By Alberico Manoel | Translation: Isabela Jordão
What is it about Bahia that makes it so special? It has acarajé, “dendê”, culture, history and a partying happy people. It is the Bahia of Dorival Caymmi, of “the good and evil”, “of the two hearts, which is the sea and the songs”; of Castro Alves, the Abolitionist Poet; of Jorge Amado, of “Terezas Batistas Tired of War”; of Maria Bethânia, of the Carcarás; of Gilberto Gil, of supermen and of the simplicity of people.
Those who go to Salvador get enchanted and disenchanted. It makes you happy and sad. The city’s social differences are quite striking. Cultural and historical diversity is rich and contrasts with the real situation. However, whoever arrives here observes a beautiful city, detailed in its culture. A land where all colors mix, where misery and wealth embrace and live side by side.
Passing through the city and heading from the Airport to the Historic Center we can see the beauty of its waterfront. The landscapes, climate, wind hitting your face, throwing the sea air into your body and inviting you for a swim in the sea; the sun toasting the skin and the maternal heat of the city that shelters those who visit it.
Upon reaching the center, there is contrast between the old and the new. The Lacerda elevator flirts with Baía de Todos os Santos, making the visitor see the most beautiful sunset. The Marina, the Nautical Center on your left, and the navy, on your right, contrasting with the fishermen on the wharf to perform their labor ritual early in the morning, sculpting the manual labor onto their bodies.
Climbing towards Campo Grande through Contorno Avenue, the visitor is dazzled by the local landscape. Between the track and the sea, passing by the street you can see a five star hotel, Trapiche Adelaide in the Baía Todos os Santos. Further on, the Museum of Modern Art of Bahia (MAM-BA) among its natural and architectural beauty of great historical value, as it was one of the devices of ancient Salvador at the time of slavery, now represented by a beautiful old house from 17th century.
Those who set out to visit the museum can see works by great Brazilian painters of the 20th century that transformed an era. Early in the morning or late in the afternoon nature dazzles the eyes of its visitors, and even depending on the period, you can watch the jazz shows on Saturday nights. However, the visitor cannot be unprepared, due to time and precariousness in the process of revitalizing the old center of Salvador.
Arriving at Campo Grande, you can walk through the wooded park, enjoy its fountains, trees and historic statues, and thus sit, stroll, look at people, contemplating the city and its landscapes. After all this tour of the city of music, by UNESCO, the visitor retreats to his room, tired and comfortably settled, can rest for a while or see more of the night city and what it offers.
Rio Vermelho is a great suggestion for those who like a diverse and busier program, between concerts, live music and chatting at Largo de Santana. The meeting point of the neighborhood is reminiscent of a bohemian and enchanting atmosphere, and whoever strolls in the region can check out the best. They also have Barra, Dique do Tororó, with its lush landscape with images of the Orixás. Pelourinho, Abaeté, Ribeira, Monte Serrat, the suburban and the beach of Base Naval, near Enema, known for presidential stays. Also, the place gives access to the beautiful island of Maré and Praia dos Frades.
In the Historic Center, an architectural ensemble is seen upon arrival. The solid structure of its historic buildings that speak of the past, the richness of its churches, its details, its architecture and its grandeur amidst the golden interiors of precious metal and the elaborate, dramatic and twisted designs of the Baroque on its walls.
Whoever goes to Pelourinho sees the contrasts between their old and restored buildings and people left on the streets asking and harassing the tourists, perhaps scaring them, but nothing to worry about, as the place is monitored by cameras, well policed, and of the safest places in Salvador. For alternative and LGBT audiences, Pelourinho is considered “gay friendly”.
There is the Casa do Amarelindo hotel, and for those who want something more luxurious, Othon Palace, in Ondina. Still in Pelourinho, for whoever willing to get to know a little about Bahian culture and its history, you can visit the museums and find beautiful stories told in the form of figures, photographs, pictures, sculptures and other artifacts. Between the sacred and the popular, museums express the historical and cultural context for visitors. There is also the Museum of Afro-Brazilian Art in Bahia.
At Largo do Pelourinho, you will see the landscape of Jorge Amado’s House, next to the City Museum, with carpets and some objects belonging to the great Bahian poet Castro Alves, and in front of Ladeira do Carmo. Before going through, there you can see the Church of Nossa Senhora dos Rosários dos Pretos on your left, where the Candomblé religious ritual meets with his drumming and the sermon of Catholic Church. On its stone slopes, “Pelô”, as it is called, is beautiful for its cultural richness, for the diversity of people who pass through its crossroads, for the merchants and artists who sell their products displayed on the streets or in galleries.
Bahia is beautiful in itself. You can also go to the capital or enjoy the tranquility of the countryside. In Chapada Diamantina, tourists will delight in its natural, exuberant and harmonic beauty. For those looking, even in the countryside, for a little more excitement, there are the Winter Festival of Lençóis and the Winter Festival of Vitória da Conquista, with its almost 10ºC average temperature.
There is also Morro de São Paulo, Porto Seguro, Arraial D’Ajuda, Itacaré. On the green, quieter line, there are Arrembepe, Itacimirim and Imbassaí, which respect diversity and have an ideal climate for those who want to spend good moments — romanticism washed down by the gentle breath of the sea breeze and the desert on the beach sands at night, combined with a good service from the establishments.
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