On a private tour with some friends, we got invited to a real Candomblé ceremony. We had to instantly buy white clothes. Not too happy about our fashion show, but the ceremony was amazing. The drums still ring in my ears.
Foodies: try the moqueca soup, made with ground cashew, seafood and lovely spices. There are many ‘comida a quilo’ restaurants, where you can select home cooked food from a buffet and you pay by the weight of your plate. Of course you drink dirt-cheap green coconuts and caipirinhas from one of the vendors on the boulevard.
Unfortunately my watch got stolen from my hotel room, so I got to experience the other side of Brazil as well. ‘Don’t worry, there are surveillance cameras in the hallway. We’ll check the footage and see who entered your room’ promised the hotel. But the next day was Sunday, then there was a holiday, then they lost the pin code of the system and by the time the security firm was ready to watch the footage, it had already been overwritten. The hotel manager was very nice and arranged a taxi to take me to the tourist police. Guess what: the tourist police was on strike that day. After some discussion (I was leaving the next day) they decided to help me out, but they did it soooooo slowly. Word by word, letter by letter had to be weighed and discussed. And then their chef had to sign, but she was just about to go out to lunch (and thus made me wait for three more hours…). Frustrating, but an interesting experience. Everybody is so friendly and they all wanted to chat because I speak some Portuguese.
While I was waiting, the street police brought in a dirty street kid who robbed a tourist, with the screaming tourist lady trying to hit him. Street police and office police don’t work together apparently. The office police said they were on strike and couldn’t take the kid. The street police then took the kid away and I asked ‘where are they taking him?’ Answer: nobody knows. No wonder he looked so scared…
Two months later I got an email from the hotel saying they had found my watch in a pillow case brought back from the laundry service! So honest and nice of them and so great to get my watch back!
Many people say this is the most beautiful city in Brazil and I kind of agree. Florianopolis is a peninsula with 44 beaches. Each beach is different: for walking, surfing, sunbathing, eating, nature, trendy, family etc. People are more European, it has a holiday feel and it’s much safer than Salvador.
I stayed at Lago de Conceçao, a very nice and safe area where you can just walk to the food truck parking (good food, nice atmosphere!), to various restaurants and shops and can even hitchhike to the beaches. One of my favorite beaches is Joaquin beach, with huge prehistoric boulders, where people come to watch the sunset.