I've spent the last 2 winters in Asia to escape the cold of Europe - and to scratch my neverending itch for travel and new places, of course. However, this winter, I was ready for something new... A new continent... South America!
I've had Brazil on my mind for years, so I decided it's finally this country's turn to be my home for a while.
After some research I settled on Florianopolis (or Floripa for short), an island city in the south of Brazil. More on that in another post :)
I was still planing on visiting the famous places like Rio and Sao Paolo - but they looked too unsafe and stressful to make them my (temporary) home.
Alright, now it was time to buy tickets. A quick browse through Skyscanner showed me that it would be 2 or 3 times cheaper to buy a flight to Salvador, and then a separate one to Floripa. Alright - I get to spend time in Salvador as a bonus!
I booked my tickets, ended up paying about €300 for a one-way flight from Barcelona to Salvador - with an 8-hour stopover in Lisbon! Another bonus city. Scooore. I had never been to Lisbon while living in Spain for 6 years, what a shame, at least we got to correct that.
I gave myself a week in Salvador before flying south to Floripa.
Then I messaged a friend who was born there to ask for recommendations - he told me to visit Praia Do Forte, a paradise beach town 80km to the north of Salvador. So I did!
Anyways, here's the summary of my 2 days in Salvador :)
First of all, this city is... not the safest. Especially for a white solo female travel. I stood out everywhere I went. So I had to stick to the touristic areas.
Other than that, I really enjoyed it everything else - the beach, the food and even the touristy places!
As you might have noticed from previous posts, the first thing I look for in a new city is the beach!
Salvador is a pretty big city, so I wasn't expecting anything special. In fact I was prepared for a somewhat dirty, overcrowded beach.
Imagine my surprise when I found transparent water and tropical fish everywhere!!
I was there quite early in the morning (8am) so there were almost no people, the tide was low and the water was flat.
The touristy stuff
Normally I don't like touristic activities and sightseeing. However, in Salvador I had to stick to the touristic areas to stay safe. So I ended up doing lots of touristy stuff I wouldn't normally do.
Below is the lighthouse Farol De Barra, probably Salvador's most well-know landmark.
From the Farol I walked to Pelourinho - the historic center of Salvador. It was a very long walk but I got to see a lot of the city. I was walking on a big road with hotels and high-end residential buildings so that was pretty safe.
Below is Elevador Lacerda, an elevator to move between the "low part" and "high part" of the historic center. Apparently the streets between the two are dangerous even during the day.
I spent an hour or two exploring Pelourinho, the historic area. It felt very sterile - full of tourists, especially guided tour groups. Looked like no one actually lived in the area, every building was a shop or museum.
It was still beautiful and I enjoyed it, although it was too touristic for my taste.
The Bahian food is very distinct from the rest of Brazil. Most of the people living in this area have African roots, and that reflects in the food, music and culture. Salvador is actually the "most African city outside of Africa".
The most famous dish here is the Moqueca, a seafood stew with coconut milk and various spices.
When you order this in a restaurant, it's usually for a minimum of 2 people. I was alone, so I ordered for 1 person - but when it came, it was still ENORMOUS. I couldn't even eat half of it. The waiter packed the rest for home, and I had it for lunch and dinner the next day :)
It was really good - also really heavy and filling.
The other signature dish here is the Acarajé. This street food is a ball made of bean paste, which is deep-fried then stuffed with bean paste, chili peppers, veggies and shrimp.
Again, really good but really heavy.
That's it for Salvador :) I spent 2 days here before moving on to Praia Do Forte, a paradise beach town 80km to the north with natural pools and lots of sea turtles.