We arrive in Azerbaijan by boat. The port of cargo ships is 80 kilometers from the city of Baku, an artificial oasis in the middle of the desert and on the shores of the Caspian Sea. The only question they asked us while we were migrating was whether we had gone or thought of going to Armenia.

Night fell when we arrived in the city of Baku. It was cold and drizzled a little. We arrived in the city in a truck carrying watermelons. The truck toured much of the old walled city of the twelfth century. Finally, after making several turns through the nooks and crannies of its streets, it left us in the lodging house of the historic center.

Once lodged and without knowing well where we were, we went out to see the surroundings around the historical center. Everything we saw made us suspect that there was a lot to see by the amount of interesting monuments even though they were vaguely illuminated. It gave us the feeling of a mysterious city.

We hardly saw people walking down the street and the premises remained closed. It was difficult to recognize where we were. Was it a city in Europe? Were we still in Asia? This was a bit strange because it was only 8 but then we realized that being Friday in a Muslim country probably the locals were in their homes.

The bazaars had disappeared and in their place were the most ostentatious shops of Gucci, Prada and Luis Vuitton. Traffic lights, parking spaces and squares were neat and new. Everything was orderly. The only problem was crossing the street. The city is not designed for pedestrians. In Baku everyone moves by car. It would seem that walking is for the poor. Most are very rich and they are dying to show that.

The architecture disengaged us. We counted more than twenty skyscrapers that climbed among the old European constructions. We tried to ask about the architecture, but we could not. We did not have time. We saw a man sitting on a bench. He wore a military jacket and the occasional communist pin. The temptation was strong.

We wanted to sit next to him, get information, create a link. But this is a trip of superimposed bits. We are left with only the image of the old communist waiting for his friend, also old and also Soviet, to play backgammon and drink tea with lemon. In the background is the emblematic building of Baku with the three flames.

Hopefully they never stop flaming. If that happens it means that Azerbaijan ran out of gas and without oil. Everything would fall apart! We walk along the waterfront and through the old city with souvenir shops. The contrast is resounding. The old and the modern coexist. Undoubtedly, the city suffers from a certain cultural schizophrenia. I was struck by not seeing poor people, and nobody asks for money.

That night we met an Ukrainian who came here to earn money, basically. According to him, this is a great place to live. He likes modern buildings, lights, technology, silver, development, good living. For me, the city is infinitely boring. We asked him about his Soviet years. For us it is surprising that at some point Ukraine and Azerbaijan were the same country and shared the flag.

He dodges the question. Everything is better now, and his iphone starts to ring. The conversation is interrupted, perhaps forever. We wander from one end to the other. As it was already late and there was nothing open we went to rest to visit her as she deserved the next day.

Azerbaijan travel images wallpaper

Day 2

After a breakfast of sheep's cheese, tomato, bread, cucumber, tea, jam and orange juice, we set out on a cobbled street. It led us to the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, an ancient complex of the 15th century. It is part of the list of World Heritage Sites along with the Maiden Tower and recently both have been restored. The palace is located in the upper part of the city.

The complex is divided into four zones with the Divan Khan, an octagonal assembly area where the court of the Shirvanshah Lhalilullah met. In a second building we can see the palace rooms where a small museum of folklore of the country is located.

In a third building is the beautiful mosque of the Palace and the Mausoleum of the Dervish, Seyid Yahya Bakuvi who was a royal scholar in the court of Shirvanshah Khalilullah. Further down and through some oriental doors we see the baths of the Palace already in ruins but with a special charm for its location. From here we can see part of the buildings of the city.

In a separate courtyard we find some stones cut and numbered in an orderly manner that once belonged to the Sabayil Qala, a castle located on an island but that was submerged in its day and was near the peninsula of Bayil in Baku.

We descend the streets of the old city until we reach Qiz Qalasi. The term in Azeri means impenetrable fortress but is popularly known as the Maiden Tower. It dates from the 12th century and is the national symbol. It is a circular stone tower. Legend has it that a father fell in love with his daughter. Unable to disobey her father she asked him to build the tower from where she could see the whole territory before getting married. When it was built, she climbed to the highest part and threw herself into the void.

We buy cold meat and we eat some sandwiches near the river. The Azeris look at us incredulously. We are a show! But we do not look at them. Our trip does not result in seeing or observing. The day runs fast. We have to leave the country. We have to go near the border with Iran. Actually, we want to go to Armenia but the border is closed. Iran is the detour and the excuse. We left the city by finger.

The urban landscape is lost and we return to the same point of the beginning to the great desert with reserves of gas and oil. We go in an old Kamaz truck model of the 70s. It goes at 30 kilometers per hour and transports bricks. The guy speaks Russian and with that we communicate. He is a former red soldier. He studied in Russia and was at the front in the years of the war with Armenia, a war that still persists.

He warns us not to go to Armenia. We have to go only 150 kilometers with him but it took more than ten hours. We stop for tea and stop for lunch. Also, every fifty kilometers we have to brake so that the engine cooled down a bit. But it's not a problem. We enjoy his company. The best was lunch in an old post next to the route.

We eat watermelon, tomatoes, cheeses, olives, goat meat and yogurt. It is the Caucasus that we imagined, but without wine. At night we reached the border with Iran. It was closed. We had to wait till 9 o'clock in the morning the next day. In the Astara square there is a tea house. We ask if we can put the tent there.

The owner told us yes and he invited us to a glass of vodka. With the help of Google Translator he tells us that better not, that instead of the tent we should go to sleep at his home. We say yes. And we go to the house of a complete stranger who does not even speak Russian (as if we were familiar with the Russian language). His wife, his children and his brothers await us there.

We are the first tourists who they see and the questions are immediate. We eat ice cream, tea, fruits and more ice cream. We take pictures and they give us their room to sleep. We insist on sleeping in the living room but there is no way. The next day they would leave us at the border. On the other side awaits the Islamic Republic of Iran.

But we are still in Azerbaijan although we do not understand anything, absolutely nothing. The lightness of a trip through such a heavy country was an advantage. We did not learn anything but, at the same time, everything was new and amazing.

My trip to Cuba was prepared in a few days. So I went there a little blindly without knowing exactly what I am going to find. I only knew that in Cuba I would visit Havana and Varadero. I had purchased a travel package that included three nights in Havana and four nights in Varadero.

Day 1

After nineteen hours of flight, we arrived at the Havana Airport around 9:00 PM local time. From the airport, with incredible heat and humidity, we took the bus that would take us to our hotel. The first thing that caught my attention in this first contact with Havana was that the streets were very dark. There were very few street lights and to be around 10:00 pm it was quite deserted.

We arrive 30 minutes later to the hotel. It is a complex of two hotels. The best thing about the hotel is without a doubt the buffet breakfast and the location. It is in the middle of Vedado just next to 23rd street where all the nightlife of Havana concentrates. It is a very limited, basic hotel to sleep in and nothing else.

Between one thing and another when we settled into the room and we went out to find a restaurant for a dinner. But it was all closed so the only thing we could have had were some sandwiches that we had in our backpacks.

Day 2

We got up early and went to the imposing hotel with a lot of history. Here personalities of the likes of Winston Churchill, Wall Disney, Frank Sinatra or Ava Gardner, among others, stayed. The photographs of some of these characters hang in their fantastic corridors. Among the people who had been waiting amongst the heat, we gave up the idea of changing money in this hotel.

We went back to the hotel where we had stayed with our guide. Our trip to Cuba was, as I have indicated, a trip prepared in a few days. So we decided to hire a Cuban boy who guided us to the most important places in Old Havana. From the hotel, we take a shared taxi to go to Old Havana. These taxis are the typical American cars of the movies.

Previously we had to negotiate the price of the trip and not pay more than 5 Cuban pesos. This time the guide had to pay for it because we had not changed yet. If you want to take a shared taxi you should also negotiate the price. A trick is to say to the taxi driver that is what you paid in the previous taxi.

We begin our visit to Old Havana in the Capitol, an imposing building inspired by the US Capitol that was originally built to house the Congress of the Republic of Cuba. Unfortunately, it was under construction and we could not visit it inside.

Right next to the Capitol is the Gran Teatro de La Habana, a spectacular building that housed the old Galician Centre. On the same sidewalk is the oldest hotel in Havana, where the Cuban independentist members met and where part of the revolution was set up. Right next to it is another hotel, with a cafeteria on its interior patio that had air conditioning. It is something that in Cuba is appreciated enough.

We move along the Paseo del Prado until we reach the Malecon. On this beautiful walk, there were Habaneros who came to us and asked us for our name. After telling them the name they surrounded us and they sang a song afterward to ask for money or a gift. We were struck by the propaganda machinery of the government with a multitude of Cuban flags hanging on the facades of the buildings.

The Malecon was, without doubt, one of the great disappointments of the trip. We expected it totally different. What we found was a paved avenue and a cement walk with a very little charm that gave off a suffocating heat. We walk to Plaza 13 de Marzo, the Castillo San Salvador de la Punta and the Havana Tunnel, and the Statue of Maximo Gomez.

In this area, we also find the remains of the old wall, the Museum of the Revolution and the Granma Memorial located on Avenida Belgica and Zulueta. We did not visit this museum because it was not advisable in many Cuba travel guides. We tried to change some money in a hotel located in Avenida Zulueta but it was not possible.

Finally, we were able to change into a Cadeca (house of change) that is located in Calle Obispo, one of the most commercial and busy streets of the city. We exchange for CUC (convertible dollars). You should keep in mind that in Cuba you can pay in Cuban pesos or CUC.

Beware of scam attempts, as they will try to exchange CUC or for Cuban pesos in the street and these have no validity. The only validity of these Cuban pesos is for small purchases in stalls or for taxis. In stores where you can pay in pesos, it will be inscribed and it will be cheaper than paying in CUC.

We change enough for the expenses and we keep 25 CUC per person, since it is the amount that they charge when leaving the country. Before Obispo Street, we passed through the Bacardi Building located at Avenida Belgica. In the Calle Obispo is the hotel where the writer Ernest Hemingway lived. This street ends at the Plaza de Armas, a beautiful square where the Palacio de Los Capitanes Generales is located.

Here the first authority of Havana and the famous Templete resided, which is the place where the city was founded. In the ceiba that is at the entrance to the temple was the place where the first mass of Havana was held. The tradition says that you have to throw a coin, circle the ceiba three times and make a wish. The square is full of vegetation with the impressive Castillo de la Real Fuerza on one of its sides.

From Plaza de Armas we go to the Plaza de la Catedral, undoubtedly the most authentic square in Havana. In this square, we could see the typical Cuban women, with headdress, their long multicolored skirts and a cigar in their mouths. In this square is the Cathedral of Havana, a building of the eighteenth century.

It is in baroque style and two side asymmetrical bell towers, where Columbus was buried. In one of the sides of the square, there is a cafeteria with a spectacular interior patio. We go up to the second floor and from its balconies, we see fantastic views of the cathedral.

After the visit to this square, we march to the well-known Bodeguita del Medio winery which is located in Empedrado. This is the place where the writer Ernest Hemingway took the famous Cuban mojitos. The bodeguita is very small and it is full of tourists so to get a seat in it was quite an odyssey.

Our guide spoke with one of the waiters to let us access the dining area. This area was closed because it was not lunch time. The dining room caught our attention because it was a very picturesque place, with the walls full of signatures of the visitors and in which there were hung pictures of illustrious visitors.

Due to the heat, what I did not want was alcohol, but well, it was what I was playing! We ordered a mojito with a high price to be in Havana, and the truth is that we did not like anything! The mojito is made with rum and that rum is too strong for us. In this place, as in the rest of the streets of Havana, we had to be careful with the attempts of a ripoff.

We were approached by an older man with a white cap, the typical Havanese. He asked our names and after a while, he appeared with a poetry on paper and a CD recorded by him, with the intention of selling it. We told the good man that we were not interested and we gave him an occasional CUC for the poetry. However, the man was not happy enough and practically threw the paper in our faces.

We take Calle Mercaderes a totally restored road where the great colonial houses of Havana are located. In front of one of these colonial houses, we could see a very curious mural that represents the same facade of the colonial house but with characters of the time. Something that caught our attention is that one of these bourgeois characters was black, something very strange in those years.

In this street, we also find the delicious chocolate museum, with an irresistible smell as we pass through its door. In addition, we also see a very curious hotel that emulates a convent. Walking along Mercaderes street we reach the Plaza Vieja, a beautiful square completely restored. Here we see the Camera Obscura and many cafes, restaurants and breweries where you can drink beers while listening to the performance of a brass band.

In the middle of the square is a peculiar sculpture of a girl mounted on a rooster. It is a modernist sculpture that does not stick much with the environment of the rest of Havana. From the Old Square, we go to the Plaza de San Francisco, a square that gets its name from the Basilica Menor de San Francisco de Asis located in it.

This square is very important because here is the dock where the boats come loaded with tourists. It is the third oldest square in Havana. In its center is the Fountain of the Lions, made of white marble. Right next to the church, there is the sculpture of the so-called El Caballero de Paris, a well-known character in the 1950s.

This Gentleman of Paris wandered the streets talking about various topics in a very polite way. Tradition says that you have to touch your beard and make a wish. On one side of the square, at the door of the trade market, as in the Plaza Vieja, there is a modernist sculpture.

After this visit, we went to eat at the restaurant, right in front of the Capitol, at Paseo del Prado. It is a very busy restaurant, where you usually have to wait for a table. The kitchen is very good and the price is very cheap. In the same building there are several restaurants. After the meal, we went to take the famous daiquiri in Calle Obispo, one of the places preferred by Hemingway.

The daiquiri was better than the mojito from Bodeguita del Medio but it was just as expensive. In the part of the bar where the famous writer sat, there is a sculpture of him. Once we finished our daiquiri, we wandered until we reached the Avenida Del Puerto. There between the Sol and Santa Clara streets is the Orthodox Church of Our Lady of Kazan.

It is interesting to find a church with these characteristics in Cuba, but we must bear in mind that one of the main commercial partners of Cuba is Russia. Just in front of this church, we take a ferry to Casablanca. The ferry was a scrap, where we had to stand and squat, everything without air conditioning.

The security measures to ride on the ferry were high. Casablanca is the area that is just in front of Old Havana. From there we climb some long stairs, after taking an energy drink, to the spectacular Christ of Havana. This beautiful Christ is very similar to the Christ the Redeemer of Rio de Janeiro. It is a sculpture of 20 meters high on a base of 3 meters, which was sculpted in Italy and blessed by Pope Pius XII.

This sculpture was commissioned by Batista, and fifteen days after its inauguration, Fidel Castro entered Havana. The Christ rises an imposing 51 meters above the sea and can be seen from many points of the city. From this point we see spectacular views of Havana.

Right next to the Christ of Havana, there is the Institute for the detection of Hurricanes, with an ugly sculpture in its front yard.

From here we walked on a road that passed near a barracks. Right next to this road we could see diverse military machinery, but the police forbade us to take photos. The road took us to the Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabana, the largest military building, and the impregnable Morro Castle where the cannon fire ceremony takes place. In La Cabana Che Guevara lived for a few months and where objects such as the stretcher that moved his body are found.

At this point, we negotiated with a taxi driver the rate to our hotel. We took the Havana tunnel and we arrived at the hotel after saying goodbye to our guide. We rested a while and went out to dinner, at a restaurant in Vedado. We arrived around 9:30 pm but it no longer allowed more customers because the restaurant at night becomes a showroom, so you have to go very early.

We moved for dinner at a place on 23rd Street. We take some fish with Tu Kola, the Cuban Coca-Cola but much sweeter and with much less gas. In spite of everything that can be thought of in Cuba, Coca-Cola is also drunk, although imported from Mexico. Nonetheless, it is still an American brand. Dining in this place was cheap, but the good thing is that there was a group entertaining the staff.

After dinner, we stroll along the busy Calle 23, the nightclub street of Havana. Many young people were walking down the street. What most caught our attention is that hundreds of people were betting between the end of this street, the area known as the Rampa and the Malecon. These people were just there to chat for a while and watch people go by.

They did not do anything else. Young girls and boys approached us offering us company. Sometimes they approached us in a disguised way, engaging in a very normal conversation. Others proposed directly to us. Something that must be taken into account is the scams. Although Cuba is a very safe country, the needs of the population are high. Therefore there are many Cubans who are dedicated to deceiving tourists.

On Calle 23 we were also able to visit the mythical Coppelia ice cream shop. Another incongruity that left us very surprised was that in Cuba we see posters of Hollywood movies. Films like Batman were projected in their cinemas. It is something that even the same guide could not explain. The government was against everything American but nevertheless allowed the exhibition of Yankee movies.

Even though Calle 23 is the city's nightclub, there was not a large number of locals. For a drink, without having to enter a club we had to go to the nearby hotel. The terrace of this hotel is a joy, with live music, and spectacular views of the Malecon and the city. Later we decided to go to a club but its price seemed exorbitant.

cuba travel wallpaper images

Day 3

We get up early to enjoy the hotel's wonderful buffet breakfast. Today we were going to see freely the rest of Havana, without the need to hire a guide. Our first intention was to visit the cemetery and the Plaza de la Revolucion. We started walking down Calle 23 in the opposite direction of the Malecon. In this street there is a Cadeca, where we changed money again.

The 23rd street seemed to have no end. This street is a big avenue very similar to the typical American avenues of the movies. There are totally decadent buildings like the rest of Havana dotted with Cuban flags and images of Che Guevara. In the heat, it was very difficult to travel through this huge street to get to the cemetery.

When we finally arrived, we could not enter because a man, seeing that we were tourists told us that we had to pay for entry. It was something that we refused and so much walking did not help us. From the cemetery, we started the march towards the Plaza de la Revolucion. Due to the impressive heat, we were about to faint, and the worst thing is that not a single taxi passed.

After arriving at the Plaza de la Revolucion, we find an immense esplanade, without a single shade in which to take shelter from the sun. In this square is the colossal Jose Marti Memorial, the well-known landmark of the with the mural of Che and another with the mural of Camilo Cienfuegos a Cuban independence hero.

In the Plaza de la Revolucion we negotiated the price of a taxi to go to Old Havana. The ride in these small vehicles was fun, and we had a great time! Also, as they are open, the breeze is welcome. The transport in Havana do not have air conditioning, so taxis start with an advantage.

We arrived in about ten minutes to Old Havana. We alighted near the Capitol and from there we dedicated ourselves to wander. It is just at that moment, without a guide and without visiting tourist spots we begin to feel the pulse of the city of Havana. It is a city totally decadent but with a certain charm, with the facades of buildings completely deteriorated. There are clothes hanging on clotheslines that hung from the windows.

There are fruit stands in the street. There are boots hanging from the electricity wires. It means that it is a point of sale for any illegal substance. There are kids playing football in the streets. It a city with a characteristic smell that is not very pleasant. It is a city in which its people simply come over to chat for a while. Remember not everyone comes to you with that friendly intention.

We entered an art gallery and we stopped to listen to the brass bands. We also had a beer in the Plaza Vieja. After fleeing from the heat, we enjoyed a delicious fruit juice on the interior terrace of the hotel. To eat we returned to the one of the previous days. To eat you can also opt for Paladares, non-state houses converted into small family restaurants that are usually cheaper than state restaurants.

When we finish we walk along the Paseo del Prado until we reach Malecon. From there we decided to walk to our hotel, something that of course did not happen. It was three in the afternoon and on Malecon there was not a shadow. The soles of the shoes were almost melting. We decided to take a taxi again to our hotel.

Once at the hotel, we rested for a while and left early for dinner. Around 8:30 pm we arrived at a one that was very cheap. After dinner, we returned to the hotel to have some mojitos. Before entering a nightclub, we went for a walk along the Malecon. Like the night before, we were approached by girls and guys.

We ended the night in a nightclub on Calle 23. I do not remember the name very well. Inside, the Cuban girls and boys danced in a way that I have ever seen in my life. Without a doubt, the Cubans carry the dance in their veins.

Day 4

We got up early because the bus had to pick us up at the hotel door. We were 15 minutes before the indicated time, but the bus was delayed a little over an hour. When it finally arrived, we set out on our way to Varadero. On the way, we could see the government propaganda in numerous murals that dotted the road. There were Cuban flags and images of Che or phrases like Long live the Revolution!

The road that took us to Varadero must have been one of the main roads in the country, but it had little traffic. Every few kilometers there was a police patrol. There are very young boys and girls who gave the impression of being just over 18 years old. Something very interesting is that because the car park in Cuba is very old, every few kilometers we found a broken down vehicle on the side of the road.

About twenty minutes from Varadero and very close to the city of Matanzas is the Yumuri Valley. Over this passes the highest bridge in Cuba of 110 meters. The bus slowed down so that we could see the views and take a few photographs.

We cross the city of Matanzas and shortly after we arrive at Varadero, we see an immense tongue of sand in which a small city and dozens of hotels are located. Most of them are the property of the government but managed by hotel companies. The bus left us at the door of our hotel, a small complex, with a large central pool, a beach bar, a buffet, another Italian and bungalow type rooms. It is a four-star hotel whose quality is in line with the price we pay for it.

But others do not sell anything and only try to scam the tourist despite the efforts of the staff of hotel security for driving them away. These days we devote ourselves to rest, play some sports, eat and drink. Although I did this very little because due to the ice of the drinks. One piece of advice that you must abide by is to not drink water that is not bottled.

We took a bus on the road and we approached the city. These buses usually pick up tourists for a few CUC. In the city, we visit the many craft and souvenir markets, as well as its beaches. Hundreds of Cubans bathed in the waters of these beaches, some of them wearing shirts.

Varadero reminded me a lot of Cancun. The tongue of sand with a multitude of hotels followed one after the other, with beaches of crystal clear water and white sands. It is not at all comparable with the paradisiacal beaches of the Dominican Republic or the Cayo Coco. So if you are looking for lavish tropical beaches you will not find them in Varadero. Another point against the beaches of Varadero is that many people walk around the shore selling hats, handkerchiefs, and dresses.

In addition, Cancun has a point in its favor that is not there in Varadero. It is a great city with a lively nightlife something that Varadero lacks, or at least does not reach the level of Cancun. Halfway down the road, we made a stop at a bar where some delicious pineapples were poured.

Day 5

We made the trip to Cayo Blanco. This excursion consists of a catamaran ride with a very limited free bar. The alcohol that was served was not of known brands. This trip was too long since we had to put up with a group of Hooligans who drank all the alcohol that was on the catamaran.

The first stop was made in a dolphinarium. In groups of about fifteen people, we went into the water. The dolphin passed by our side to be played, in addition to giving us kisses and pirouettes. It was an entire experience! Cuba is one of the cheapest places to bathe with these nice animals.

After the dolphinarium, the next stop was at some corals to snorkel. It was fun but we had very little time, only about twenty minutes. Finally, we arrived at Cayo Blanco, a place with authentic paradisiacal beaches where we could eat lobster, and in which we were around an hour and a half. After the visit to Cayo, we returned to Varadero.

We waited for the bus that would take us to the airport of Havana. It arrived an hour and a half later. That day it was raining, so it took us two and a half hours to get to the airport. Once at the airport we had to wait for a very long line of one and a half hours to check in.

After checking in, we get into another queue to pay the tax of 25 CUC. After that we accessed the boarding gates passing first a documentation control of approximately one hour. Finally, we pass the typical control that must be passed in all airports. Total between one thing and another, since we left the hotel until we got on the plane it takes about 6 hours.

After nineteen hours of flight, I believe that we have beaches that have nothing to envy to those of the Caribbean. However, I had a huge curiosity to know Cuba and its people. Without a doubt, Cuba is different! It is curious to see the propaganda campaign of the government to try to control the population, something that is almost impossible in a country that receives millions of tourists a year.

An example is the one that our guide told us. There is a belief that is instilled in schools is that health is only free in Cuba and not in the rest of the world. In spite of everything, I expected more police control and greater isolation of the population. It is a society very open to issues such as abortion or homosexuality, a society in which modern music was heard, American cinema was seen or coca cola or red bull was drunk.

It is a society aware of many of the news that happens in the world despite not having internet. Havana, without being a beautiful city is an absolutely decadent city. I think it is a city that you have to know at least once in your life. It is a stagnant city in the past, totally atypical, whose inhabitants enjoy rapport. And even though you may have some bad experiences you cannot miss this wonderful city.

As for Varadero, it is a beach region full of hotels that the only thing that it can offer is sun and not very paradisiacal beaches. If you are looking for this type of beach I would go to authentic paradisiacal beaches not very crowded, with fine white sand and turquoise waters.

At the end of November, the Christmas markets of northern Europe are very nice and interesting to visit. Belgium, specifically Brussels and the Wallonia region, does not escape from that fame. I heard about how beautiful the Christmas markets in Belgium and Brussels had been. Since then I was left with the desire not to have gone a little before to see them.

Day 1

The arrival was at 14:30. We picked up the rental car and left for Brussels. The hotel is next to the Grand Place, 12 km from the airport. Well, that journey took us more than three-quarters of an hour. Between checking in at the hotel and going outside, it was already 4:00 pm.

By the river, we could not miss the Grand Place beautifully decorated before Christmas. In less than 300 meters we have several very important points of the city. We took the street next to the town hall and we passed by the statue of de Everard T'serclaes, made in bronze which is said to give Good luck by touching the arm.

We went through the Tintin mural again. Upon returning to the Grand Place we went through the chocolate shop. In this shop, they offer a guided tour and show the manufacturing process as well as the transformation that the cocoa undergoes until it becomes a chocolate pill. It was all very pleasant. We arrived at the end of the guided tour. When we told her that we had a travel blog and that we wanted to see the chocolate process, the store manager gave us an explanation that is well worth cataloging as a travel experience.

When leaving it was already very dark, despite being six o'clock. We were ready to see the Christmas markets at their best in the darkness. And that is what it is about, illuminated stops, fixed and intermittent lights, and people all wanting to have fun. We started again at the Grand Place with its play of lights and music.

We go down to the Church of San Nicolas, with several stops in front. We crossed the building of the Stock Exchange, profusely illuminated. We continued in the direction towards the square of Santa Caterina, where is the nucleus of Christmas. This long square contains everything we can expect from a Christmas market.

More than plaza it is a long and wide boulevard. There are stations of hot wine, typical food, and Christmas gifts, that begin in front of the church of the same name. Then we found the ice rink. But what I most wanted to try was the Ferris wheel. As we can see in the ticket data, it is 55 meters high. From its height, we can see the entire Place Sainte-Catherine in its extension. In fact, it is so high that we saw almost the city, and even the Atomium illuminated in the distance.

Next, to the Ferris wheel, a stop, and a long inflatable slide made the kids delight. We cannot leave without trying a cotton candy and without seeing Santa's reindeer. Seeing so many fast food stops we went hungry. After a day of travel, airport, transfers, and visits, we deserved a good restaurant, and, why not? We go to one of the most emblematic sites of the city, the Galeries Saint Hubert.

The Hubert was the first commercial galleries in Europe. They are home to the best shops, chocolatiers, jewelers, and restaurants in the city, all under its glass dome that reminds us a bit of the Milanese Gallery of Victor Emmanuel II, although this one is much smaller.

Inside the galleries, we saw a restaurant that we found very attractive. It was quite busy with local people and was not a typical tourist restaurant like the ones that are knocking on the Grand Place. We got in and, the truth is we dined well. The hotel was very close to the Hubert Galleries. So after this copious dinner, we decided to go to rest, as the Christmas markets of Liege await us tomorrow.

Belgium travel images

Day 2

Early morning we start to Liege and enter the hotel first. So we have all day to enjoy this city that at Christmas becomes the Christmas village par excellence. It is the oldest and largest Christmas market in the country. As they have quite extensive schedules, we decided to take a tour to see them in the afternoon. Some had typical products such as chocolates, sweets, and marzipan. Others have the beer and mulled wine. We went first to the Saint-Paul cathedral, in the heart of the city.

But what interests us this Christmas is its place. There they have set up a market and a large ice rink, not as big as Brussels. Once we have crossed the three places to probe the territory, we go to the river that has given life to this city and to a few neighbors, the Meuse.

On its banks, there is a market, very famous in the area, the market of La Batte. Here we find everything expected from the street markets. There are clothes, various appliances, electronic gadgets and accessories, fast food and people. Many people wander around trying to locate something that catches their attention or simply pass the time.

After a while, we went to eat at the restaurant. The food is delicious although somewhat expensive for our pockets. We go again to the St. Lambert square to the Christmas Market, to see it at night. We climb on the Ferris wheel to see spectacular views. We go through the almost 200 stands of different products. We finish the night in the best way in a spectacular restaurant.

We went back through the neighborhood of Le Carre, where there is a whole night party. This night it is full of students with painted gowns who celebrate Christmas with drinks. We decided to go to rest as tomorrow Durbuy awaits us, the smallest city in the world.

There are places in the world, which should be a must visit, such as the Machu Pichu of Peru, the pyramids of Egypt, or the historic city of Petra. Cambodia is well worth a visit, although it is true that the vast majority, among which I am, simply add the excursion to Angkor Wat as part of a larger trip through Southeast Asia.

Angkor Wat is another place that the human being should visit once in a lifetime. The temples of Angkor is one of those places that you expect a lot, even fearing disappointment, but nothing is further from reality. They are even more spectacular than you can imagine. Cambodia, I owe you one!

Day 1 - Siem Reap

We get up without hurry and a tuk tuk takes us to the port of Luang Prabang where we will take our plane to Siem Reap. Our plane left at 10.40 and arrived at 12 noon. When the height began to decrease I could begin to observe the landscape being fascinated with the beautiful picture. All that covered my view were rice fields, palm trees and mountains leaving only small gaps without green color for houses and roads. We took a tuk tuk that take us to the center of Siem Reap. The streets were flooded since the heavy rains of a typhoon.

We reach the guest house without problems. The rooms were spacious and comfortable and there was wifi, as in all the hotels that we stayed throughout this month of travel. After keeping the backpacks we went directly to the center, taking a walk as we wanted to see the market.

We ate in one of the many bars on the sides and after that we decided to take a tuk tuk to enjoy the afternoon watching the sunset at Angkor Wat. We toured the site in the same tuk tuk that we had taken in Siem Reap and the scenery is beautiful. We enjoy inside the temple of Angkor Wat!

When the sun was almost hidden on the horizon the stones of the temple took an incredible red tone. It has been one of the most beautiful sunsets that I could see! We went back to the guest house. After a shower, we went to pub street with a tuk tuk. I have to admit that in Cambodia I found the prices much more expensive than in Vietnam or Laos.

Pub street, a street in the Kao San Road style of Bangkok is a very very touristy street, with bars made by and for tourists. So we decided to leave it and in a side street we found a great bar that we go with great prices and food cooked in front of us! The skewers and coconuts were exquisite! We had rice with vegetables and chicken, a beer and a coke.

Considering that we had not eaten anything since breakfast, it tasted great. And after this authentic dinner among Cambodians we take a stroll and see different places that offer excursions and others where they give massages and let the little fish eat the dead cells of the feet. We return and went to the bed as we were tired after such an exhausting day!

Day 2 - Angkor Wat

The sunrise is cloudy. At 7 our tuk tuk driver picks us up to take us the temples. After crossing the ruins of what was an entrance, and observe how some stones on the ground, covered with ferns and vegetation welcome me, I enter the domains of Angkor Watt. Along the way, dozens of monkeys come out to me, or simply swing from branch to branch.

On the outside, I only see a wall, and the enormous silhouette of central towers, which I have seen in hundreds of photos. I climb the stairs of the outer wall, the wall that surrounds the whole enclosure and I enter a space, where time does not exist, and the images carved in the stones, it would be said that they move for me. More than 2000 carvings of apsaras, or celestial dancers, move in their stony stillness.

We move to Bayon. I was overwhelmed! Those huge towers with their carved faces has something that moves me inside. It seems as if they are watching the four cardinal points! We spent a hour going around its terraces and inside. The apsaras, still dance immovable, when I leave.

A walk through an open forest, leads me through the Terrace of the Elephants to Phimeanakas, the palace area. In the surroundings we saw temples where monks purified Cambodians with water and prayers. I climb its steep stairs, and on top of everything in the temple, I see a typical image of a thousand films. I would need two whole lives to be able to see every corner. Already in the tuk tuk we continue to Preah Khan. We continue to Ta Som, and from there to Pre Rup.

From there we go to Ta Prohm. Without a doubt it was the temple that I most liked to see, because I loved the jungle and the imposing roots of the trees on the walls. At the entrance of the temple, a tree, a gigantic tree embraces with its roots the walls of the entrance. It cannot be real.

It seems to be born from within the stones. But it is real. Dozens of trees, of the most enormous trees that I remember, embrace, imprison, coexist, with the walls and stones. Cutting the roots would be to destroy the temple. The symbiosis is so perfect, so incredibly extraordinary, that I do not know if I walk through a temple surrounded by trees, or I'm up in a tree, where rocks come from.

The whole complex is a network of towers, courtyards, narrow passages and trees. The reliefs remain hidden covered with moss and climbing plants. There is so much vegetation, that even in an open courtyard, the sun's rays have difficulty reaching. To my memory come the images of adventure films shot here, and planted me in front of a door covered with roots, waiting for Angelina Jolie, appear between these walls, as in his movie.

My tour of Angkor, now takes me to Banteai Srei, or temple of women. The pond that surrounds the temple, allows me to obtain some wonderful photos, of an entire enclosure reflected in the water. Inside, figures and reliefs of women, lotus flowers, and some girls who pose as if they were living postcards, in exchange for a tip.

We ate in one of the many beach bars that are among the ruins. We have the amok, the nom banh chok, which are the traditional noodles and the kralan, a rice cake in bamboo cane. We try the sauteed frogs. I thought it was very expensive, but I recognize that being so touristy they take advantage and ask for what they want. We also bought a CD from some musicians.

We wanted to see the sunset in Bayon. So we asked the tuk tuk to take us there again to end the marathon of the day and unfortunately when we arrive and the sky was dark! It rained as it can only do in Southeast Asia! It's amazing how much water can fall in a few minutes!

Soaked we took refuge inside the tuk tuk and started back to Siem Reap, but we were satisfied by the wonderful day we lived among the ruins.

After a warm shower and rest we returned in a tuk tuk from the guest house to the center for dinner. In the end we enter a Thai restaurant, not so much because we like it a lot but because of laziness to look for something else. It is an excellent place because the terrace where the tables are is huge. After this, we could not forget our aching feet. So we looked for a massage center and we gave ourselves a foot massage for 45 minutes! We walked through Pub street. We return and get back to bed soon as we wanted to savor the experience of the day passed!

Day 3 - Bayon

At 8 o'clock our tuk tuk awaits us but the sky looks like having the desire to rain as yesterday afternoon. So we changed plans and decided to go to the lake to see the floating villages and then sunset in Bayon, which we could not see yesterday.

The trip in tuk tuk up there was great. The journey of few kilometers in such means of transport become eternal but we have the opportunity to see everything more calmly! When arriving at a town, the streets were flooded and we could not advance. We saw that some tourists ventured to walk along the water with mules but the boy of our tuk tuk was great. By going through the steeper side of the road he managed to advance without falling down arriving safely at the end to the town!

From there it was impossible to continue. We had no choice but to rent a boat to an area where they had boats with which to travel the floating villages to the lake. We found the price demanded by the boats to the floating villages and the lake exorbitant. In the end, after much dribbling, they lowered it! We pay and enjoy the views.

The town was amazing, with wooden houses, joined together and floating on the brown waters. All of them has boats nearby, with children leaning out of the entrances. There are vendors who come to the portals with different products. There is a church, a school, and the police, all this above the brown waters! It was great.

At the end of the two towns, we reach the Lake. It's huge, and almost looks like a sea! The boat tried to go down to a place where we can eat. In the end, after almost ten minutes waiting there, we started and returned to the dock.

We returned to Siem Reap and stopped to eat in a place we saw and told the driver of the tuk tuk to join us. He agreed to eat with us and we took the opportunity to learn about customs in his country. He was very quiet and was barely 19 years old.

As it was early on the way we decided that we would look for tickets to Phnom Penh for that same afternoon since we could not go to the temples because of the threat of tremendous rain.

In the center, we get a tourist bus ticket. We would leave at 16:30.
A tuk tuk took us to the guest house. After packing the luggage quickly we eat some sandwich since at 3pm the van would pick us up. At 15.30 a van took us to the Siem Reap bus station. To our surprise, what should be a super comfortable bus spending 6h of a trip became a trip that took almost 9 hours!

The positive thing was that we met locals on the bus, who were very nice. Almost everyone who was sitting around us tried to talk to us and play with us! In the end we loved the change! We even take our names written in Cambodian in our travel book and some people's. I love these letters!

We made two stops and in one of them at 7:00 pm, we bought a pineapple. We passed lots of villages where people got on and off. On one occasion, we were half dozing.

We arrived Phnom Penh around midnight and dozens of tuk-tuk harassed us to take us in search of a hotel. We took one and we left towards the guesthouse. The only problem is that it was farthest from the river area and to move we would need a vehicle. It is a very cozy guesthouse with few rooms and a covered terrace.

There they have a bookshelf full of books and cambodia travel guides. The walls overflow with photos and posters in which wecan read "welcome" in many languages ​made by the guests who are passing through there. We did not have to do it because it was already there. I have a very good memory of the woman who welcomed us.

She was very nice and was interested in what we wanted to see and do. She cooked us dinner and explained how to get to Tuol Sleng on foot. After undressing, we got into bed very tired.

Day 4 - Phnom Penh

We have breakfast on the terrace and left with the idea of ​​walking to the museum. Soon we take a tuk-tuk that made signs so that we could go with him. He told us that if we went with him all day he would take us now for free. Since we knew that afterwards we would need one, we said yes.

And thank goodness, because if we had to cross the avenue walking we would not have arrived. And the fact is that the streets of Cambodia are chaotic. The traffic signs are rare and also non-existent in the eyes of the drivers and each one goes literally as it pleases.

It is not uncommon to see motorcycles that go in the opposite lane, tuk-tuks that make a change of direction in the middle of an avenue. The only rule when arriving at an intersection is to slow down. Surviving chaos has its merit. In a few minutes we arrived at Tuol Sleng, and the driver told us that he would wait for us at the corner of the street.

We started with this site because I really wanted to see it. I had read something about the history of this place and being there inside was as I had imagined, a chilling visit. I will not be the one to give readers a history lesson. I would not even know if I wanted to.

The history of this museum is linked to what happened in Cambodia during the four years that the Khmer Rouge ruled. Knowing this in advance we enter this place with the heart in a fist, and it does not come out better. We paid the entrance fee and started the tour of the building on the left.

Walking through the corridors of the building we relived the nightmare and the sensation was creepy. On one of the floors there were murals made with the photos of all the people who had passed by. We spent a lot of time taking photos and recording videos until the time we left with the driver.

On the way we could see Choeung Ek. To finish the visit we saw a small museum that is on the way out with more photographs and details of the extermination camp. Obviously we went where the driver took us where some tourists usually go. Weary after the whole day we returned to the guest house.

We stayed on the terrace of the guesthouse till the time it was raining. We see the photographs of several areas of Cambodia that were on the wall. We then leaf through the dozens of guides in several languages ​​of Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Burma. When the whirlwind gave a truce, the same driver who was still in the faithful door took us to the river walk area. We discovered the Royal Palace and the silver pagoda. In the royal palace

The only exciting thing I saw was a monkey that showed me all the teeth while we tried to take a picture. We roam around for an hour. We then head for the river walk and went in search of a bar to finish the day. In the end we ended up eating at an Indian restaurant on the corner of Blue Dog Street, which, even without as much decoration as the Kamasutra or as much atmosphere as in Siem Reap, was still just as good

Our legs are tired and we are enormously hungry. On the way we could observe the movement that is in the walk, with people walking, people selling all kinds of street food and people fishing in the Mekong. After recharging our batteries we returned to the guest house to buy a bus ticket for the next day to Kompong Cham. So while we were waiting for the woman to confirm it we sat on the sofa to play a game of chess.

We still had to wait a while. It did not take me five minutes to fall asleep knowing that the next day started the route through deep Cambodia.

cambodia travel images

Day 5 - Sihanoukville

The weather threatened with rain. So we cross our fingers and let a bit of breakfast go by. While I was eating milk with banana and muesli I looked at the sky almost begging for a ray of sunshine. At 6 o'clock in the morning and strangely punctual, a minibus came to pick us up at the guesthouse.

This one took a few turns and was picking up all the people who were getting ready to take the bus that would take us later on the next trip. We changed our plans and instead of going to Battambang, and always thinking about the budget and the weather, we decided to go directly to the west coast to Sihanoukville.

Once at the bus station, all the vendors stung us, trying to endorse us to a piece of bread while we tried to find out where we had to go. Up on the bus we were still waiting for the others for a while and moving from place to place while the reviewer tried to put everyone in their place. The trip was going to be long, rather long. We were going to cross Cambodia from top to bottom.

We left at 7 and in the first few hours we spent watching the spectacular scenery. We were going by a road that went through villages. At 12:30 we arrived at our destination. We stepped on the ground again and picked up the backpacks.

We were about to negotiate with a tuk-tuk when a man approached us, almost clandestinely and told us that he can take us on a motorbike to the guest house. The Lonely Planet says that there is an agreement between motorcyclists and tuk-tuks, but this man managed to make us the offer without others noticing. It was an offer too tempting to refuse.

So we started the journey. On the way, as expected, the older man in front tried to take us to a different place to collect the commission of another guesthouse. We convinced him not to do it and soon followed the course and took us to the agreed destination.

I got off the motorcycle and picked up everything, and right at the entrance of the guesthouse I realized that it really was a republic of monkeys. After doing the check-in, we went through the back of the bar, where there was a garden with modest bungalows.

And I say modest because the truth is that there were two thin mattresses on a wooden board, a fan, a bathroom with cold water and a porch with a pair of wicker chairs to rest in the garden. After the shower that we needed so much, we went again by the bar where we were invited to welcome beers in the evening. Built all in wood, in the purest style of a beach hut, the area was divided into three floors.

Serendipity beach was the first beach we visited. We just had to go down the avenue and cross a battered street of dirt and tunnels to get to the beach. The canvas imagined finally vanished. Before me appeared a beach where the water was neither blue, nor the sand was white and there was hardly room to walk.

Actually it was a stretch of sand about 4 meters wide full of loungers and with the bars attached. We started walking around one beach bar after another and when we realized that they were, all the same, we decided to throw ourselves in a chair. Suddenly the wind began to blow and a thundercloud arrived.

On the way to the guesthouse we stopped at a store and bought flip flops. We were looking at swimsuits, but they were all too flowery. That night we went to dinner at the bar. Without stopping much longer we sat at a table. It was a terrace covered by a wooden roof where we ordered a fish barbecue with squid, shrimp and Lok Lak, a meat dish with an exquisite sauce to go with the beer.

As expected, most of the dishes were western, well, actually fast food like hamburgers, chips, hot dogs, sandwiches, and baguettes. Although they also reserved a small space for Cambodian food, of which I must say, the Rolls were the best I tried throughout the trip. I still remember the taste of those spicy Spring rolls! To top off the dinner we ordered a banana and chocolate pankake.

It was during dinner when we realized that the atmosphere there had nothing to do with what we had been seeing. People were looking for relaxation on the beach and partying at night. The proof of that were the dozens of photos hanging on the walls in which a lot of people were seen in disguise and in parties.

Although we were not encouraged by that day, the beers that we drank during dinner had somnolent effect. Shortly after eating the sandwiches we were on the porch of the room waiting to go to sleep. We asked for a couple of drinks and went up to our beloved attic where we chatted in the hammocks until we fell asleep.

Day 6 - Bokor National Park

With the good weather the adventures returned. So the next day we woke up early and we were at the door of the guesthouse where the car was already waiting for us with our excursion companions. The man who convinced us the day before to make the getaway invited us to enter the car to leave, since we were the last ones. Already accommodated in the back of the vehicle we saw that apart from the guide and the driver there were five people. I can only say that they were a couple of girls that went together and three others that seemed like that too. We were going to the Bokor National Park also called Preah Monivong National Park, a few kilometers from Kampot, to visit the surroundings.

As we climbed, the 7 people behind us clung tightly to the seats devoid of belts, to avoid hitting the roof. I could not record anything because the camera stopped working, but not having both hands free prevented me from hitting my head repeatedly. This was not an impediment to enjoy the landscape offered by the mountain. It was populated by trees in abundance, among which was the tiger, which fortunately did not give us any scare. The trip was not long, rather tortuous, but we arrived in one piece.

The first stop was the Black Palace built for King Sihanouk and whose unique feature was the views from the viewpoint it has. There the guide was telling us things about the construction of the road and a bit of history from the Khmer Rouge era.

Next we went back to the vehicle. When we reached the top of the mountain the guide distributed us bags with sandwiches, bananas and water and left us free to visit the mountain station. It was an abandoned complex, built over Phnom Bokor during colonial times. Formed by several buildings and abandoned for decades its appearance today is phantasmagoric.

The first building we visited was the hotel casino Bokor Palace, which was as scary as the one in the movie. We accessed by the stairs of the main entrance and once inside we dispersed. After so many years of abandonment there were only remains of what was once a huge hotel for wealthy people in which there was nothing left. In the dirty, cracked and moldy walls there were holes that were probably originated during the occupation of the Vietnamese and the Khmer Rouge.

The great hall with its enormous fireplace was empty giving the same sensation as that of a sunken ship for decades. Walking around this one could almost imagine the guests dining or dancing next to the hearth fire. It was chilling. On the upper floors was what should be rooms and bathrooms, as some still had the tiles.

We went up and at the end we arrived at a huge roof. From there, a few meters from a precipice, we could see the mountain and the sea. Although it was a shame not being able to see the horizon, the show was replaced by another one just as beautiful. From that height we could see how the clouds rose in a column form the cliff as if it were the smoke of a bonfire. With those views we decided to sit down for lunch, so on top of the stone railing we took out our sandwiches and ate them.

As soon as we finished, and before the guide called us to continue the visit, we took the opportunity to go down to the back of the hotel and look out over the precipice. There I felt the first cool breeze of the whole trip.

The next stop was the Catholic church, abandoned as well as the casino. The guide told us that the Khmer Rouge took refuge there while the Vietnamese attacked them from the hotel. I suppose that's why the pieces of wall and glass were on the floor. The church only retained the structure and there was no image or figure as expected after so many years of neglect. From one place to another we entertained taking pictures in the peculiar landscape. It was as if we were among the set of a horror movie, and the fact of imagining people there entrenched even gave him more emotion.

We continued visiting the rest of the station through the post office that was reached crossing a small bridge. When it seemed to the guide that we had seen enough, he took us elsewhere. This time we went to visit a Buddhist temple, not very different from any other. It is very peculiar for its location on top of the mountain and the tranquility in which its monks lived. It was full of prayer flags that reminded me of those seen in Nepal in the base camps of mountaineers who climb Mount Everest.

In the interior of one of the enclosures there was a small altar full of figures of Buddha with his always relaxed appearance. To end the trip, we stopped at the Popokvil waterfalls. The views from above were impressive, as well as the vertigo that appeared. To reach the lowest level we had to cross the river with the sliding floor and down a mud path between the trees, and barefoot above. People were slipping but in the end we all got down. The red color of the water and its surface full of foam did not make the bath unappetising.

The guide approached the point where the water fell from the upper level and got under the jet with his pants on. Then he went to a point on the lake where the stones could be lifted and created a miniscondite under the water where they all ended up getting into.

The time in water was not very long, because at the time we already felt the coolness and we all left soon. There was only the return, which like the climb was the most entertaining jumping all there in the car.

When we returned to the guesthouse we were exhausted, and after taking a refreshing shower we take our well deserved fresh beer on the terrace. Later we went looking for a cyber to get information about the problem of the video camera. We were lucky and after a long time we managed to find out that by doing a reset it could come to play.

When we left there the streets were already dark like every night, and we went walking to the river. On the way, one of the restaurants that could have been anybody at that time served us to enjoy the night and dine in tranquility. Beer, rice, rolls and relax. On the way to the guesthouse we noticed that there was a local motorcycle rental. So we decided that the next day we would make our own excursion. We still get the strength to stay a while in the guesthouse lounge to discuss the day and write a little diary.

That night the surprise awaited me in the room. When I grabbed the backpack to take off my pajamas I saw that behind it was a huge and hairy spider that gave me goosebumps and made me jump backwards. We threw her out, deluded me thinking that she would leave, without thinking that she was going to live with us in the room and I would meet her again.

Day 7

We got up early and after paying at the hotel we went out in tuk tuk to the guest house since there a van will pick up us at 7:30 am to take us to the ferry. We have breakfast. In the van we met two israeli girls and we chatted a lot. In the end, we share a boat trip with them!

The boat trip lasts too long. We travel for 4 hours in slow boat and 2 hours in speedboat passing the border with Vietnam.

Brazil more than a country is a continent. It is very likely that if you are looking to travel to Brazil, you are thinking about the carnival, beach, soccer and samba. These are the main reasons why one dreams of visiting Brazilian soil. From north to south, the giant of South America is like a continent of natural beauties and a cultural island of extreme contrasts. A culture that has resulted in people who radiates joy, imagination and a lot of rhythm.


DAY 1: RIO DE JANEIRO

We begin our adventure by taking the flight to Brazil. We arrived in Rio de Janeiro at 5:00 p.m. We took our bags and went to the hotel. We had hired a taxi for the hostel for 80 BRL, although it is more or less the same as if we took it directly at the airport. Really, once we know the city, we realize that the issue of insecurity is not so much. We can move perfectly on our own. In addition, the airport bus leaves us at the General Osório Square, right next to the hostel.

The hostel where we stayed is in Ipanema. It is very well located, as I said, next to the General Osório Square, from where all the necessary city buses leave to visit the city. It is very close to the beach and the Ipanema walking area. In all the forums they recommended to take the hostel in Ipanema or in Copacabana, so we did it. It is quite difficult to take accommodation in Ipanema because it is very crowded, especially on the weekend, and it is very expensive. I think the hostel is super cool and there is a good atmosphere.

Upon arrival, we hit the shower and left. Since we were exhausted from the trip, we decided to leave for Ipanema. We dined at a restaurant recommended by the hostel. The place is very lively, typical of a Friday night. We order dried meat (typical food) from there, and it's pretty good, squid, and some croquettes but it's worth the ambience that it has. The truth is that after our first dinner, we thought that the food there was not going to be any wonder, but later we saw that it was not like that.

In front of the restaurant where we dined is a very lively bar in Ipanema. According to the hostel, it is the best in Ipanema. There we tried the first Caipirinha and the first Caipifruta on the terrace where everyone is, how good we sat!

When we arrived at the hostel, we had the typical discussion of air conditioning. The air at the top made a noise of hell. Of course, we later got used to that noise during the whole trip and we could not sleep without it.

DAY 2: RIO DE JANEIRO

We slept until 9:00. There are the thousands of noises that are everywhere in the shelter. There are people arriving at the morning, others getting up early, drying their hair with the dryer, children bathing in the mini-pool, others playing table football. The breakfast is great, based on delicious fruit, bread, and cold meats.

Our first plan was to visit the Sugar Loaf. By the General Osorio square the bus goes. I have to dedicate a few words to the journey by bus. They go at full speed. They hit braking when they need it. They overcome obstacles with a lot of lightness. They give some boats that better hold on and they turn the curves with a force like in the cartoons. Anyway, it's an adventure to travel by bus in Rio.

We went to the Sugar Loaf. The views were the ones we were used to seeing in all the photos and documentaries. The whole city is integrated into the jungle and mountains, with the Christ the Redeemer in the background and the beaches everywhere. It was clear and we could see everything very well.

When we go down, we enter the Vermelha beach, which is next to the sugar loaf. It is a small beach but with crystal clear water and views of sugar bread. Instead of continuing to Ipanema with the bus, we went down to Copacabana beach to take a stroll through the volleyball area. It is one of the places Lonely Planet recommended to take a stroll.

We were not very hungry, but there were many beach bars that offered prawns with a great pint (camarao, which is what they call it there). So as we could not resist the temptation. We sat at a beach bar with live music to take some camarao with smoked cheese and some little fish, in front of Copacabana beach. Well, live music is the most normal thing in Rio and throughout Brazil. There is music everywhere and, in general, everyone is lively and with a smile from one ear to the other wherever you go.

We continue the march to Lagoa, enjoying the streets of Rio with its mountains everywhere and the jungle everywhere. We discover how the city located in the middle of the jungle is integrated between the mountains and the lake. It is surrounded by incredible beaches, which is what makes the city a marvel. From the lake, and from almost all parts of the city, you can see the Christ of Corcovado watching the city.

We had a coffee with some tartitas (anyone would say that we were not hungry) and we went to the hostel to change for a party in the liveliest neighborhood of the city: Lapa. To get there, once again we take a bus to the General Osório Square. It takes about three quarters of an hour. Again, a whole experience of traveling by bus through Rio.

The neighborhood of Lapa is just as we imagined it. It is full of bars, restaurants, people in the street, of course, music everywhere. In the hostel they had told us that it was not so safe to wear anything of value, or takes cameras and mobile. But the truth is that once there we did not see much apparent danger either. Perhaps leaving the main streets you would notice more insecurity, but where we walked we did not see anything strange. For the following days we decided to leave with everything.

We had dinner in one of the many restaurants that were there. Three waiters serve us one of those cubes with Brahma beer in the purest style. It is very common to see a guy everywhere (restaurants and bars) move with a tray loaded with "salty" muffins of various flavors, for example, cod, and meat. We tried one of each and ordered a risotto with camarao and rich meat. This restaurant was something else and had nothing to do with dinner the day before. The food was delicious. After dinner, we went to another of the bars that face the street to ask for some delicious caipirinhas.

The Brazilian girls in the reception had recommended us to go to a disco to dance. It is supposed to be the fashionable nightclub of the moment, with several dance floors. It is in on one of the streets that leaves the main street, a very nice street with colonial houses. So there we went. Indeed, it was a disco of 3 floors, with several dance halls. It is an old colonial house decorated with details, with its living room, old paintings, and sofas.

To get back we took a taxi. The taxi driver bring us back at 100 km per hour through the streets of Rio, after skipping all the traffic lights that were on the road, in the style of buses.

DAY 3: RIO DE JANEIRO

We get up at 10:00 to arrive on time for breakfast. We were tired because the jet lag that was still present in us. Our Sunday plan was rather relaxed. I planned to go to Ipanema beach to enjoy it. We knew that on Sundays they closed a lane to traffic to be able to walk more easily and ride a bike. Although it is true that being Sunday there were many more people. It is amazing, there is almost no place to put the towel.

The post No. 9 is where there are more young people. So there we put (or try to put, given the difficulty of the beach) a little towel. I swim in Ipanema, and the water of the Atlantic is cool, but it's nice because it was very hot. How nice it was to bathe in the sea when you know that on the other side of the Atlantic they are in a cold wave.

It is very funny because every three seconds a street vendor try to sell grilled cheese, bracelets, kebabs, drinks, ice cream, bikinis, and sarongs. It was time for lunch and I feel hungry. The beach bars are not as good as in Copacabana, so we walked through the streets of Ipanema and found a Japanese restaurant, which is our weak point. The menu was modest for the price.

We went to the hostel to leave the towel and went to the market of the General Osório Square which is on Sundays. We start making the first purchases of the trip. On the way to the square we are surprised by a children's batucada that left us with our mouths open. In this city we hear music everywhere! And when we see, it impresses us even more, the march they have and they infect us.

We gave ourselves a shower and we prepared to go to a very cool place to eat an authentic feijoada and churrasco (typical of Brazil) and dance amidst Brazilian music. As always, we take Osorio's bus to the pink house. The site is phenomenal. It is a house of pink color as its name indicates, with a huge terrace, crowded with people, and a dance hall where people are giving everything with live music based on Brazilian rock. Without a doubt, it was our site. We ordered some Moorish pinchos, some skewers of cheese to the grill and churrasco.

We met some Portuguese people who have been living in Rio for some time. Their houses are in favelas. As far as they tell, the favelas are not all dangerous, as I imagined. Apparently, they are pacifying the favelas to increase security in Rio for the next football world cup and Olympic games. They say that they live in a rental apartment. They are happy to live there because being on a hill it gives magnificent views.

Of course, little by little in this country we were realizing that people are wonderful, open, friendly and always talk with a smile. In the end, we ended up talking with the waitress at the bar. The cocktails are delicious and this new friend of ours makes them luxurious.

This closes at 1:00 (since from 6 in the afternoon there is a charanga). As this city is a non-stop, we went down to our neighborhood of confidence, Ipanema, and we went to the bar where we continued the march a little longer.

Brazil travel wallpaper images

DAY 4: RIO DE JANEIRO

We got up at 10 am rushing to breakfast and prepare to go to the Christ the Redeemer. Again, indicated by the hostel, we go to the General Osório Square to catch a bus that brings us there. At the bottom of the bus, there are spontaneous guides that offer you to climb up to the statue. The price is quite good, but we prefer to climb in the traditional medium, which is the Corcovado tram, with a similar price.

Once there, we get excited seeing the Christ. It is huge, that's why it is seen from all points of the city. The views are incredible and, hopefully, we did not have fog and we could enjoy them. On the way down, we approach a little square called Largo de Boticario, with houses of uninhabited colonial colors. The truth is that the square has a special charm and we liked to go. Being our last day in Rio, we wanted to visit the neighborhood of Santa Teresa without losing much time, so we took a taxi.

According to the guide, we had to go to Aprazivel Street, so there we went. They are old mansions that are surrounded by favelas, but it does not have much more. There are no restaurants, shops, people, or anything, but magnificent views of the neighborhood of Santa Teresa. From there, we went for a walk to the most central area of ​​Santa Teresa to find a place to eat.

In the main street there is a restaurant with a great pint. Every day that passed we ate better and began to taste the Brazilian food with pleasure. We ate some empanadillas (which are very typical of Brazil, although they call it cakes) of cheese, camarao and crab. We also ordered a codfish punheta which is a mixture of cod with very good onion, and a mango dish with heart of palm, an initially rare but very good mixture. Now that I am writing it, I remember how well that food sat us down.

We walk along the main street where the Bonde tram passes, which goes from Santa Teresa to Lapa. We had intention to take it but it was broken, a pity. We went into a couple of shops where they told us not to leave the main street, which could be dangerous. Although we could not resist going out to a little street to take a picture of some favelas that could be seen from there with the sugar loaf in the background . There were a couple of weird guys looking at us, but then there's no danger.

Instead of taking the Bonde, we take one of those buses that go through the cobbled streets, tumbling at full speed, you have to go grabbing or you shoot. Taking this bus as well as being an adventure is wonderful because it has views of the Santa Teresa neighborhood and the impressive city center and all this at sunset. Between the colonial houses they began to see the skyscrapers of the center and behind the favelas, a very surprising mixture.

We got off at the main street of Lapa, where the arches are. The truth is that we did not imagine the neighborhood like that because when we had gone it was Saturday night. We took a walk through the neighborhood of Lapa and the downtown area, we liked it a lot. Above all, we did not imagine that these skyscrapers were right next to the Arcos da Lapa and the colonial houses of the Lapa neighborhood. Suddenly, we saw some favelas in an alley.

We enter by chance to take a look and, suddenly, we find a wonderful staircase, a special place. It is a staircase full of colorful tiles with different motifs from many countries of the world. It is the staircase of Selaron, who climbs from Lapa to the convent of Santa Teresa. We loved this place that we found suddenly. It is not their in the Lonely Planet guide.

We continue our march walking to the financial center, passing the statue of Gandhi, the theater, and all those buildings integrated almost in the neighborhood of Lapa. We returned to the center of Lapa and took a succo in one of the animated terraces. Our intention that last night in Rio was to dance samba. So we went to one of the most recommended places in Rio to dance samba that is in Lapa.

In addition to being a bar with live samba music, at the back they have tables with a small restaurant where we can take great snacks. There are quite a few tourists (because it is a recommended place in the guides), but also many places. We got a Brazilian girl to teach us the steps to dance samba, although it is very complicated! We also met with a couple interested in learning, but they seemed as complicated as we were. There we spend the night between dances and laughter.

DAY 5: ILHA GRANDE

At 5:30 am, with all the pain of our heart, we got up to take a taxi to the bus station of Rodoviaria. There we have to take a bus from the company Costa Verde that departs at 7:00 am, to go to Angra dos Reis. From here the catamarans depart to Ilha Grande, specifically, to Vila do Abrao, the largest town in the island.

We arrived at 10:00 and the boat to Abraao departs at 11:00. The catamaran leaves the port, which is 20 minutes from the bus station. The road from the station to the port is along the beach of Angra dos Reis, which is super beautiful and crystal clear water. Right from there we can see all the favelas of the town, a cool view.

The boat takes 1 hour and 30 min. As we get closer, we can see the paradisiacal island of Ilha Grande, an island without cars. It is full of pristine beaches and that is known as the Brazilian Caribbean. It is famous for having one of the most beautiful beaches in the world that, without a doubt, we were going to visit. It is the beach of Lopes Mendes.

We had booked an apartment. It is one of those good, nice and cheap ones that is located a minute from where the boat leaves us, in Vila do Abraao. It is close to all the bars, restaurants and shops. We wanted to sleep peacefully without the noise.

We put on our shorts and went to have a sandwich at the bar across the street in a quick plan to not lose much time and go to the beach. We did a mini excursion to Abraozinho beach. It's about walking through the jungle and stopping at several beaches along the way. Each one is more beautiful and with more transparent water. It should be mentioned that the water is not turquoise blue like in Thailand. It is emerald green because of the amount of vegetation that the island has. At the last stop we took a bath in those crystal clear waters while chatting and enjoying the jungle landscape of the island.

We thought of going back to the village from where we had come, but a taxi boat offered to take us back. So we decided to go by taxi boat and enjoy the scenery by boat. We take a shower and ask in different agencies for possible excursions on the island. We had read in several forums of one who lives on the island, who prepares some very cool, well organized and more personalized excursions.

It seems that he himself takes the kayaks, prepares a barbecue and there is usually a good atmosphere. So in addition to the agencies we saw, we tried to find him. As we did not know very well where to look, we asked an uncle from the island that seemed like a local. He told us that we could find the one who we were searching for in his lodge at night. We decided to go after to have dinner to see what was cooking over there.

In any case, the next day we did not think about hiring any excursion. We had already decided to go to Lopes Mendes trekking and for that we do not need any organized tour. The excursion would be, perhaps, for the day after. Once we know that the guy exists, we went to dinner.

You have to make the decision to go to dinner long before you have a fierce hunger, because it takes, on average, an hour to serve your food since you ask. The same happened to us on several occasions. When we are hungry, we go to dinner, and drink a few brahmas. As we get more hungry, we eat all the bread in the basket and ask for more brahmas. So until they serve us food.

That night we had dinner at the restaurant on the sand, with live music, candles, and good atmosphere. We tried the moqueca for the first time, a typical soup there, seafood and camaraos that is impressive. After dinner, we went to Misti to find our imaginary friend and to see what kind of party there was. At that time, there were not many people. We asked at the reception desk and they told us that he would spend the next day at the hostel. But in any case, they would sign us up for the trip to the Blue Lake for two days later.

As there was not much to do in Miste, we were told that there was a party next to the hostel, on the beach of Canto. So we went there. And that's where our first night on the paradisiacal Island began.

DAY 6: ILHA GRANDE

We have breakfast as if we had not eaten in weeks. Also, thinking that we had a trek ahead, it was more than necessary. Yes, our plan of the day was to go to the Lopes Mendes beach, apparently one of the best beaches in the world.

There are several ways to go, but we decided to go trekking. The other alternative is to hire an organized tour and go by boat with a group. In any case, if done by boat, the final part (about 20 minutes) must also be done walking. The full trekking is about 2.5 hours if taken calmly. There are three steep slopes that you have to climb and then, obviously, lower. During the trek we pass through wonderful beaches of crystal clear water and fine sand. It was all paradisiacal. And from the top we take some very nice photos as there are incredible views of the beaches where you are going.

On our last steep slope, we stopped, not to change, to take some pictures. At that time, we met a group of Chileans, American, Australian and a Swiss. They traveled alone. We continue the march with them until we reach that idyllic and wonderful place, one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen: Lopes Mendes. The sand is so fine and so white that they look like talcum powder. The water look totally crystalline. There was an incredible sun, a long beach, and waves without stopping. In very good company, in short, it was paradise.

We took a few baths, and walk along. We took our sandwiches that we had intelligently bought in the morning (there are practically no beach bars there). We took some photos, chatted, told each other our lives, and we enjoyed ourselves.

At 17:30 the last boat leaves the beach next door to return to Abrao, so you have to come back with enough time to take it. Although when we got there we decided to take a taxi boat on our own and go quietly. The price was similar. Even the ride back by boat is worth it. It gives us the air in our face. We see a beautiful landscape. We are with friends and we simply enjoy life.

After a shower, we take a walk and go out to dinner. We went to the restaurant recommended by the guide. After an hour of waiting to bring the food (see that we knew, but when we were hungry it was too late) and a few Brahmas in the body, we enjoyed the fish with coconut sauce and banana sauce. It was delicious and special.

We had stayed overnight with our new friends. In addition, we wanted to go there to confirm that the excursion to Blue Lake was leaving the next day which our friends also signed up for. This day the hostel was lively, with people drinking delicious caipirinhas. There were fresh fruit served with a lot of care by the guy who controlled everything. At 12:00 no more drinks are served, but the party continues at the hostel.

The walk there is most pleasant in the light of the moon. The hostel had a very cool terrace where there was a bar and a bar overlooking the beach. All the possible young people who were in Ilha Grande and wanted to have a little fun were concentrated there.

Two English and two Brazilians became part of our group, and so we ended up forming a great team. It was a very special night. We had a great time with all the people, drinking caipirinhas in the light of the moon and the stars, in that magical terrace, chatting, exchanging impressions and meeting people.

DAY 7: ILHA GRANDE

We have breakfast again as if the world were going to end. At 10:00 we went to the Misti where we had stayed with our supposed friend, known worldwide but we had not yet seen.

His Austrian girlfriend appeared with whom he had only been there for 3 months and took us to him. The tour is on his private boat and not many people. We were ourselves, our new friends and few very nice people, unlike the tours organized by agency that are more crowded.

We go to Lagoa Azul and Isla de los Macacos. Although the day was cloudy, the landscape was spectacular. It was a small beach of emerald green water surrounded by vegetation everywhere. We took some kayaks and we went a bit to snorkel and see little fish of all colors.

On the way back, the guy was preparing a barbecue. So in the middle of the paradisiacal beach, with super charming people, we were having a barbecue, what more could you want? Well, a little nap on the towel.

In the afternoon we did a 45-minute trek to other beaches, enjoying the jungle environment and the beaches we passed through. At 17:30 we returned by boat to the apartment. It starts to drizzle, but it's nothing that has no solution with a good trusty raincoat.

We showered and went out to dinner at the restaurant on Calle Santa Maria. It was still raining. The waiters were very friendly and the food delicious.

Next, we went to our trusted hostel where there was live Brazilian music. This day, yes, it was very lively. We take our capirinas prepared with a lot of dedication. There we met with our friends on our last night in Ilha Grande. After the Misti, the party continued at the one next to Che Lagarto.

So I went back to the beach in the moonlight. When they threw us out of the next one, we continued the march on the beach, although the plan was a few beers and a bonfire. This man is everywhere and more where there is a party. It was a magic night in our small island that we would leave with grief the next day after saying goodbye to all our new friends.

DAY 8: ILHA GRANDE - IGUAZU

We had to take the catamaran from 10:00 am in the direction of Conceicao de Jacarei. It was a one hour trip. There we took a van that went directly to the airport and in 2 hours we left there. We had the flight at 4:45 and we wanted to go without hurry. At the airport we take a plane to Foz do Iguacu to see that wonderful place in the world that everyone is fascinated by: the Iguazu Falls.

In 2 hours of flight we are in Foz do Iguacu. We take the urban bus to the center and we go to our Pousada, which is about 15-20 minutes from downtown. It is a simple Pousada, without much decoration, but just enough to be comfortable.

When we got out of the room to go to dinner, we spent a moment at the reception to tell us how to get to the falls. He tells us his life to come to the conclusion that, although it is better to do the Brazilian side first than the Argentine side (which had been recommended to us by the whole world), he recommended that we go to the Argentine side the first day.

In Iguacu the bad weather is unthinkable. It is in the jungle and there is humidity, heat and sun, and nothing more. We took note of what he told us and we decided to go first to the Argentine side without thinking twice. We went out to dinner at the one, which, according to the guide, is a classic among the classics in Foz. We ordered the Picanha, which is typical there with meat on the stone. It was very tasty and the terrace is very nice.

It is in the street of the bars, so we went to have a drink there to see the atmosphere. We miss the local and friendly atmosphere of our Ilha Grande and Rio, as it was much more crowded. Foz did not look as touristy as we had imagined. Still, it has lively terraces with people drinking caipirinhas and beers. We did not go very late to bed, as the next day we wanted to be cool to enjoy Iguacu.

DAY 9: IGUACU

The breakfast was improving every time. We eat the best fruit we had tasted so far. There was the great variety of things we have to choose from. At 8:30 a bus comes to pick us up in the Argentine part of Iguazu and in a half hour we are in the park. As we thought we were going to be once in life in Iguazu, we decided to hire the jeep tour plus boat below the falls. We had the theory of doing everything we can. Actually it is quite expensive, it must be said, but it is the way to be under a waterfall and see everything up close.

The jeep is 20 minutes of walk where they are telling us about the fauna and flora of the park. Then we take the boat and we get closer to the falls until we get almost below. It's only an hour's journey, but it's quite impressive to see it from so close and get wet with the water from the waterfall. We began to confirm that this place is one of the most wonderful places on the planet that must be visited. You have to be with all your senses and enjoy the most of that incredible place.

The boat leaves us where we take the boat for free to San Martin Island. They do not open at all times because of the flooding of the river, but just when we arrived it was open. It is a very cool island with different views of the falls from where we can also see the Devil's Throat.

Then we continue walking along the footbridges indicated in the map and stop at the viewpoints. On a lower walk we see different waterfalls from below approaching a lot to the falls and a top walk where we see the jumps from above. From here we can access the Garganta del Diablo which is one of the most impressive waterfalls. It is a viewpoint with spectacular high jumps where we can also see the rainbow. The noise of falling water is spectacular.

We ate at one of the restaurants in the park, based on pasties and some typical alfajores there. It's pretty average and fast food, but the food is delicious.

At 6 pm we return. We get ready and go out to dinner in one of the many terraces on the main street. We ate at the restaurant. The atmosphere was very lively and they only took 20 minutes to serve us!

The restaurant of the previous day gave us some passes for the nightclub. We did not know what the plan was, but there we went to see what cooked in the absence of a plan. It was a very fashionable place, with well-groomed people (and we with the best dresses of repeated clothes of the whole trip and chancas from the beach). There was modern, soaring music. It was not what we were used to seeing in this country.

We had a caipirinha on the terrace. We danced a little and decided to return to the area of trust. The music was a little more light and the atmosphere less fashionable, but we missed our Brazilian music of confidence. Suddenly, the lights come on, some curtains run, a stage lights up and surprise! There is Live music of a typical group from there with our Brazilian music that we already knew. So there we stay.

DAY 10: IGUACU

We get up with all the peace of the world at 10:45. We set off to find a place to have breakfast. There did not seem to be any wax and, in addition, it was Sunday, so the situation did not bode well. We approached a bar with the illusion of the world, but when we arrived, the uncle told us that he had nothing at all.

It seemed that he was indicating another place. The man was dedicated to explain it, but as we did not understand very well what he was saying, with all his goodwill he decided to accompany us to the place he knew. Foolishly, we went through half the town until we found the place he said was also great.

After the mega breakfast we got late in the morning, we took the bus in the direction of Iguazu National Park, at the Brazilian side. Once inside, we have to take a free bus that takes us from the entrance of the park to where the catwalks start.

We had stayed with our English friends who had known the Big Island, to see the Brazilian part, since they just made the same route (although later they continued to Buenos Aires). We went for a walk with them. The views are also incredible, although we're not that close, but it's worth the view. Then we had a snack and we said goodbye to our friends.

At 17:00 they close the park, so we return to Foz. We showered and went to dinner at a restaurant, which has a very nice terrace and is close to the hostel. We liked the food very much. There was zucchini with prawns and a cheese sauce, a brandade of good salmon and stone meat. We did not take long to go home as we were tired and the next day we had to get up early.

DAY 11: SALVADOR DE BAHIA

At 6:30 we got up. We went to the airport on the same bus that goes to the falls. We had the flight at 9:30 am to Salvador de Bahia, with a stopover in Rio. At 14:30 we arrived in Salvador de Bahia (it is one hour less than in Rio). We take a bus to the center of the city, Pelourinho, which is where we have the hostel.

According to the Lonely Planet, the bus takes between one and two hours to get to the center, depending on the traffic. It took 1.5 hours, but it is worth the trip because we see the whole city, we go through several beaches, the beach bar, lighthouse, and skyscrapers. In short, the walk is not bad.

The Pelourinho is the old town, located on a hill. It is very picturesque, full of colorful colonial houses. The bahian's are dressed in their regional costumes. There are cobbled streets. There are some boys dancing capoeira. We see the market of course, which is a very touristy place. There is a fenced area that you can not go out at night. There are police everywhere and intense lighting at night. in short, here you can breathe a little more insecurity than in Rio.

We stayed at the Pousada which is in the heart of Pelourinho. It's not cheap and it's nothing special. Moreover, at first it gives us fear. When we enter, it looks like a warehouse, but it turns out that we then run into a kind of reception where there is a very nice guy. There are not many more who work in the pousada. We have to climb some hellish stairs to get to the room, but they are very good. They are very spacious (the bathroom is not so much) and they have air conditioning.

We leave the things and take a nocturnal walk (dusk at 17:00) by the Pelourinho. It's a little strange that when we get to the fenced area we see "end of the safe area" signboard!

We went to dinner at a restaurant recommended to us by the hostel that, apparently, has all homemade food. They offer us a caipirinha if we dined there, so why do we want more? We were on the terrace. We dined a fish with vegetables, a bobo de camarao, which is like a cassava puree with prawns, and some cheese bread. The owner of the restaurant was lovely. We were chatting with her after dinner. We had a very pleasant time talking to her, telling us about her adventures there. She told us her life with a smile and it gave off good vibes.

There was live music on the terrace of the bar next door, so we went there with our friend. Actually, at the bar there would not be more than 10 people on the terrace. She started to dance samba and tried to teach us, but I think that it is in the blood, because it is very complicated. In short, a moment to remember, be in full pelourinho on a terrace, with live music and dancing with our new friend.

In this city there is music everywhere. All the bars, no matter how small they are or how few people there are, there is Brazilian music at full volume. So we go strolling and listen to lively music by the streets. When we went for a walk, we found that lively music came out of a floor of a house. It was really reggae and very cool. There we stayed for a while throwing some dance and then return to sleep.

DAY 12: SALVADOR DE BAHIA

We got up early to visit the city. We thought that in our hostel, there was no one else, but when we had breakfast we found two who were traveling there as well. We exchanged impressions while having breakfast, putting ourselves up to the fruit of the earth.

We take a walk through Pelourinho by day. The Bahian vendors that roam the Pelourinho did not take long to put on the colorful wristbands of Bonfim. We visited the main streets, did some shopping, went to the Lacerda elevator (because you have to remember that Pelourinho is on a high). From there we went down to the model market. We were doing some shopping and ate there.

Next to Mercado Modelo is the port from where catamarans leave for Morro de Sao Paulo, our next destination. We went to ask for schedules for the next day. On returning from Morro, on Saturday, we would have to go directly to the airport to catch the flight that was returning home. What happens is that the last catamaran arrives at 17:00 and our flight is at 12 o'clock at night. So we hired a taxi service that keeps our bags until it take us to the airport. Once informed of all this, we return to our model market to follow with the purchases.

The best thing about Salvador de Bahia, according to what they had told us, is the batucada that there is every Tuesday of the year and of always. It is a party organized by bands playing on the street. There are lively people, beach bars, in the style of a village party. We were on Tuesday and a good party was predicted, until at 5:30 p.m. it starts to rain. It was a deluge.

It was something that could happen and was in the forecasts, but we did not think it would be true. If it rained, there was no batucada. We put on our trusty raincoats and climbed Pelourinho by the elevator in the hope that on the way it would stop. As usual before going to the batucada we go sadly to the same place at 6:00 p.m. It is a most lively mass. There was even a batucada inside! It was a band with drums, all singing, and some half dancing.

It was raining, so we went to a bar to wait for it to stop. As it did not stop, we went to dinner. We went to the restaurant, but as it was raining, they had closed and we could not talk to our friend. Instead, we went to a local bar to have a moqueca. And while we were having dinner, we finally saw the light, as it stopped raining. The music returned to the street again, with its drums and regional rhythms, like in a festival.

How little time does it take for people to go out into the street as soon as it stops raining and cheer up. It was too late to start the classical batucada on Tuesdays, but the loud music of all the bars was heard even more than the night before. We went to the bar to see how the atmosphere was. It seemed there was going to be a salsa party, but everyone was on the street drinking and listening to music. So there we stayed for a while and then we to sleep.

DAY 13: MORRO DE SAO PAULO

After breakfast, they come to pick us up to take us to the catamaran that left at 9:00 from the Mercado Modelo. In all the forums everyone said that the catamaran moved a lot, so it was worth taking a pill for seasickness. My friends took it and I did not take it. Yes it moved a bit, but it holds up well.

At 11:30 we arrived at what we considered for the next and last days of our trip as close to Paradise: Morro de Sao Paulo. It is a paradisiacal island, with beaches of crystal clear water and fine sand, where cars do not circulate, as in Ilha Grande. It has 4 beaches. The first beach is full of inns and restaurant and it is more the area of the village town.

The second beach is the most famous, the most lively, with a lot of beach bars on the beach and music at all hours. It is the beach, that also has inns and is a beautiful beach. The third beach is supposed to be the most suitable for diving. It is a long beach, with crystal clear water, less agitated than the previous one and less inns. Finally, the fourth beach, which seems to have no end, is very long, beautiful, super quiet and almost without accommodations.

We were staying at an inn on the 2nd beach. It was the best hotel of the trip, without a doubt, and it is that we give ourselves these luxuries at the end of the trips to end with a good taste in our mouths. Yes, it is a tad more expensive than the rest, but it is worth it. As there is no transport in the whole island and to get to our inn had to walk up and down and directly on the sand, we hired a driver who takes our bags. Our driver was a local there who had lived on the island for quite some time and knew it well. So he was telling us little things about the customs there and the bars where to go. On the way, we were already enjoying those landscapes,

We were looking forward to lying on the towel, taking a bath and enjoying ourselves. So we paid our friend, left things and the beach. There is a supermarket next to the hotel where we buy bread and sausage to prepare some sandwiches and take them happily on the beach. For dessert, we tried the Acai, a fruit of the palm tree. It is purple, and smaller than a grape, which is prepared as an ice cream with guarana and together with another fruit to choose (banana is very good). They had told us that in this area the acai was very good and, in fact, it tasted great.

We went for a walk to the fourth beach. On the walk, we met Chileans who were also on vacation in Morro. They were also freaking out with the island, like us. On the way back, we went through a small town shop, have a shower and went out to dinner.

We met our new friends the Chileans who came to have dinner with us. We took a walk along the 2nd beach walkway to choose the place to dine. All had very good looks, with live music, and anchored in the beach itself. Well, almost the entire island was directly in the sand itself. Anyway, there we can go out in flip-flops or barefoot because we spend all our time either on the trek or in the sand. In one of the restaurants, in addition to offering typical Brazilian food, they have makis and pizzas. They offered us a free caipirinha like that to begin with, so between some things and others, we stayed.

The night party was right next to the a bar. The party is really outside, with baffles on the street. It was full of the local people there plus the Chileans who also joined us. There were stalls full of fruit all over the beach walkway where they made us a caipirinha with the fruits we wanted.

We spend the night enjoying to the fullest. The thing did not stop there, when we finished, the party continued on the 3rd beach in a joint that for the day they serve burgers with potatoes. At night they serve drinks. Well, it was a simply great night.

DAY 14: MORRO DE SAO PAULO

Although we had not slept much, we got up with a desire to have breakfast and continue enjoying this wonderful island. As it was cloudy, we decided to go for a walk to where we arrived, which in the end was beyond Fourth Beach, enjoying the wonderful landscape of the island.

On the way, we met Dutch people who accompanied us throughout our trip. The truth is that these people impress very much. They leave everything and go to live life taking a tour of the world, meeting people and living wonderful experiences. Back to the beach we ate in one of the chiringuitos a hamburger, although it was a little bad.

We went to take a little nap at the hotel to get strength and go shopping. Then we have shower and find another place to dine. This time, we ordered pizzas, which are made in the wood oven and are delicious (better than the makis). Of course, they invited us to a caipirinha and we already took care of asking for another one. Without our two caipirinhas, we did not have dinner.

This day there was a party on the beach. Here I capture what we do not stop saying throughout the night if this can be described with words. Indeed, I do not think I can contemplate what we experienced that night, as it was magical. It was not one of those crowded parties on the beach. It was not a normal party but was a party made to measure.

To begin with, there were all our friends and the local Brazilians of the previous night. There were the Chileans, the Dutch, the Argentine waiters. A part of the beach had fruit bars to make the caipirinha to our taste. So there we ordered caipirinhas until I think we tried all the fruit combinations. There was also a DJ with Brazilian music that after almost two weeks in the country we already knew. So there we gave everything enjoying our little island.

DAY 15: MORRO DE SAO PAULO

Again we slept little so our goal of the day was to relax on the beach, enjoy the tranquility, enjoy the solace. However, nothing is further from the truth. As we put the towel on the beach, our Dutch friends appear from a distance and, even more so, one of the Brazilians from Rio with a giant loudspeaker and music at full speed with the Brazilian successes of the moment.

So we were there with music to the fullest, swimming on the beach and forgetting our nap. Of course, we had a thousand laughs. Since sleeping was not possible, we decided to go to the 4th beach to relax for a while. Again, it cannot be described with words.

As we continue beyond the 4th beach we reach the mangroves, a super nice beach area. And finally we stayed without making the trips to Gamboa or the island of Boipeba, thanks to our days on the island calmly. The truth is that we do not regret. In the end, all the excursions end up being like that, and to go to other beaches, we enjoy the ones we have. And, well, what we have left for when we return, because it is an island to return and enjoy again.

On the way back, we enjoyed a great Acai from the area with banana. Then we have shower and go out to dinner. This time we went to a restaurant where we tried one of the best moquecas of the whole trip (and last unfortunately). Today's party was at the entrance of the island, where the catamarans arrive. It is very cool, chill-out type. It is on a hill and it has good views of the sea. On a daily basis, they arrange parties in the afternoon. At night, the music was very good and the atmosphere was fun.

DAY 16: MORRO DE SAO PAULO

We woke up with the pity that it was our last day on the island and in Brazil. So fast and swift we went to the beach to enjoy the last moments. We took our last walk to the fourth beach. At 2:30 pm we had our driver take our bags to the dock, since at 3:00 pm our Catamaran leaves to Salvador de Bahia. Here a taxi driver was supposed to wait for us.

When we arrived at the dock to catch the catamaran with all our grief, they told us that by wind the catamaran could not go directly to Salvador, but it made the journey by sections. First, it makes a stop in a village, after half an hour's journey. There they put us in a bus for two hours and then another half an hour in a boat all crammed. We were sad about the altercation because we were afraid we would not get to Salvador in time to see the giant batucada that day was on the street.

Indeed, we arrived an hour and a half later than expected. Anyway, we left the suitcases in the supposed taxi and went up to the pelourinho (by taxi from the street because it is not supposed to be safe to climb on our own by the street and the elevator was closed).

There was an incredible atmosphere. We had the double feeling. On the one hand, excited by the music, the atmosphere, the verbena that there was and on the other hand, I was sad, because our trip to Brazil was touching its end. The festival was preparing to see one of the best bands there, but they played at 8:30 pm and we would not get to see it, since at that time we had to go to the airport.

What we have left, along with a thousand other things, for when we return. We enjoy these last moments. We eat food from the beach bars. We take some juices and we bid farewell to that wonderful country that so many beautiful experiences had allowed us to live. We return with the heart in a fist.