I love Brazil. “I also think you will go crazy with Brazil”, is what I can still hear a dear friend say to me just before my “wild ride” into one of the largest countries on this planet. Indeed, what gets to me right from the beginning here in Brazil is the happy sense of community thanks to the team of Porto Alegre Turismo Criativo! Brazilians really know how to make you feel welcome. Those of you, who like me on my interactive journey #CreativElenaRTW, are keen to know more about the locals and their customs are well advised to travel to Brazil, and especially Porto Alegre here in the South. Bem legal!
“Bem legal!” – I soon find speaking Brazilian Portuguese easy & a lot of fun. What I still “struggle” with, is the concept of celebrating Christmas in 35°C summer heat!
Dear me, it is hot here! Really hot: My first days in Brazil vary between pleasant 20°C – 25°C during the night and up to 35°C during the day. Add some 80-90% humidity, and you will get the full picture. Quite the opposite of Santa Fe. Or Iceland. Even Miami, where I have travelled just recently. But let us be honest: Who does not enjoy acclimatizing to perfectly blue skies, sunshine & summer heat? 😉
We start our trip here in Brazil exploring the city of Porto Alegre, in the Southern province of Rio Grande do Sul, close to the border with Uruguay. Cultural diversity lies at the heart of “Porto Alegre Turismo Criativo”, developing Creative Travel here in Brazil!
“For the past two years, we have been eager to develop creative tourism as part of the International Creative Tourism Network here in Porto Alegre in the south of Brazil”, dear Maria Luiza tells me, who for the entire duration of my stay serves as my friend and coordinator for all things Porto Alegre. Maria Luiza is a wonderful person full of knowledge, passion and love for her city: Right from the beginning, we end up speaking “the same language” – as well as Portuguese. 😉 It is thanks to her & her team that I have already started to soak up some of the local lingo accent of Southern Brazil, and Porto Alegre that is. “You will see (and hear), when you continue travelling to Florianópolis later on: There again, they speak quite differently”, Maria Luiza laughs and smiles at me. One of the first things she introduces me to is the local Gaúcho culture as part of a cultural event before exploring the city of Porto Alegre in the days that follow.
Right from the beginning, the architecture of Porto Alegre, witness to the city’s eventful & multicultural history, truly gets to me. Besides, I am happy to recommend some tasteful tips of the local foodie scene!
“E bem diferente aqui … bem legal. Trilegal! Tá mom?” Maria Luiza and I have a lot of fun over watching me taking my first steps in this wonderful, Brazilian language of hers. Indeed, what my ears start picking up immediately are both Spanish & Italian influences in the way of speaking, what with Uruguay and Argentina close-by here in the south of Brazil. As much as the United States where I recently travelled, Brazil is a country of immigration. “Tradition” the way we know it as Europeans only dates back a few centuries. Literally everyone here is able to refer to their (great-grand)parents as early migrants from countries such as Germany, Italy, Austria (!), Belgium, France or Portugal. “A lot of Portuguese have started arriving here since the crisis in Europe”, both Roque and Maria Luiza tell me over walking through Porto Alegre. “At this point, Brazil is quite stable and peaceful, both socially and economically. We enjoy a good reputation abroad, and have truly benefitted from the international spotlight on us during the World Football Championships. Now, it is our turn to show how much potential we have got, being the young country full of opportunities that we still are!”
On the culinary side of things, I can tell you that I have already given in to temptations such as beautiful Acaí Sorbet, “Pampa” Burgers or delicious “wine ice cream” … the best thing I found is to stay open and agree to what the locals suggest. Like this, you really can’t go wrong! And Brazil is a country that knows a thing or two about spoiling its visitors to great food …
Looking for further creative-culinary travel inspiration on Porto Alegre? Here is my hand-picked selection of creative foodie travel tips for you, as shown in this Flickr Photo Gallery:
Disclaimer: I have been invited by Porto Alegre Turismo Criativo to enjoy the creative city of Porto Alegre in Brazil. All opinions are my own.