Hello everybody, olá! You'll never believe where we are!
Oh, well... the title kind of gave that one away, didn't it? Anyway, that's right - we're in Brazil, the country that hosted the very exciting World Cup this summer! People here sure love football, but there's so much more to this country, and we were really eager to explore it all with our host Felipe (aka felipeduarte).
Felipe lives in the state of Pará, in the Amazon region. He showed us his postcard collection and we could see all Brazil in postcards and get an appetizer of what our time here would look like!
The capital of Pará is Belém, also known as “Metropolis of the Amazon”. It is a very interesting city, where over 1.500.000 people live. Being so close to the Equator, the city has a tropical rainforest climate, with temperatures averaging 25°C (77°F) year round!
We visited one of the most beautiful churches in Belém, the Basilica of Our Lady of Nazareth. The interiors, decorated with marble and gold, were just incredible!
Every October since 1793, a huge procession in celebration Mary takes place in Belém – it is named Círio de Nazaré and gathers more than two million people, the biggest catholic event in Brazil! Here are some photos that Felipe showed us:
Really impressive! After that, we went to the great República Square, where one of the most relevant landmarks in Belém is located: Paz Theatre. Voted as one of the wonders of Brazil, this large theatre was built in 1878, during the Amazon rubber boom. During those days (and up until 1912), Belém was called “Paris in America” due to its richnesses and prosperity.
By lunch time, we headed over to Ver-o-peso (literally, “see-the-weight”) market, the most representative landmark in Pará. It is the biggest outdoors market in Latin America! You can see it on one of Felipe’s postcards:
Fresh fish is sold on the Iron Market (the blue one, with towers) and there are also lots of tents, where you can find anything, from food to clothes, herbs and essences, regional or international. It’s a very culturally rich place!
Well... all this native fruit is making us hungry, it's time to try the Brazilian cuisine! The base of day-to-day food is rice and beans, and of course meat and chicken, with some regional variations. The people from Pará really appreciate a native fruit named açaí berry, which is now widely used by athletes as an energy drink. It is a purple seed that is drank as a dense liquid. And of course, we had to try a brigadeiro, a very typical chocolate bonbon. So, so good — and just the perfect size!
After getting to know a little about the city, we decided to explore one of the nature parks in the area, the Mangal das Garças (Herons’ Mangal).
It’s a really incredible place to see nature and observe several species of animals and plants.
The red bird is named guará (or scarlet ibis) and the white ones are garças (herons). They roam around freely in the park.
This tower is the Belém Lighthouse, which is 47 metres tall and has quite an unusual architecture for a lighthouse, don't you think? We went up to the observation platform... the view from up there is breathtaking!
It’s said that it rains everyday in there. And look at those dark clouds... it must be coming! Quick, let's step indoors and learn something about the region's culture and handicrafts.
The indigenous marajoara pottery and natural rubber animal figures were quite intriguing. We also learnt that Belém was founded in 1616 and is now eagerly waiting to celebrate its fourth centenary! We visited the place where the city started: a citadel named Feliz Lusitânia.
On top in left, an old canon in Forte do Castelo, a portuguese fortress. On the right side, the Metropolitan Cathedral.
Finally, we went to the Belém Central Post office to send a postcard home.
We saw there the machines used by the Post in the past: Morse code devices, scales and writing machines, but we loved the postboxes the best!
On the left, the old Brazilian ones, used in the early 1900s and on the right, the current ones, that have a very unusual shape.
And that's it for this amazing trip! Off we go into our padded envelope again...
... but not without first heartily recommending this lovely country to everyone! Our experience in Brazil was fantastic, what an amazing country. And of course — a big thank you to our host Felipe for his hospitality! :)
See you soon everyone!