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You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Creative Travel in Brazil: Gaúchos, Christmas & Hot Vibes in Porto Alegre

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? 😉

Hello Brazil: I love your warm rays of sunshine on my skin, the welcoming nature of your people and the intensive light of your beautiful summer!

Hello Brazil: I love your warm rays of sunshine on my skin, the welcoming nature of your people and the intensive light of your beautiful summer!

 

But: Christmas like this on the main square of Porto Alegre? … It does not really add up for me.

But: Christmas like this on the main square of Porto Alegre? … It does not really add up for me.

 

Brazil, and in particular Porto Alegre, the city I have travelled to in the south of this vast country, is a (cultural, colourful) explosion of variety and possibilities.

Brazil, and in particular Porto Alegre, the city I have travelled to in the south of this vast country, is a (cultural, colourful) explosion of variety and possibilities.

 

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.

Porto Alegre: At the heart of creative tourism development in Brazil! Once again, I have found the perfect spot for my creative trip around the world.!

Porto Alegre: At the heart of creative tourism development in Brazil! Once again, I have found the perfect spot for my creative trip around the world.!

 

Only a few hours into being in Brazil, I already feel my first connections with the locals here at the Gaúcho Cultural Centre of Porto Alegre.

Only a few hours into being in Brazil, I already feel my first connections with the locals here at the Gaúcho Cultural Centre of Porto Alegre.

 

Learning how to prepare a delicious local “Churrasco” feast will be the focus of one of my creative workshops here. Mmmh!

Learning how to prepare a delicious local “Churrasco” feast will be the focus of one of my creative workshops here. Mmmh!

 

Watching this Gaúcho dance, I am reminded of many elements of Spanish-Iberian identity.

Watching this Gaúcho dance, I am reminded of many elements of Spanish-Iberian identity.

 

Maria Luiza is my oracle for everything creative, interesting & fun to do while here in Porto Alegre: Look at just how much she truly identifies with (the profile of) her city …..!

Maria Luiza is my oracle for everything creative, interesting & fun to do while here in Porto Alegre: Look at just how much she truly identifies with (the profile of) her city …..!

 

The „Mercado Público“ in the heart of the „Centro Histórico“ of Porto Alegre is THE heart of the city: Here, the soul of Porto Alegre people meets in exchange for goods, services and happy conversations.

The “Mercado Público” in the heart of the historical city centre of Porto Alegre is THE heart of the city: Here, the soul of Porto Alegre people meets in exchange for goods, services and happy conversations.

 

Having arrived in the centre of town ...

Having arrived in the centre of town …

 

... I am travelling with this happy team of Porto Alegre locals: Jorge, our city guide, is a true story teller who excels at his art – his love for and knowledge of the city is unparalleled. Go ask for him on your next visit here!

… I am travelling with this happy team of Porto Alegre locals: Roque, our city guide, is a true story teller who excels at his art – his love for and knowledge of the city is unparalleled. Go ask for him on your next visit here!

 

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!”

Potential indeed – for instance to surprise me with this Christmas presentation here in Brazil!

Potential indeed – for instance to surprise me with this Christmas presentation here in Brazil!

 

In 2013, the Teatro São Pedro, one of the largest in this part of the country, was home to the first international conference “Porto Alegre Turismo Criativo“ of Brazil. Tonight, a local band is set to play here.

In 2013, the Teatro São Pedro, one of the largest in this part of the country, was home to the first international conference “Porto Alegre Turismo Criativo” of Brazil. Tonight, a local band is set to play here.

 

Meanwhile, we enjoy the sunshine out on the balcony ...

Meanwhile, we enjoy the sunshine out on the balcony …

 

... talking a walk along famous buildings, such as this church Igreja Da Nossa Senhora Das Dores. Inside, a wedding takes place, the “waiting list is two years”, Jorge tells me and smiles. A good test to see if you can actually stay together, don’t you think?

… talking a walk along famous buildings, such as this church Igreja Da Nossa Senhora Das Dores. Inside, a wedding takes place, the “waiting list is two years”, Roque tells me and smiles. A good test to see if you can actually stay together, don’t you think?

 

Another tip for exploring Porto Alegre: Taking a night-time double-decker bus ride, which boasts colourful Christmas lights on the occasion of the season ...!

Another tip for exploring Porto Alegre: Taking a night-time double-decker bus ride, which boasts colourful Christmas lights on the occasion of the season …!

 

To fall in love with: Sunset over Ipanema Beach at the Gujiba river estuary.

To fall in love with: Sunset over Ipanema Beach at the Guíjiba river estuary.

 

Another big reason to fall in love are the many meetings with the local people, such as at Mercado do Brique de Redencão taking place each Sunday in downtown Porto Alegre.

Another big reason to fall in love are the many meetings with the local people, such as at Mercado do Brique de Redencão taking place each Sunday in downtown Porto Alegre.

 

Happy summer vibes ...

Happy summer vibes …

 

... make for a great mood!

… and (live) music make for a great mood!

 

I think I have already fallen head over heels for this city ...

I believe I have already fallen head over heels for this city …

 

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 …

An interesting example of the local foodie scene is this former bank building, offering a Fort Knox like café in what used to be the money depot!

An interesting example of the local foodie scene is this former bank building, offering a Fort Knox like café in what used to be the money depot!

 

The ice cream offered at the sparkling wine show of Porto Alegre is a true delight ...

The ice cream offered at the sparkling wine show of Porto Alegre is a true delight …

 

... as well as this “Pampa” Burger served with home-made fries in the restaurant with the same name. A truly tasty, one-of-a-kind burger experience!

… as well as this “Pampa” Burger served with home-made fries in the restaurant with the same name. A truly tasty, one-of-a-kind burger experience!

 

Acaí Sorbet is made from local fruit and served at the beach of Ipanema, Zona Sul in Porto Alegre together with granola muesli and bananas: More than just a snack, I would say!

Acaí Sorbet is made from local fruit and served at the beach of Ipanema, Zona Sul in Porto Alegre together with granola muesli and bananas: More than just a snack, I would say!

 

Food influences go all the way to Mexico in Central America: Tacos with Brazilian Feijoada & creamy guacamole …

Food influences go all the way to Mexico in Central America: Tacos with Brazilian Feijoada & creamy guacamole …

 

Thank you, dear Maria Luiza, for so many interesting discoveries here in Porto Alegre !!!

Thank you, dear Maria Luiza, for so many interesting discoveries here in Porto Alegre !!!

 

Brazil, I like you: Visit Porto Alegre!

Brazil, I like you: Visit Porto Alegre!

 

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.

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Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
#CreativElenaRTW: Troublesome Travel Tales. Of Flight Cancellations & New Friendships
Creative Travel in Brazil: Mosaic, Mandala & Street Art Graffiti Workshops in Porto Alegre!

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