29 December 2013

Good times and a promising future

Ponta Negra - Natal
Coming to Natal from Barra do Cunhaú could have been a traumatic experience. From the quiet beach village to the concrete jungle filled with stressed people and shopping centers. But I was lucky again. My hosts Isabelle and Cristiane live far from the busy center in a very quiet neighborhood close to the beach.

19 December 2013

Eating Brasil: Food and drinks

Food is an essential part of my travels. I love to discover foods unknown to my palate and acquire new tastes. A country as big as Brasil has of course a lot to offer. I'll focus here on foods found in the brasilian Northeast, including things to eat that can be found all over Brasil.

The basic staples of brasilian cuisine are without any doubt arroz (rice) and feijao (beans, either black or green). Accompanied with macarrao (spaghetti), salada (tomato-onion with vinegar) and frango (chicken) or carne (beef) this is the basics of brasilian food and is eaten once a day by a majority of the  population, mostly for lunch. A traditional dish that is often eaten on weekends as it takes longer to cook is feijoada (black beans with chunks of sausage, various types of beef and pork meat).

9 December 2013

More of the same? Hidden jewels

Manaira, Joao Pessoa
Last time when I was in Brasil, I only had ten weeks in a country almost the size of Europe. Obviously, I skipped large parts and left them for future trips. Two such parts were Joao Pessoa and the beaches of Rio Grande do Norte, including the most famous one, Pipa.

2 December 2013

Recife urban sprawl

Boa Viagem - Recife
As said, when I arrived in Recife, I was ready to settle for a bit longer than just three days. In the end, I stayed more than 10 days, bringing my total time spent in this city to 18 days. And I already plan to go back there for carnival one day (soon).
What's so special about Recife you might ask. Nothing really, to be honest. It's just a combination of many factors that made my life there always pleasant, despite some obvious drawbacks.

23 November 2013

Insight Brasil: Beach life

Beach life is an essential part of brasilian culture. Though vast areas consist of the so called "interior", most brasilians live rather close to the sea. Even people who have never been to Brasil have heard about the famous beaches such as Copacabana and Ipanema. Most urban areas along the coast have beaches directly in the city as well as beach resorts or islands close by.

21 November 2013

Beaches, beer and more of Brasil

It's now already three weeks that I arrived in Brasil. Three weeks of amazing moments, falling in love over and over again with places, situations, the joy of people, friends. But also swimming in rivers, hanging out on the beach and so forth.

I was sad to leave Salvador, as the strangers I met there became friends and made me feel at home. A part of me will probably always stay in Salvador. But as I wanted to discover more of the brasilian Nordeste, I took a bus to Aracaju, capital of the state of Sergipe, 5 hours north of Salvador.

11 November 2013

Sun! And the journey commences

A lot has happened since my last blog post. Generally, things can be divided in two categories: great and almost great :)

I left Switzerland on a beautiful but cold end of October morning. A quick train ride took me to Milan where I met Anna, a longtime CouchSurfing friend for lunch. A few coffees and a bus ride later, I was already dropping my luggage at Milano Malpensa airport. The flight to Sao Paulo was as smooth as a 12 hour flight in economy class can be. My plane to Salvador even landed 15 minutes early.

23 October 2013

Fear? A step into the unknown.

As I'm finishing the last paperwork before my departure, a lot of thoughts and questions are currently running through my mind.

Where will I go? What will I do? Will I be happy finally doing what I was longing for? Will I make a lot of knew friends? Will I miss "home"? Will I be lonely?

It's not that I'm travelling for the first time. I've been there, exploring unknown territories and cultures, meeting people and making friends along the way. And I do know once you've started the journey, your insecurities and second thoughts are gone. I know that I will make a lot of friends, I know that I will be lonely sometimes, but I also know that I will be truly happy and smiling from the bottom of my heart. After almost 5 years, I still get that tingly feeling when I think about all the great experiences and encounters during my last trip through South America.

17 October 2013

Ready to go? Almost.

The countdown is running fast and faster. Only 7 days left at work, only 14 days in Switzerland and I'll be on the road. First destination: Brasil. (I do know it's written with a z in English, but I usually prefer local geographical names, except when they're not known to the wider public, i.e. Krung Thep Mahanakhon).

Not everything is ready for my travels yet, there is still paperwork to get done and I haven't even given a thought about packing. Slowly I'm starting to plan (quite flexibly) my first two weeks of travelling, which I intend to spend around Salvador and Bahia.