By Erin Hancock
When our Brasilian tourist VISA finally came through, we immediately hopped a bus toward Sao Paulo (from Buenos Aires, Argentina). We stayed for a night in Uruguaiana just across the Argentina/Brazil border before the next bus was available.
Uruguaiana is a small town, but pretty cute and with cheap beer available most everywhere. It was easy to spend a day here. Picnics, walking about and chilling out….anticipating visiting friends in Sao Paulo.
Vicente, a wonderful man who Julia met through an English language school she worked at in Toronto where Vicente studied recently, was the PERFECT host! He wanted to show us all over Sao Paulo, made sure we ate delicious food and ensured that each day was memorable. He did that and more!
We would wake up every morning to a wonderful spread of fruit and healthy foods. And in the evening he would take us to his favourite spots including Bacio de Latte, a top notch gelato joint in the lively neighborhood of Vila Madalena.
Sao Paulo is the largest city in South America. So to say we saw it all would be a huge overstatement, but we did enjoy what we saw. The views from the Italian building were wild with high-rises as far as the eye could see in every direction.
The street art of Sao Paulo is really well-done. We especially loved touring Vila Madalena which is a famous area for top-notch street art.
The markets were also enjoyable. I got a pair of handmade leather sandals for less than $10 USD at the market off Avenida Paulista.
And the art markets were fabulous too. The gentleman below – Paulo – is from a family of textile artists. I couldn’t resist a couple small pieces as souvenirs.
The Municipal Market is a must-visit stop. It’s a lively, bustling market with tons of food options and so much to look at.
Above see what “Brazil nuts” look like before being dissembled. These are long grapes on the bottom left. They taste the same as other grapes I’ve tried, but have a bit of a novelty factor.
Liberdade is an area of town that is essentially Japantown. It’s full of Japanese and other Asian people, food, wares, music and more. See an outdoor market below as well as a bonsai stand, selling perfectly groomed plants.
We even hosted a “real Brazilian pizza party” one night where we invited all of Julia’s past English-language student friends who she had met in Canada and a couple of our new friends from the Argentina-Brazil bus ride. That was so fun!
We also had an evening of sampling Brazilian food – lots of fried pastries with various things inside. And beer.
And we couldn’t complete our trip to Sao Paulo without getting in at least one night of live music and a valiant attempt at samba dancing. Thankfully there were some good teachers around. At one point I found myself in the air, having been thrown up there while dancing. That was a new experience.
On our last day we had a great lunch with our host Vicente and his daughter Fernanda in a nearby city.
Every day was packed – just how we like to travel. It was a wonderful trip! Brazilian people are fun.
Tips: Be safe, travel in groups, enjoy the markets, eat well, dance up a storm and take in the architecture.
Thanks to all of the friends who made this a wonderful trip! We will never forget it.