Thursday, November 23, 2006

Nordeste Tour Part VII - Salvador

Nordeste Tour Part VI - Recife & Olinda

That evening we arrived in Recife after dark so we decided to take a cab to the twin city of Olinda, only a few minutes away. Recife is one of the five largest cities in Brazil and mostly modern, but neighboring Olinda has still preserved its colonial charme, and even though it looked somewhat run-down, many of the colonial buildings are nicely restored. It also has lots of baroque churches and beautiful plazas, so we decided to spend the night there. Although our hostel was a bit noisy it had a nice garden with a pool and some redes (hammocks). We met an English couple who said "We're on a trip around the world" in a funny British accent, and we laughed about it many times on the trip. They recommended a music festival that was supposed to be going on in town wo we went to explore the place, yet still a bit weary.
Downtown we found a cozy square in front of a baroque church that was crowded with local kids, loud music and food and drink stands, but very peaceful. We sat down and watched the scene for a while, surprised to be the only tourists and had dinner at a nice restaurant at the same place.
The next morning we bought our bus ticket from Recife to Salvador for the same evening. Unfortunately, the last two seats next to each other were in the last row, next to the bathroom, but we decided not to sit alone, which later proved fatal.
We then strolled around in town and took pictures of the many coloful houses and churches.

Me in Olinda

Olinda Beach



After that we took a cab and metro to the Recife bus station and left our lugagge there, before exploring Recife. Barry wanted to see the synagogue, which is the first one in the Americas, but we found it closed. Recife has some nice old buildings bad is in very bad state. We walked through the port area, which was particularly dirty and visited a Dutch fort, Forte do Brum, as the whole region was occuppied by the Dutch for some time in the 17th century.
On our way back we passed by a square with some European-looking buildings and took some pictures of local kids jumping and diving into the sea. A few hundred meters away there was a sculpture park on an island in the harbor, but we didn't have enough time to visit it any more.

Thus, we made our way to the bus station, took a shower in a doubtful washroom and waited for the bus. This took some time, as a lady had about 200kgs of excess luggage and refused to pay extra. Although the bus was quite nice, we had bad luck as there was a problem with the toilet, which stank terribly. Luckily, I was still a bit ill, so didn't smell it to bad. After a frightening police control around midnight and one or two hours delay we arrived to Salvador, rather weary and tired.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Nordeste Tour Part V - Pipa and Natal