“Dance the Samba with me … Dance the Samba with me all night …” My dear friend & fellow Austrian travel blogger Angelika has just recently put this haunting melody in my ear through a post on Facebook. SAMBA. Yes, baby. My first ever Samba course in Brazil still shakes me up to this day, as I continue memorizing & dancing the fast-paced, flowing rhythm wherever I go … un dos tres un dos tres un dos tres, the words of our dear Samba instructor still ringing in my ear. It is thanks to the efforts & professional organization of the team of Porto Alegre Turismo Criativo that visitors like myself can experience creative travel in Brazil, the city of Porto Alegre being a pioneer for many more destinations to follow nationwide.
“With Porto Alegre Turismo Criativo, we want to show that Porto Alegre has a year-round wealth of cultural attractions for visitors”, Maria Luiza Lisboa tells me with a spark in her eyes. For the entire duration of my stay here in Porto Alegre, dear Maria Luiza is my oracle for all things organisation & coordination of creative travel. Moreover, she is a true soul mate as we both share the very same passion for the authenticity, unique encounters & enthusiasm that creative travel brings. Among others, she has already allowed me to experience a one-of-a-kind Street Art Graffiti-Workshop, a felt-making-postcard workshop (!) as well as making my first mosaic! Beautiful. And very unique indeed! Read more about it here.
Today, we continue talking exciting, interactive culture travel in Porto Alegre: Dance, Food & Photography are on this time!
Smooth & gentle is Fabrizio Ranzolin’s interpretation of “Porto Alegre Turismo Criativo”. Together, we create a beautiful work of art made from the building blocks of Brazil – precious stones, that is!
“Do you want to know your ascendant?”, Fabrizio asks me, lowering his voice and looking at me with his soft eyes. “Of course”, I tell him, delighted that finally, my moment has come here in Brazil: “Your ascendant is the Lion, Elena. You have a lot of fire – power, strength, and endurance. Just take care not to burn”, Fabrizio smiles and reveals even more of his work and teachings that are concerned with spirituality and ways to understanding yourself better. His first book, “O Caçador do Arco-Iris”, “The Hunter of the Rainbow”, is what he offers to me on my journey, even stopping to deliver it personally at the Porto Alegre Boutique Hostel run by dear Carlos, a hostel I truly recommend you to stay in! The book contains many tales of what truly matters in life, also allowing me to keep up and improve my Portuguese (thank you so much, dear Fabrizio, dear Carlos!). “Now, let us turn to the stones and their meaning: Here we are creating a small piece of art with four stone corners. They equal strength and balance – Lion & Libra, as much as your ascendant and star sign!”
“Câmera Viajante” sets you on your (photographic) way navigating the city of Porto Alegre in either German, English, Spanish or Portuguese. The team of professional photographers is eager to assist beginners & professional photographers alike!
Edgar Neumann, a tall Brazilian born to German parents, is a nude photographer by trade. His passion for photography developed from an early age; besides his commission work, he just loves taking visitors out sharing his Porto Alegre in the form of photographic tours. These tours not only allow me to learn more about the history and culture of the streets & places I am visiting, but also to try and test my knowledge about photography, light or perspective. “Do you want to know anything more? Just tell me: I need to practice my English!”, he laughs, happy for this opportunity to share and learn. And this is what the magic of creative travel does: All participants engaged in the exchange learn and benefit from each other, the teaching of new skills and fresh knowledge always going both ways. “I really appreciate the fact that you have come here without any trace of ‘knowing-better’, as some Europeans do in front of us Brazilians or people from South America”, Maria Luiza tells me one day in Porto Alegre. “But of course!” is all I can say, stunned. Then I think, for a long time, about her words.
Creative travel provides one of the most, if not the most authentic forms of travel. Thanks to the intercultural exchange of knowledge and skills shared by local people through interactive workshops, the level of appreciation and understanding between the peoples of our planet Earth is increased. Likewise, we all contribute to a better image of life and society: seeing eye-to-eye and showing respect, that is!
Last but not least, there are three people who have earned my full respect and appreciation at “Porto Alegre Turismo Criativo”: Luiz Fernando Schreiner Morales, a talented journalist with a vision to develop tourism in the city of Porto Alegre. As well as Cinthia Verbist & Maria Luiza Lisboa, the very force & essence behind the actual operations of “Porto Alegre Turismo Criativo”!
“All our love and efforts have gone into this project”, is what Cinthia & Maria Luiza’s eyes seem to be saying with each sentence and gesture. After a little over a week in Porto Alegre, I have honestly fallen head over heels for them, already missing them like an extended family! Cinthia tells me a lot about her life as a young mum, while at the same time demonstrating great professional enthusiasm at her presentation of “Porto Alegre Turismo Criativo”, a presentation that reminds me of my own passion for developing Creative Tourism Austria back home. During my talk with the Secretary of Tourism of the city of Porto Alegre, Luiz Fernando Schreiner Morales, I feel we both speak the same language, too (besides speaking in Portuguese of course!). “Tourism in Porto Alegre has a wealth of culture and diversity to offer”, he confirms my experience and emphasizes the city’s second stronghold that is health tourism. “We combine and offer the best of several worlds for our visitors. When looking at both the national and international acclaim of the unique skill set of our artisans and creative tourism providers, we cannot rank creative tourism high enough. Ever since the first national Creative Tourism Conference in October 2013, ‘Porto Alegre Turismo Criativo’ has successfully established and maintained its position as Brazil’s first and foremost creative travel destination. And that, in turn, has inspired several other cities and destinations to follow.”
Last but not least, I look at Maria Luiza … and my heart bursts with warmth. This very unique, outstanding and powerful woman deserves your attention, as she just has so much passion for developing creative travel in the city of Porto Alegre! To me, Maria Luiza is more than just a colleague & soul mate on the journey of developing our global Creative Tourism Network. She is a most beautiful expression of the single biggest asset that Brazil holds to this day: Human warmth. Hundred percent kindness & authenticity. And a very high, very smart, emotional IQ. Now that, to me, is powerful, as it has potential to change the world for the better – each single action and creative tourism experience at a time! 😀
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.