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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?

Florianópolis, “Floripa” or simply “Ilha da Magia”: My trip to the island of (culinary) enchantment in Brazil.

Spellbound. This is how I feel after a most beautiful three days in Brazil on this amazing #CreativElenaRTW round the world trip of mine. Dreams turn reality turn dreams. The view from my luxurious apartment on the 10th floor of the Majestic Palace Hotel in Florianópolis. The tender meat of the oysters that Florianópolis is so well-known for. The tears that I keep crying over the many hours spent with local ladies Roze, Sonia & Syomara – tears of joy & laughter, that is!! The sweet touch upon the soul, when everything else just starts making sense, when you find yourself surrounded by beautiful people, when you can simply be, relax & enjoy life. When everything just falls into place. Magnificent.

 

Florianópolis is such a place. A place full of magic! It is not in vain that the city is located on an island called “Ilha da Magia”, about 80 x 20 kilometres in size right in front of the Southern coastline of Brazil.

The true magic of Florianópolis is, however, once more made up and lived by its people. I still have to smile over my own words to the team of Porto Alegre Turismo Criativo prior to travelling here: “After all these intensive, creative travel days, I guess I shall just relax at the beach in Florianópolis for a while …” But CreativElena would not be CreativElena if it had not been for some creative connections once more – such as the one with my dear fellow blogger Rita Branco, of “O Porto Encanta“! Rita originally hails from Florianópolis and now lives in Porto, having been abducted & seduced by the charm of this very beautiful city in the north of Portugal. On the occasion of my visit to “her” city, she has put all her time & efforts into connecting me with dear local friends Roze, Sonia & Syomara prior to my visit here. Who, in turn, are very much connected to all things Florianópolis and happily take me under their (creative culinary) wings. After all, Florianópolis prides itself on being a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy! This international award is what we have come to enjoy in the form of several great restaurant tips and a wonderful foodie experience.

Right at the start, I enjoy a delightful culinary introduction into Florianópolis city life: Local pastry filled with shrimp called Camarão – a true signature dish here at the South Brazilian coast.

Right at the start, I enjoy a delightful culinary introduction into Florianópolis city life: Local pastry filled with shrimp called Camarão – a true signature dish here at the South Brazilian coast.

 

The Restinga restaurant in the Sambaquí city district also serves us excellent fresh oysters …

The Restinga restaurant in the Sambaquí city district also serves us excellent fresh oysters …

 

… oysters that have literally just been captured and prepared outside the restaurant by this gentleman here. WOW!

… oysters that have literally just been captured and prepared outside the restaurant by this gentleman here. WOW!

 

Syomara & me having lunch together: Still fascinated, I gather my first facts about how this city made up of about one million people is actually split into many single little “beach towns” and a busy city centre.

Syomara & me having lunch together: Still fascinated, I gather my first facts about how this city made up of about one million people is actually split into many single little “beach towns” and a busy city centre.

 

For a better overview, have a look at this map showing the location & original settlement of Florianópolis by Portuguese and Azorian seafarers: Florianópolis, the centre of the universe in the south of Brazil!

For a better overview, have a look at this map showing the location & original settlement of Florianópolis by Portuguese and Azorian seafarers: Florianópolis, the centre of the universe in the south of Brazil!

 

Thank you so much, dear Syomara, dear Sonia, for a first taste of a city that the locals simply, and lovingly, refer to as “Floripa”!

Thank you so much, dear Syomara, dear Sonia, for a first taste of a city that the locals simply, and lovingly, refer to as “Floripa”!

 

 

Check out Rancho Açoriano, Barracuda Grill & Fairyland CupCakes for more top culinary travel tips on your next visit to Florianópolis: Chances are only local people will tell and share with you such great insider tips!

I have truly, madly, deeply gorged myself on Floripa food. Seriously. I am happy to admit it! Florianópolis is (and eats) just sooo good. I think I will continue dreaming about this fresh feast of oysters for much longer. I just love oysters, and prefer them being served “all natural”, with just a hint of lemon juice and spicy little peppers such as the ones served by the Restaurant Rancho Açoriano. Here, Roze and I have our meet & greet with local owner Adoril, who not only “rules” over the restaurant as well as the seaside lounge terrace (!), but also calls hundreds and hundreds of oysters his own – “fazendas” as the oyster farms are called here. A true paradise for all (sea) food lover fans!

A warm welcome to the Rancho Açoriano restaurant in the south of the island city of Florianópolis, with Roze & Adoril doing their best at making me feel 100% welcome.

A warm welcome to the Rancho Açoriano restaurant in the south of the island city of Florianópolis, with Roze & Adoril doing their best at making me feel 100% welcome.

 

One of Rancho Açoriano’s signature dishes are home-smoked oysters, opening up an entirely new tasting dimension for me!

One of Rancho Açoriano’s signature dishes are home-smoked oysters, opening up an entirely new tasting dimension for me!

 

Oh just how I love my oysters here …

Oh just how I love my oysters here …

 

… and just as much, this wonderful seafood platter put together especially for us on this typical tasting visit!

… and just as much, this wonderful seafood platter put together especially for us on this typical tasting visit!

 

Right next to Rancho Açoriano, a restaurant filled with great atmosphere (and cool air, important in the hot sweltering summer months of subtropical Brazil) …

Right next to Rancho Açoriano, a restaurant filled with great atmosphere (and cool air, important in the hot sweltering summer months of subtropical Brazil) …

 

Riberão district welcomes us with these beautiful, painstakingly elaborate blue tiles called “Azulejos” that have been hand-painted by an artist friend of Roze, Jesus Limes Fernandes. Truly worth seeing!

Riberão district welcomes us with these beautiful, painstakingly elaborate blue tiles called “Azulejos” that have been hand-painted by an artist friend of Roze, Jesus Limes Fernandes. Truly worth seeing!

 

Barracuda Grill restaurant, located right by the lagoon in the centre of the “Island of Enchantment” that is Florianópolis, also deserves your attention as one of the top places for excellent fish & seafood. Like at Rancho Açoriano, we are served oven-baked oysters bathed in a type of béchamel sauce and baked crispy with spicy cheese. Divine. Seriously, divine! Among the many main courses & fish specialities, we choose a typical Bacalhao pan meal whose generous serving of codfish, potatoes, onions & olives I am already familiar with thanks to my time in Porto. Dig this !!!

Ready for take-off? Our waiter has made a show of opening my local, artisanal beer bottle at Barracuda Grill restaurant. :D

Ready for take-off? Our waiter has made a show of opening my local, artisanal beer bottle at Barracuda Grill restaurant. 😀

 

Natural or oven-baked with cheese is how I love my oysters ...

Natural or oven-baked with cheese is how I love my oysters …

 

... dig in is what this Bacalhao family meal beckons: Serving sizes are certainly generous around here!

… dig in is what this Bacalhao family meal beckons: Serving sizes are certainly generous around here!

 

Foodlover society with a twist: At the end of the night, we have all but grown into friends & family! From left to right: The manager of the Barracuda Grill restaurant, ..., Sonia Meireles and her daughter Marina, Roze Komora and right next to me, Sonia’s husband Ricardo.

Foodlover society with a twist: At the end of the night, we have all but grown into friends & family! From left to right: The manager of the Barracuda Grill restaurant, Sonia Meireles and her daughter Marina, Roze Komora and right next to me, Sonia’s husband Ricardo.

 

Heart-warming, too, is our visit of Fairyland CupCakes in Sambaquí district in the northwest of the island city Florianópolis: Love this smooth Red Velvet Cupcake, prompting me to share my story of the creative cupcake workshop at Magnolia Bakery in New York City about a month ago!

Heart-warming, too, is our visit of Fairyland CupCakes in Sambaquí district in the northwest of the island city Florianópolis: Love this smooth Red Velvet Cupcake, prompting me to share my story of a creative cupcake workshop at Magnolia Bakery in New York City about a month ago!

 

Dear Sonia, dear Syomara – you are my „meninas angelinhas“ here in this magic city that is Florianópolis! Thank you for such a wonderful visit – even though I still cannot quite get to the magic of a summer Christmas (não pega). ;)

Dear Sonia, dear Syomara – you are my “meninas angelinhas” here in this magic city that is Florianópolis! Thank you for such a wonderful visit – even though I still cannot quite get to the magic of a summer Christmas (não pega).

 

 

Travelling with the local people has always been my favourite travel style. Lucky, therefore, to be travelling Florianópolis with dear Roze – who is a true force of nature!

Whizzing around like a whirlwind in her brand new Nissan, Roze dashes all over the “Ilha da Magia” with me, the Island of Enchantment, “so that you get a really good idea of why and how much we love Floripa!”, she says. Quite literally, sparing no beautiful beach or cute little city district on the way: Jurerê, Mole, Pântano do Sul, you name it. Roze really is, a true force of nature, and her energy remains unparalleled. She has this naturally contagious laughter that just forces you to laugh all the time yourself – together, we end up cracking up all the time! Happily, she literally “takes me by the hand” and takes great delight (and care) in showing me “her Florianópolis”.

Meet Roze, happy friend of my dear Rita Branco in the city of Porto ...

Meet Roze, happy friend of my dear Rita Branco in the city of Porto …

 

... Rita, who faced with a cold pre-Christmas season way up north has to put up with us giggly girls constantly sharing beach selfies & beautiful oyster platters with her (eheheh) …

… Rita, who faced with a cold pre-Christmas season all the way up north in Portugal has to put up with us giggly girls constantly sharing beach selfies & beautiful oyster platters with her (eheheh) …

 

… Roze showing me where (and how) the High Society likes to live in Florianópolis Jurerê district …

… Roze showing me where (and how) the High Society likes to live in Florianópolis Jurerê district …

 

… while I honestly prefer “the simple life”: Simple. Easy. Happy. Taking a beautiful walk on the beach. In Florianópolis !!!

… while I honestly prefer “the simple life”: Simple. Easy. Happy. Taking a beautiful walk on the beach. In Florianópolis !!!

 

Simply beautiful are the aroma & colours of this plant / fruit / flower / whatever (?!) here …

Simply beautiful are the aroma & colours of this plant / fruit / flower / whatever (?!) here …

 

… as well as watching a bit of everyday beach life go by at Pântano do Sul ...

… as well as watching a bit of everyday beach life go by at Pântano do Sul …

 

... here at Pântano do Sul, don’t miss a visit to Arante restaurant that thanks to its curious habit of collecting thousands of clients’ notes has made it into the Guinness Book of Records!

… here at Pântano do Sul, don’t miss a visit to Arante restaurant that thanks to its curious habit of collecting thousands of clients’ notes has made it into the Guinness Book of Records!

 

Last but not least, I want to tell you about my stay at the Hotel Majestic Palace right by the beach promenade Ribeiramar in Florianópolis. Perfect pool, service & views from up here!

Angelo, the managing director of the luxurious Majestic Palace hotel, receives me with a bright grin and a happy “abraço”: “Bem-vinda Elena – seja sempre bem-vinda em Floripa!” Each and every one of the Brazilians I meet is like this. Just beautiful. “Então, como você gosta do Brasil? E lindo né?” – “Bem legal” – very cool, is my answer beaming back at Angelo while enjoying the fact that by now, I am able to maintain just about any conversation in fluent Portuguese. Angelo has been responsible for managing the Majestic Palace hotel for the past ten years now, offering over 200 rooms, several conference facilities, a rooftop bar & restaurant as well as an infinity pool for visitors of the city of Florianópolis. I truly enjoy my days and moments of luxury here!

True luxury: The view from my hotel room on the 10th floor of the Majestic Palace hotel in Florianópolis!

True luxury: The view from my hotel room on the 10th floor of the Majestic Palace hotel in Florianópolis!

 

Fresh fruit & cake is what I especially like during breakfast here …

Fresh fruit & cake is what I especially like during breakfast here …

 

… as well as cooling down at the hotel pool.

… as well as cooling down at the hotel pool.

 

My room is amazing. Honestly. What a delight – penthouse-style for a while it is, then!

My room is amazing. Honestly. What a delight – penthouse-style for a while it is!

 

One of Florianópolis famous beaches, Mole Beach, is only about 20 minutes’ drive …

One of Florianópolis famous beaches, Mole Beach, is only about 20 minutes’ drive …

 

… a visit that already has me vow to come back one day: Até já, Floripa querida !!!

… a visit that already has me vow to come back one day: Até já, Floripa querida !!!

 

Disclaimer: Thank you all partners & friends for inviting me on this stay in Florianópolis. 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!
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Buenos días, Buenos Aires. "Magia Es Viajar" !!!

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