I caught up with our friends who had been traveling through Brazil for 2 months in February, 2022. I joined them on the southern island of Florianapolis, which is known for its oysters, and travelled with them to central Sao Paulo, one of the largest cities in the world.
Florianapolis: Cacupe, Jurere, Lagoa da Conceição, Praia de Juaquina and Laguinha.
Florianapolis, or Floripa to locals, is home to a massive city with the same name just on the mainland across the bay. Looking from our Airbnb in Cacupe, the vast city of skyscrapers looked like Hong Kong. Brazil truly is a huge country.
I met and stayed with Mike and Lynne at the first floor apartment of a large home. The unit featured a private pool and outdoor kitchen. The retired owners, Celso and Marcia, were fantastic hosts who taught us alot about the island and Brazil, mostly through Google Translator. One day, we couldn’t finish Lynne’s lunch of polenta with blistered tomatoes, so I took leftovers up to Marcia. She promptly sat me down and fed me langua (cow tongue), mashed yuca, a salad, and her favorite beer. Over the course of 6 days we went on to meet their son, his girlfriend, and their other two children with grown families of their own over Facetime. This is my favorite part about travel – meeting people. Brazil is one of the friendliest countries I’ve ever visited. In talking to Felipe, Marcia’s son, we learned that Brazilians take pride in this being friendly.
We visited several small towns, including Jurere, where we ate fresh oysters (Florianapolis is known for Oysters as the Atlantic side of the island has cool waters from an Antarctic oceanic stream). We also spent a few of our days at fabulous beaches. But my favorite day was spent at the eco-friendly district at Lagoa da Conceição, a several-miles long neighborhood with small villages along an inland lake accessible only by water-taxi. Each house and village is connected by a walking path that transitions from pavers, to rugged dirt path, to stairs carved from stone, and back to pavers again. We took a water taxi to ponto (pier) 21, and hiked along the path to ponto 23. There we swam in the warmest water off the dockside restaurant and ate fresh fish and oysters. Amazing.
São Paulo: Consolação, Jardins, Liberdade, and Itaim Bibi.
I scheduled my trip to visit Mike and Lynne so that I could travel back to São Paulo with them. There, we stayed in separate Airbnb units in the same condominium tower in Consolação, a central neighborhood. My unit featured breathtaking views of several neighborhoods, and included a special view of the Copan Edificio, the famous multi-use tower designed by Oscar Niemeyer.
We spent days roaming the city, walking tens of thousands of steps, and visiting several neighborhoods including Liberdade – where a large population of Japanese live with Japanese restaurants, bars and shops, Jardins with upscale shopping, and Hygienopolis with restaurants and museums.