Salvador de Bahia – Brazil’s capital of happiness

I don’t know if I told you, I started to talk to a french couple (Philipina and Stan) now in the bus station in Recife while waiting for the bus to Salvador. We were also on the same bus from Pipa to Recife, but then we didn’t talk then but now we recognized each other (being the only backpackers on both buses haha) so we started talking and then when we arrived in Salvador in the morning we went together to the same hostel.

We took a bus that took us along the whole coast line, very nice, but our hostel was in the middle of the historical center in the neighborhood Peulorinho, so that bus ride was the only thing I saw of the beach haha.

After checking in to the hostel (which was great, and they even welcomed us with some bisquits and fresh manga juice!!! So luxurious) we went for a walk around the historical center. Everything is very colonial with cobblestone streets and colorful houses. It is also a unesco world heritage site.

Terreiro the Jesos and Igreja de Santo Domingos

Terreiro the Jesos and Igreja de Santo Domingos

Igreja de San Francisco

Igreja de San Francisco

Historical city

Historical city

Colonial houses. this is the square were they hang the slaves before.

Colonial houses. this is the square were they hang the slaves before.

HIstorical center

Historical center and the wishing fence :)

Salvador is the largest city on the northeast coast of Brazil and the capital of the state Bahia. It was the first colonial capital of Brazil and the city is one of the oldest in the Americas.

Salvador was divided into an upper and a lower city, the upper one being the administrative and religious area and where the majority of the population lived. The lower city was the financial center, with a port and market. In the late 19th Century an elevator, the Elevador Lacerda, were built to link the two areas.

A few important buildings in the cidade alta, the higher town and historical center

A few important buildings in the cidade alta, the higher town and historical center

The port and  the central market in the lower town

The port and the central market in the lower town

Having lunch buffet. The cheapes I've tried yet! My plate and a fresh juice was a total of 12 reails or something. (about 6 usd)

Having lunch buffet (pay per kilo). The cheapest I’ve had in Brazil! My plate and a fresh juice was a total of 12 reails or something. (about 6 usd)

Everyone had told me that Salvador is one of the most dangerous places in Brazil, but I found it safe and adorable. People are happy and friendly here. Sure, there are armed police men in almost every corner, so it must be quite many assaults, but it feels safe. And we walked on the safe places, not the abandoned neighborhoods.

It was a very hot day and I had not slept very well on the night bus, so after a few hours walking and a good lunch I went home for a little siesta and a shower. Then I woke up in time to enjoy the free cairpirinhas-hour they have in the hostel starting 17.15. It’s a great way to meet new people!

We all had dinner at Zulus restaurant and the we went to a free samba concert close by. I didn’t know it then, but it was with a very famous singer here in Brazil, Elza Soares (google her and see the pics, you won’t believe me when I say she is 86 years old!)

Free cairpirinhas night at the hostel. Hanging with the french people :)

Free cairpirinhas night at the hostel. Hanging with the french people, Stan, Filipina and Carine :)

Dinner at Zulus with the whole hostel gang!

Dinner at Zulus with the whole hostel gang!

At the samba concert!

At the samba concert!

They had fireworks and everything, and there were soooo much people there! But still not that crowded, you had enough space to breath and to dance. It was like a street festival. So nice feeling, everybody happy singing and dancing outdoors to samba. Salvador is known a Brazil’s capital of happiness due to its countless popular outdoor parties… and I understand that!

Fireworks and Samba!

Fireworks and Samba!

Elza Soares concert

Elza Soares concert

Elza Soares, famous brazilian samba singer, born 1937!

Elza Soares, famous brazilian samba singer, born 1937!

Happy people during the concert :)

Happy people during the concert :)

Some of our mixed gang :)

Some of our mixed gang :)

Next day I slept until 10, I really needed that. Then I had the greatest hostel breakfast buffét I’ve ever had – this is exactly how I like a breakfast!! Fresh fruit, fluffy toasts, eggs, bisquits, coffee, fresh juice etc etc. After countless bread-butter-marmelade-boxjuice-breakfastes in peru and bolivia, this is heaven!

LOVE my breakfast!!!

LOVE my breakfast!!!

Later I joined a city tour for a few hours. We visited almost the same places as yesterday but had a little bit more of background story about everything. Interesting story!

Salvador was the first capital of Brazil and remained so until 1763, when it was succeeded by Rio de Janeiro. As the first capital of Portuguese America, Salvador cultivated slave labor.

Zumbi dos Palmares and our guide Luis

Zumbi dos Palmares and our guide Luis

This bishop was eaten by the native people here. It was a ritual, not because they were hungry. They thought they got their wisdom and power if they ate him. The eaten ones lived as king the last night while the natives were preparing their barbecue haha

This bishop was eaten by the native people here. It was a ritual, not because they were hungry. They thought they got their wisdom and power if they ate him. The eaten ones lived as king the last night while the natives were preparing their barbecue haha

The African influence in many cultural aspects of the city makes it the centre of Afro-Brazilian culture. This is the second place where most black people live after Africa. Here in Salvador about 90% of the population is black, compared to the south where about 90% of the population are white.

Salvador was however primarily influenced by Catholicism and is still a center of the Brazilian Cahtolicism. There are over 300 churches here!

Ordem terceira de San Francisco. This whole church was completely flat and white before. While restoring, they noticed this was underneath!

Ordem terceira de San Francisco. This whole church was completely flat and white before. While restoring, they noticed this was underneath!

Locals

Locals

Guards, Filipina, and the Cathedral Basilica

Guards, Filipina, and the Cathedral Basilica

Me with Mary, having a typical fried tapioca with sugar and canela.. not to nice.. haha. But she was adorable!

Me with Mary, having a typical fried tapioca with sugar and canela.. not to nice.. haha. But she was adorable!

Kid playing football in front of the church

Kid playing football in front of the church

Samba train on the street! Hehe. Love it!

Samba train on the street! Hehe. Love it!

 

 

The historic center of Salvador was designated in 1985 a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In the 90’s, the Pelourinho (the historical center) was subject for a big restoration that led to the rebuilding of hundreds of building fasades making it a desirable tourist attraction. Today there are almost only stores and hotels in the historical center, nobody lives there because all the afro-descendend working class living there were expulsed in the renovation. This led that they didn’t get any economical benefits from it either… Apparently this happens quite often to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, that they sacrifice the population to the needs of tourist-based preservation…. :/

Peulorinho neighborhood. Mostly stores, cafés and hotels.

Peulorinho neighborhood. Mostly stores, cafés and hotels. And churches, of course. 

After the walking tour me, Filipina, Catrine and a English couple went to Jamnomam, which is like a jazz concert every Saturday by the Mam museum. There were plenty of food, sweet and drink stands there (vegan-empanadas!!). We watched the sunset there and then enjoyed a couple of hours of jazz jam.

Different stans at the Mam museum

Different stans at the Mam museum

Vegan empanadas!

Vegan empanadas!

Sunset in Salvador

Sunset in Salvador

Sunset in Salvador

Sunset in Salvador

At Jamnomam!

At Jamnomam!

Sunset at Jamnomam

Sunset at Jamnomam

The jazz group

The jazz group

Terreiro de Jesus a saturday night!

Terreiro de Jesus a saturday night! Churches, music and party! Haha



Then we shared a taxi back to the hostel, the others enjoyed a little bit more of the outdoor parties in the center and I went back to pack my bag, at 4 am my taxi was picking me up to the airport.  I slept like 2 hours haha.

Weird thing, the way into the airport there at night was the most beautiful I’ve seen – it was like a tunnel of illuminated bambu trees. Really cool! And another fascinating thing – I thought I was going to arrive to an empty airport – but it was full of life at 5 in the morning, with souvenir shops open and plenty of different cafeterias to have breakfast in. Big like!

My whole experience in Salvados has been a completely big like!

 

 

 

 

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