese. Surrounded and filled with a mass of greenery, Olinda is bathed in a tropical light high up on a hill with a sandy shore and ocean below. Filled with baroque churches and chapels, small markets, historical landmarks and rows and rows of vibrantly coloured houses, it’s impossible not to fall in love with Olinda’s charm. Being notoriously safe for tourists and well maintained as a historical nucleus of Pernambuco, you can stroll along the cobbled roads and streets, passing small food and gift markets and buildings,  children playing outside, nuns strolling to church and locals bumbling around getting home from work. If you’re lucky you can have Repentistas sing to you; literally “Repeaters”, men bearing guitars stroll along the streets singing and playing Repente – a kind of improvised sung poetry found in the Northeast of Brazil. Colourful …

Porto de Galinhas

Riding down miles of clear road does wonders for clearing the mind. And as the sun finally peeked through layered pillows of slowly shifting rain clouds, ones that had been haunting Recife for far too long, I was elated. Porto de Galinhas, literally “Port of the Chickens/Chicken Port”, is only an hour and a half away or so from Recife is the host to one of the most beautiful beaches Brazil has to offer. Whenever a local asked where we were visiting during my trip, the first suggestion they had that rolled off their tongues without hesitance was Porto de Galinhas – and for good reason. Driving into the area was even magical, forests of palm trees encompassing the port swaying in the breeze, little to no traffic, and colourful cafes and small shops lining the roads. Once you stroll for a few minutes through some pedestrianised streets filled with shops selling a variety of beach-wear, food and drinks you arrive at the beach and it’s nothing short of stunning; all you need to do …

Antigo Meets Novo

Brazil’s former Dutch colonisation way back in the 1600’s has left modern day Brazil’s urban landscape speckled with beautifully coloured and colonial buildings. Visiting Recife Antigo, Old Recife, the Dutch influence is clear. Narrow roads lined with coloured apartments are vibrant and full of history, larger buildings with more prowess inhabiting many a modern day art gallery, restaurant and artisanal gift selection. In Recife Antigo you can find Marco Zero; literally 0 mark, it marks the beginning for measuring roads in the city and is the place where the Portuguese founded Recife in 1537. What was once a quiet, fairly deserted open area has now been transformed into a bustling hotspot for Recife, where one can experience weekly markets , performances and events alongside new more commercial surrounding developments, featuring artisanal arts and crafts and a variety of cafes and restaurants. The 0 mark itself. Located on the Island of Recife, near the Recife harbor, you can take a boat trip from a willing local on Rio Capibaribe for only a few Reais and sail to Parque das Esculturas …

Plants, Monkeys, Mosquitoes, Art

The hot humid weather is not something well known to the typical Englishman/woman. And alas, I feel like a goat in a tropical rainforest. Today we took a trip to the Botanical Gardens in Recife, encountering an array of beautiful plants, trees, flowers and shrubs. Fruits were even growing from the trees, and most amazingly Jaca – Jackfruit. No matter how many times I see these gigantic spiky vessels hanging from branches I’m always in awe.    After getting bitten by numerous bugs we decided to take yet another bug laden adventure: Recife’s Zoo. I’m not often a zoo enthusiast, unhappy to see caged animals out of their natural habitats, but many of the species in the zoo originate from Brazil, so I could tolerate the captivity mildly…. To complete the day was a trip to the Ricardo Brennard Institute; a cultural institute created by Ricardo Brennard, and art collector and businessman. The institute houses art galleries, a museum and beautiful gardens. Amongst the historical and contemporary art, varying from sculptures, statues and paintings, it’s the home …

England Meets Recife

Brazil is incredibly green. That may sound weird and it feels weird to say but the vibrant green terrain, and sheer amount of greenery and various interesting looking trees and shrubs is amazing. Even in the city, paralleling kilometres of road are fantastic billowing trees. Recife’s skyline was also rather a perplexing sight; a crowd of skyscrapers, all pretty much identical in design rise up in the centre of the city, surrounded by extremely poor communities – terracotta coloured flat roofed shacks, unmaintained, rickety and decrepit. The city however is named as the Venice of Brazil, filled with rivers and pools of water, sitting on the North East coast of Brazil. The beaches: beautiful! Warm as my tea back home, the water is like a Sunday night bath, the air warm and the breeze cool. After my flight we headed to a little place serving local food; Caldinho – broths of all sorts, made from various ingredients but mainly beans; an (extremely large) stuffed fish with vegetables, Farofa (dried crunchy cassava) cooked with butter, eggs …

LHR > REC

The ultimate white British tourist: a rucksack, a 26kg suitcase, a purse, two cameras around the neck, Dr Martens, and long sleeves. Don’t forget the airport trip to Starbucks in your extremely non-fluent/non-existent Portuguese: a long hot wait for a domestic flight change in a Brazilian airport (in São Paulo) takes its toll. Despite sitting in the wrong seat twice, subsequently having my rucksack frantically passed around the cabin by adamant Brazilians communicating in only Portuguese in attempt to find space in the overhead storage compartments, experiencing (what felt like) non-stop turbulence for the duration of the 12 hour flight and eventually locating my suitcase in the luggage carousel for a flight from Orlando in São Paulo’s airport, my journey wasn’t too shabby. Alas! I live. My joy at dodging death was manifested upon landing by the lone woman on the left hand side of the plane clapping the pilots far too enthusiastically: the small child behind her pressed her hands to her headphones harder, furiously watching her third repeat of Frozen whilst her mother took several …