Iguazu Waterfalls: Brazil and Argentina

Iguazu Waterfalls, located both on Brazilian and Argentina land, is one of the biggest and most magnificent natural formations in the world ensuring that one will spend some time exploring both countries. Since the greatest part of the waterfall lies on Argentina’s soil, the view from the Brazilian side is more beautiful; you can see it from a wider point of view and you can admire most of the waterfalls directly across from them like a painting. Nevertheless you are closer to the water on...

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The big family of colourful birds in Iguaçu

Iguazu falls, which are expanded on Argentinian and Brazilian lands have another attraction worth seeing; when you are in the Brazilian side, right across the main entrance you’ll see the big, wonderful bird park. Parquet das Aves hosts hundreds of bird species, here we see some of them: ‘tachãs’, these black and white elegant birds with a ;broom like head scream so loud that they can be heard from two kilometers away, therefore called ‘screamer’ in English. They have a special spur on each...

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Paraty and Ilha Grande on Costa Verde

The Costa Verde Region, which is called the Green Shore, encompasses the parts of the Rio de Janerio State from Itaguai to Santos. The ‘green’ part is named after the forested mountains which run parallel to the Atlantic Ocean. The buses which depart from Rio arrive in Paraty in five hours, taking the shore road and passing through Mangaratiba, Conceição de Jacarei, and Angra dos Reis. One of the old colonial towns, Paraty is an old port city which was built in the 16th century to load onto...

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Beatriz Milhaez: A Graphic Journey, Paraty

I have seen the paintings of Beatrix Milhaez for the first time at the Modern Art Malba Museum in Buenos Aires. The family of the painter with Rio origins was from Paraty: I came across this exhibition which is as small as this town. It is called A Graphic Journey. Although the paintings of the artists known in the global art circles are defined as abstract, they are like the tropical paintings of this tropical country: colorful, vivid circles multiplied in different colors and sizes (Are we...

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The Baroque architecture in Our Preto and the master Aleijadinho

Antônio Francisco Lisboa, or shortly Aleijadinho, was born in Ouro Preto and lived there all his life. He was a sculptor, architect, and a wooden carver, a master of all these arts. The city of Our Preto, the colonial gem in the state of Minas Gerais, a Unesco world heritage city, hosts many of his works. One of his most famous work is the Church of São Francisco de Assis (though attributed to him, there’s no official document proving that it was made by him, he had somewhat mysterious life)....

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Human Kind’s Gift to Nature: Inhotim

I had never heard of Inhotim. One of the days I watched an interview on CNN International, which was about Brazil’s most affluent citizen’s project of building a large park in a vast wooded area that would house modern art pieces. He was a mining tycoon, Bernardo de Mello Paz. He started to buy lands in the state of Minas Gerais, in Brumadinho where the Institute of Inhotim is located. From mid 1980s to 2000s the dream-idea to build a huge park where several art works belonging to artists...

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Manaus: the gateway to the Amazones

Manaus is the capital city of the state of Amazonas, one of the twenty seven states of Brazil. It takes its name from the indigenous people of Manus. Its nick name is the ‘Paris of the Tropics’ due to the beautiful Amazones Theatre built at the end of the 19th century during the rubber rush era. It is relatively isolated from other parts of the country, from Sao Paulo it takes a 3,5-4 hours flight to reach here, you can book direct flights from Manaus to Fortaleza and Brasilia but to other...

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Opera House: A touch of Europe in the middle of the jungle

The Amazones Theatre is the symbol of Manaus! It was built in late 19th century during the economic boom, a perfect example of European architecture and the renaissance style in the middle of the jungle! It is cited among the top ten opera houses of the world and celebrated its 120th anniversary last year in 2016. The theatre was built in fifteen years and most of the materials used in the construction were brought from Europe: the marble used in stairs and sculptures and the glass used in...

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Amazones, the floating forest

The biggest tropical rain forest on earth, the Amazones have two seasons basically. However, they are not dry and rainy seasons; the rain falls throughout the year. There are two seasons: rainy season and not-so rainy season. From November to May the rainfall is higher, they tell me this year in 2017 it is even higher than the average. While a great number of tourists prefer to visit the region from June to September to enjoy the jungle more, I am here in April and witness heavy rainfalls in...

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The rare calendar of the Victorian Amazonica flower

The biggest of the family of the water lilies, they can reach up to two and a half meters in size. They were born here, at the shallow waters of the Amazon rivers; were then taken to other parts of the world such as England, Australia. The British gave the name of the queen Victoria, but the locals name it differently: irupe, aguape,… The leaves remain alive for almost two months, we see the newly born leaves, the ones that are dying. Their roots under the water give way to the ones aho are...

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MUSA: Museum of the Amazones, in search of the Amazon legends

At the centre of the old town of Manaus, on the corner of the São Sebastian Square, you will see this little museum; it is the Museum of the Amazones, MUSA, a small place with exhibitions, seminars, handicraft made by the locals. When I visited the museum there was an exhibition of Feliciano Lana with his paintings telling an Amazon story ‘The Devil with no ass, the origen of Sarapó’. The indians in the Amazon region may have not left a written culture but many anthropologies coming here for...

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Flying over the Amazones and landing on the ‘Meeting of the Waters’

An unforgettable memory! I am at the second terminal of the airport in Manaus, this is a smaller terminal where you find mainly the offices of the Air Taxi companies. The Amazones is so big and expanded on the rivers that to some places it takes hours to reach by boat; so air transportation is highly demanded! As they take me out to the runway I see lots of little commercial airplanes, two pilots introduce themselves to me: ‘Eu sou commandant do vôo’, he says ‘I will be the pilot of this...

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Manaus: a port city

Although the rubber rush lasted only thirty years and the city lost its leading role in rubber commerce at the beginning of the 20th century, Manaus is still an important hub for naval commerce. The port of Manaus connects the city to all places in the Amazones and to the city of Belem in the north, from there to the Atlantic Ocean. Today many multinational companies prefer making business here due to the advantages of a duty free zone. The port of Manaus is a busy place: we see many cargo...

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Petrópolis: 19th century Royal town

Just about one and a half hour drive from Rio, inside the mountains there’s a nice place to spend the weekend. It also has a significant place in Brazil’s colonial history. The story of Petrópolis’ ‘discovery’: during the reign of Portuguese Kings in Brazil when Rio was still the capitol city, King Pedro II. and his family set out on a journey to the mountains and discovering that this region has high altitude, less humidity, and a cool and relaxing climate, they decided to found a settlement...

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Life stories from Petrópolis: Santos Dumont and Stefan Zweig

In the area 70 kms. from Rio and behind the wooded mountains is an imperial city: Petrópolis, which means Emperor Pedro’s city, captivated the royal family with its great climate and became an imperial city with a summer imperial palace in the 19th century. This city, which later on also attracted artists and intellectuals, still bears the traces of two surprising life stories.Dumont who developed winged airplanes which were the first prototypes of modern light air craft was the son of a...

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City-walks, Belo Horizonte

Before heading to Ouro Preto a morning walk in town. Belo Horizonte, meaning beautiful horizon in Portuguese, is the capital city of the State of Minas Gerais. Its significance comes from the fact that the precious metals, most important of them gold, was founded in their region during the Colonial period. Today, it is the fourth biggest city, in terms of income, after São Paulo, Rio De Janeiro and the capital city of Brasilia. It is also important in the political history of Brazil since the...

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Northern Shores: Trancoso, Arraial d’Ajuda, Porto Seguro

When Portuguese sailors arrived in Porto Seguro in 1500, they probably did not know that it was the first land in Brazil touched by these discoverers, unaware that this place extending as far as the eye can see would be one of their colonies. Yes, Porto Seguro actually means safe port and that is why their ships might have shored up here. Indeed the Atlantic Ocean in this area turns into a long strip of calm water. This area, now in the south corner of Bahia state, is called ‘costa de...

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Salvador de Bahia-First Capital

“Salvador de Bahia de todos os Santos,” meaning the saint of all holy saviours in Portuguese, was established in the 16th century as a Portuguese colony and a port city. The city was settled on a hill and its uptown was the administrative and religious centre, was (and still is) connected by an elevator to the lower city, which was the locus of its trade. Salvador de Bahia had the honour of being the first capitol city of Brazil until 1763 when the capitol city was moved to Rio. Pelourinho,...

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Pernambuco, Porto de Galinhas

Warm waters, a green-blue colour, natural pools inside the sea, coral reefs and the tide, these are some typical images from the Northeastern shores of Brazil. The capital city of Pernambuco state Recife is located about one hour drive from Porto de Galinhas. When you arrive at Recife airport as soon as you go out you will see travel agencies lined up one another selling tours and transfers, you can buy a shuttle service to reach to Porto de Galinhas. Once a fishing village, today it has...

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Olinda: the ocean breeze and the carnaval city

Brazil has many examples of colonial beauty: Our Preto in Minas Gerais state, Salvador, the first capital of the country in the state of Bahia, Paraty in the state of Rio de Janeiro, and Olinda in the Northeast, the state of Pernambuco. As beautiful as the name is the old town of Olinda. Founded in 1554 by the Portuguese it is declared a world heritage site by Unesco. Many buildings you’ll see are from the seventeenth century which are built after the Dutch invasion of the city. Two floor...

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Ouro Preto: gold is found in Brazil

The State of Minas Gerais (the Mines state) has some of the best preserved colonial towns of the country: Ouro Preto, Tiradentes, São João del Rei, naming some of them. Ouro Preto, the most visited one is located couple of hours from the capital city of the state Belo Horizonte. Cobble stone streets, colourful houses, the hills make it a postcard town. It mainly lives on tourism and as it is nested in a valley between mountains, in Ouro Preto one takes a step somewhat outside the scorching...

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Salvador de Bahia: streets, squares, churches, music

In order to get a true sense of Brazil’s first capital Salvador de Bahia, it is recommendable to stay in the heart of the old town ‘Centro Histórico’. The Bahiacafé hotel which is located on the Praça da Sé (Se Square) is a two floor colonial style building with rooms made of wooden floors and high ceilings, the percussion sound coming from outside makes us feel we are now in Bahia. During day and night you’ll hear music on the streets of Salvador’s old town, percussion groups made of...

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