All posts tagged: Pernambuco

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 …

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 …