Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, part 1

Salvador is the capital and largest city of Bahia state, Brazil. Salvador was Brazil’s first capital and a major historic destination for slaves, particularly from the region now encompassing present day Nigeria. These influences are reflected in the city’s historic Pelourinho district, named after colonial pillories used for slaves. I have previously blogged about a Salvadorian festival and the city’s golden Sao Francisco Church and Convent.

Seated next to me on the two hour flight from Rio de Janeiro to Salvador was an interesting French-Colombian woman. She had lived in three South American countries and recommended a diving school in Colombia, Peruvian cuisine and to take the bus from the Salvador airport.

Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Salvador’s towers and favelas from the aeroplane Continue reading

Sao Francisco Church and Convent, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

The Sao Francisco (Saint Francis) Church and Convent is one of Salvador’s most popular tourist attractions. This 18th century complex, located in the town’s historic centre, is a magnificent example of Portuguese colonial wealth and religious power. Apparently the church took 800kg of gold to decorate.

Sao Francisco Church, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Woman wearing traditional Salvadoran costume in front of Sao Francisco Church

Sao Francisco Church, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Sao Francisco Church is surrounded by old buildings in Salvador’s historic centre

Sao Francisco Church, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

This inscription outlines the church history in Portuguese and English

Sao Francisco Church, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Blue and white tile facades illustrating sayings

Sao Francisco Church, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Tiles depicting the saying “the fruit of labour is glory”, Sao Francisco Convent

Cloisters surrounding the convent courtyard are covered in blue and white tile scenes illustrating sayings written in Latin at the top. Translated into English, the sayings included:

  • Nothing is more useful than silence
  • The virtue is impertubable
  • Money permits everything
  • At first care for the soul
  • In every situation of life it is possible to philosophise
  • The times change and we change with them

Sao Francisco Church, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

For a R$0.50 donation one can light an electric candle in Sao Francisco Church

Sao Francisco Church, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

The church’s wooden panel ceiling is decorated with paintings

Sao Francisco Church, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Supporting pillars covered in gold leaf must be hard work, Sao Francisco Church

Sao Francisco Church, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

The church’s interior is outrageously decorated

Sao Francisco Church, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

The closest I’ve been to gold for a while, Sao Francisco Church

Sao Francisco Church, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Entrance hall wall and ceiling painting, Sao Francisco Church and Convent

For philatelists, the Sao Francisco complex also has a stamp exhibition in an adjoining hall. The exhibition includes stamps from Portuguese colonial times.

Entry to the church and convent is only R$5, including a leaflet, and I highly recommend a visit for anyone visiting Salvador.

Festival in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

After a short stop in Rio, I flew north to Salvador, to catch up with Arnina and experience the city’s amazing culture. I will write more about this later.

In Salvador on the last Friday each month there’s a festival in a town square 15 to 20 minutes walk north of Pelourinho district. Hostel Oh Meu Rei manager Lidia kindly advised she and fellow manager Andrea were going and invited guests to come.

Salvador Festival

First stop was at this drink stall for a R$5 (~AUD$1.80) caipirinha. The round container on left contains a local fruit Spondias purpurea (seriguela) that makes a delicious caipirinha variant

Salvador Festival

A seven-piece band played under a marquee in the centre of the square. Locals grooved to the African-inspired music, particularly the guy in the white t-shirt in the left background

Salvador Festival

For food and watching the locals go by, we stopped at an outdoor restaurant on the town square edge

Salvador Festival

Drink and other vendors brought their goods in wheelbarrows, eskys and carts. The sign is advertising Skol Beats alcopops (R$5) and Skol beer, water and Schin soft drinks (R$2; ~AUD$0.70)

Salvador Festival

The town square is faced by a church (is there a Brazilian town square without a church?)

Salvador Festival

I doubt this vendor sold any Pepsis

Salvador Festival

Towards the end of the night

I loved the evening and thank Lidia and Andrea for the opportunity.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Time in Rio de Janeiro was brief and as my main focus was the Pearl Jam concert, the city’s famous sites will wait until next visit.

I was lucky enough to stay in Zoe and Ramon’s great apartment while they were away – thank you! For 1.5 days I was a short walk from Ipanema beach and even closer to the metro. Yes, that Ipanema.

View from Ipanema apartment

The sea is visible from Zoe and Ramon’s place in Ipanema

Buildings towering over church, Ipanema

Historically, places of worship have towered over other buildings – not for this Ipanema church

Birds circling over Ipanema

Dozens of frigate birds hovered over Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro

Ipanema Beach

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro

Surfing at Ipanema

Surfer catching a way, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro

Ipanema Beach

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro

Ipanema Hippie Market

Every Sunday the Ipanema Hippie Market sets up, with many stalls selling all sorts of hand crafts and trinkets

Favela across the valley

Across the valley from expensive Ipanema is a favela or poor neighbourhood

Walkway across the valley, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro

Walkway across the valley from. Rio, like Sao Paulo and Belo Horizonte also has many hills

Airplanes at Rio de Janeiro's Galeao Airport

Air planes at Rio de Janeiro’s Galeao Airport