Get ready for another long one, because this is one of Brazil’s most colorful, historic cities. “Sao Salvador da Baia de Todos os Santos” (Holy Savior of All Saints Bay) is its full name, but everyone just refers to the city as “Salvador” or “Bahia”. This is truly a unique city in that it is one of the oldest in Brazil, and the third largest after Sao Paulo and Rio. The vast majority of the population is of Black African origin and the African cultural aspects are evident everywhere in the music, art and cuisine. There is a philosophy that the closer a population center is to the equator the more laid back it is, the more friendly are the people, etc., etc., because of the heat. The south of the United States is a good example, and those who know Europe, say that the south of Spain, the south of France, and even the south of Germany hold the more friendly people of those countries. Well when you apply that philosophy south of the equator it becomes the north part of the countries, and for Brazil “Bahia” certainly proves the theory.
I want to get right in to Susy’s and my day in this wonderful city. We are going straight to the historical center of Salvador, “Pelourinho” which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here is a look at the old town from the ship:
As we disembarked the port signs:
We were told to walk down a few blocks and we would come upon a huge indoor market. Behind that market would be elevators that would take us up to the old city, sitting well above the port. During the walk we came upon this beautiful blue and white building:
As we turned the corner in front of this building we came upon the indoor market building with red umbrellas on it’s second floor outdoor cafe and behind it we could see the elevators building.
Well if you think we were going to pass up the market building and go straight to the elevators, you don’t know my Susy. Straight inside we went:
One hundred twenty eight “lojas” (stores) and Susy was in seventh heaven.
Since we had all day (the ship didn’t leave till midnight), after what I believe was a visit to all 128 lojas, we sat down at the patio of the second floor restaurant for some lunch and a cold one. Here’s where we encountered our first bunch of ladies (the waitresses) dressed as in colonial times (first of many we would see that day because this “African Dress” is common everyday dress around Bahia).
Finally after a wonderful lunch with a live Samba guitar playing singer (we bought two of his CD’s he was so good) we went out the back door of the indoor market heading for the elevators when what do you think we encountered?
Your right, another market. Well, after some delay (going through a market for Susy is like going through the cosmetic area of Macy’s) we finally got to the elevators and were zipped up to the old part of the city. There is one old building I want to show you first which was right next to this market. The building is very old and run down but the front is completely done in blue tiles as you can see (reminds me of Lisbon).
Coming out of the elevators you are on a large plaza and looking to your right you see these buildings:
This one in front is the Palacio Rio Branco, a beautiful palace which we went into. Look at the main ballroom all set in beautiful Brazilian hardwood:
and from the patio off to the right a breathtaking view of the Atlantic below:
Let’s go out into the street and see this old city. By the way, Pelourinho (the old city) brings together the largest collection of Baroque outside of Europe and has nearly 800 restored buildings from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries.
down one street and into another plaza:
Notice the Carnival decorations in the street that are still up. I forgot to mention that according to the Guinness Book of Records, the Carnival of Salvador de Bahia is the biggest street party on the planet. For seven days, almost two million people join the city’s street celebrations. More streets:
You really felt like you were back in the 17th century, especially when you came across one of the ladies dressed like this:
I could show you many more photos but there just isn’t space nor time. What a wonderful city this was to visit. Susy and I were so happy with the day and place that before we returned to the ship we had to enjoy our first caipirinha in Brazil. It was so good we resolved to have one in every port. Wish you could join me.
Salud, Until Fortaleza, on Feb. 18th:
Love You All,
Gary (alias Gagu)