For soccer fans flocking to Confederations Cup matches in Brazil's tropical northeast next week, getting tickets to the stadium should be...
A reader last week asked me about travel to the North East of Brazil for the World Cup. I advised him the best I could, which actually was very little, as I have no real knowledge of that area, So I did a bit of digging and came up with this interesting NBC news article. NBC paint a grim picture of travel to the area siting the Confederation Cup event as a dummy run for the World Cup. So let see if it's all true. 'They state that they found little English being spoken even in expensive hotels'. I can't say this as been my experience of expensive hotels in Brazil and I've stayed in a few but never further North than Buzios in fairness. I have always found them to be as expected with a lot of staff knowing some English not just reception staff. In the last year and a half the increase of English around Rio has been amazing I am always bumping into people who teach English or are learning English, I joke that Brazil is turning into a country of English teachers, but maybe I'm attracting them by some cosmic energy, who knows but I know for a fact that you wouldn't struggle in an expensive hotel in Rio to find staff that understand basic English. I also take issue which the statement "If you can afford English lessons, you're not going to work the front desk of a hotel," said Gunde Schneider, a Brazilian of German descent with a bed-and-breakfast in nearby Gravata. "More likely, you're the owner of the hotel." That's most definitely not the case in Saquarema and even our caretaker on the farm studied English at night school at the local college for little cost. The article goes on to suggest that Recife isn't best placed for flights or accommodation, on I have no idea as I've never been, but you can read another article about flights to Brazil on worldcuplatest. The article finishes with a warning about costs and I can't argue with them Brazil isn't a cheap holiday option at anytime but when an event like the World Cup is being staged, oh boy are they planning to clean up. I would imagine the cheapest accommodation you are going to get will be £10.00 a night on my natural campsite in the tranquil beauty of rural Saquarema, nature at her best. Website will be finished soon, I hope, campinbrazil.
A hop, skip and jump (ok, 4 hour bus ride) from the world famous Rio de Janeiro along the Costa Verde (Green Coast) of Brazil lies the little UNESCO heritage town of Paraty, sometimes spelt Parati, but always pronounced Para-Chee. A little piece of Portugal in tropical Brazil, Paraty was a blast from the past, chock full of old colonial architecture, cobbled streets, horse drawn carriages and old men peddling sweets in carts. A port town, Paraty is decidedly working class, and the simple, almost rough hewn architecture reflects that fact. In the 1800s when gold was still flowing from the mines up in Minas Gerais, Paraty was the port the Portuguese used to ferry the loot out of the country and to imperial coffers in Lisbon. When that gold dried up, Paraty fell in importance and faded into the annals of history, a mass exodus left the town almost empty, but it also meant that the buildings remained preserved in time without too much degradation all these years.
A relatively small town, Paraty can be covered by foot, and we spent few days there wandering about the cobbled lanes an amidst the beautiful buildings with their trademark windows. Late afternoons were spent sipping Agua de Coco on the beach, with Samba blaring from tinny speakers hung up in the trees on the sand. After our crazy time in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, it seemed a rather stark contrast that nobody seemed to be in any kind of hurry in Paraty.
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