February - August 2017
  • Day1

    Heathrow T5

    February 3, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 45 °F

    So my journey starts, as all journeys do with a failed attempt to smile my way into one of the airport lounges. After driving to the airport and saying goodbye to my parents with a brave face on I then headed through airport security alone and waited to board my plane. I am naturally apprehensive about what is on the other side and as I'm sitting waiting to board I'm also nostalgic for all that I'm leaving behind. That first step is always the hardest and I'm looking forward to what I hope will be the trip of a lifetime. First stop São Paulo, Brazil. Interested to see what one of the worlds largest cities looks like. Will let you know if expectations hold up.Read more

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  • Day2

    Vila Madalena

    February 4, 2017 in Brazil ⋅ ⛅ 77 °F

    When I arrived in SP I got the bus from the airport to the metro and then three different changes until I got to Via Madalena. It was exactly like using the London underground but i was still super impressed with myself 😏 ...although it did take nearly two and a half hours to get there!

    I'm staying in Cafe Hostel in Vila Madalena. After settling in I decided to walk round the neighbourhood. It is such a cool part of SP and has a bit of a surfer/ bohemian vibe to it. It doesn't feel dangerous at all or like the concrete jungle I have heard SP be described as. Whilst exploring I stumbled across Baco de Batman or 'Batman's alley' which was full of some incredible street art.

    When I got back to the hostel I just chilled for a bit and read my book until I met three English girls. We chatted and cooked dinner together, spaghetti bolognese. By that point I was completely wiped out from the days travelling and headed off to bed although it took forever to actually get to sleep because of how noisy it was.
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  • Day6

    São Paulo

    February 8, 2017 in Brazil ⋅ ⛅ 79 °F

    So I am now ready to move on from São Paulo up to Recife. SP has been lots of fun but I am looking forward to going to the beach and getting a tan because I am so pale.

    After my first day which was a bit of a shaky start, I met my Brazilian friend who took me to a pre-Carnival pool party. This was really fun although most of the songs were in Brazilian so I was just pretending to singalong. A couple of drinks in though we started making loads of friends and it was a really good evening. Except being the clumsy idiot I am I fell over and twisted my ankle and now it's a little bit swollen 😖

    The next day I met Mariana again and we went for sushi at one of SPs many Japanese restaurants. We went to Tekemaria e Cia which did really good sushi for a fairly reasonable price. We then walked to Ibirapuera Park which is huge and we ended up walking around it nearly 3 times, walking about 20km in one day. When I got back to the hostel the English girls who I met were there and we went out for dinner in Vila Madalena. We ate at this really good place that did the best roast beef with mozzarella, tomatoes and olives. We also got this pulled beef joint which was incredible. Brazil does good meat.

    The next day we made banana pancakes for breakfast with chocolate and mango and went to MASP which is the must see art museum in SP. I do not think we were that impressed with it tbh. After that we walked round the shopping malls, had some lunch and walked to Ibirapuera Park again and this time there was a band playing, I'm guessing they were practicing for Carnival. After Lucy and I came back to the hostel because we were tired and ended up getting some amazing ice cream in Vila Madalena. We were planning on going to a hip hop night but in the end we just stayed and drank in the hostel.

    All in all, I really can't make my mind up about São Paulo. Half of me thinks it's a really cool city with amazing restaurants, nightlife and shopping, especially in Vila Madalena. The other half thinks it's a big anonymous concerete jungle with not much to do in terms of sight-seeing. I am happy I can tick SP off the list but not sure it is somewhere I will return.
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  • Day7

    Olinda & Recife

    February 9, 2017 in Brazil ⋅ ⛅ 88 °F

    After arriving in Recife from São Paulo, I hopped in a taxi to Olinda. First impressions of Recife weren't big - driving through the town at night it did not feel very safe and I was relieved to get to Mameluco Hostel and into bed.

    The hostel is so nice - the owner Rebecca is really friendly and the space itself is really cool. There's a big garden with a nice chilled out breakfast area and mango trees which you can pick and eat.

    In the morning I explored the town but I managed to forget suncream so my face and neck are pretty burnt and I now look like a typical gringo haha. I've also developed a bit of an eye infection too as my eyelid is swollen so I'm not looking my best at the moment.

    Olinda is a charming colonial town but also a bit tired and run down with graffiti and rubbish everywhere. That being said, it's still got bags of atmosphere and some really artsy cafes and bars. In the evening I met some people from my hostel and we went for a few drinks around the town. This was so much fun as there are loads of different street parties with lots of live bossa nova music. We also got 3 beers for £2.50 - a bargain by anyone's standards.

    The next day we headed into Recife, which is the capital of the state Pernambuco. We had been told about São Jose mercado - a market which sells just about everything including clothes, furniture, food and even animals. We had some freshly squeezed orange juice and wondered around the markets. After we crossed one of Recife's many canals and went for lunch.

    After we went to Embaixada dos Bonecos Gigantes also known as 'the Embassy of Giant Puppets' which sounds really strange but it was actually really cool! They have human sized puppets which they parade at carnival and they are all made to be different famous people.

    Then we stumbled into a frevo museum - I've never heard of frevo before but it's a type of Brazilian music and dancing popular in Pernambuco. There was a live band playing frevo music and and this crazy man got up to dance and was trying to drag up everyone else. Luckily we bumped into the two Brazilian guys who were staying at our hostel and they offered us a lift back in their car, instead of us having to get the bus.

    Tomorrow we are heading off to Porto De Galinhas which is a beach place about two hour's drive from Recife. I've also arranged to go to a beach town called Pipa with another English girl I've met at the hostel. After that I will fly to Salvador for a few days before Carnival in Rio :)
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  • Day11

    Porto de Galinhas

    February 13, 2017 in Brazil ⋅ ⛅ 88 °F

    Porto de Galinhas is about a 2 hour public bus ride south of Recife and claims to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil. I think having been to Jericoacoara and visited probably one of the best beaches ever, everything else is a bit of a let down in comparison. Porto is nice but very commercialised and aimed for the Brazilian family holiday rather than the gringo trail.

    We are staying in Che Legarto hostel which I hate. The woman behind reception makes me irrationally angry, the wifi doesn't work, air con doesn't work, nothing seems to work and the kitchen and bathroom are dirty. All in all, I'm looking forward to getting out of this hostel and on to somewhere with a bit more soul.

    The place itself however is nice. On our first night, Lizzie and I went out for a really nice dinner and drinks. We ended up meeting these Brazilian guys who were a lot older than us but really funny and we ended up having drinks with them. After our 3am night we were tired and decided to lie on the beach.. all day. This is what I quit my job for. It was a really chilled day but I still somehow managed to get burnt even with factor 50 on 🤔. In the evening I was completely knackered and just booked hostels for Salvador and Pipa.

    The next day we were supposed to be going on a buggy ride to all the different beaches for R$50. We waited in the hostel until 1.30pm only to be told that the other couple we were supposed to be going with wanted to go alone and so it would cost us another R$50 each for another buggy (another hostel fuck up). Instead we decided to get a motor taxi to this beach called Maracapie where the river meets the sea. It was slightly overcast and I ended up sleeping on the beach for most of it, or listening to podcasts. We also got caipis on the beach and managed to get back to the motor taxi before the tide came in too far and cut us off from the path back. In the evening we just chilled mostly and ran a few errands like laundry...

    When we left we had a 9 hour trip north to Praia de Pipa which is beautiful..
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  • Day12

    Praia dos Carneiros

    February 14, 2017 in Brazil ⋅ ☁️ 82 °F

    Whilst in Porto we went on a tour to Praia dos Carneiros. I was super excited about going as I'd seen it on the internet when researching what to do in Brazil & I'm happy we went because this place is awesome. It took an hour's drive down the coast and when we got there we did all sorts of activities like a 'hydrariting' mud bath, snorkelling with the fish on a coral reef (which has blatantly been killed due to humans which is sad) and a walk to the famous church on the beach. On the boat over to the next activity we even had this guy who came on and danced as Michael Jackson 😂 so random.

    We met this really nice Argentinian family who took me in as their own and gave me flip flops to wear when we went onto the reef because there were sea urchins on the floor and they were worried I would hurt my feet.

    The lunch, although expensive, was actually so delicious. Fresh white fish with plaintain chips, rice and salad. Although Porto de Galinhas isn't my fave beach in Brazil, this place certainly does give Jeri a run for its money. In some ways you feel like you've been washed up on a desert island as there are so many sandbanks everywhere which disappear when the tide comes in.
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  • Day15

    Pipa

    February 17, 2017 in Brazil ⋅ 🌙 77 °F

    Pipa is paradise.

    After a 9 hour bus/ metro/ bus/ collectivo ride to Pipa we were happy to have arrived. The journey was quite funny actually as the guy in the collectivo was trying to stuff our big back packs into the boot and then as we were driving he realised the boot had opened and the bags had fallen out, so they had to go back to find them.

    When we arrived at our hostel, Lagarto na Banana, we accidentally walked right into a yoga session not realising and were saying 'why is it so quiet here??' really loudly whilst everyone was in deep meditative trances haha. Everyone at the hostel is super friendly, it's a really great atmosphere here and we've met loads of nice people.

    On our first full day we went on a day trip with the hostel to an island. It was about an hour's drive in this retro little Volkswagen campervan and the scenery was beautiful and so remote. We got a boat to this little island and spent the day under this tree, sunbathing, swimming, and eating grilled vegetables. It was so relaxing and when the boat came to pick us up and take us back I really didn't want to go. After we drove back to the centre of Pipa and had some acai (yum) and then drove to this huge sand dune to watch the sunset. It really was the perfect end to a perfect day and it has definitely been one of my favourite days of my trip so far.

    That night we went out for dinner to a really great Japanese restaurant and then had some drinks and played cards and ended up at a traditional Brazilian dancing event. I even ended up dancing with this Brazilian guy and actually I wasn't as terrible as I first thought.

    The next day I was quite hungover but we just went to the beach and I sat in the shade on my own haha and read my book. I quite enjoyed being alone as I've been with people 24/7 for the last two weeks and sometimes it's nice just to have a bit of space. In the evening we chilled, played more cards and socialised with everyone from the hostel.

    In the morning I got up for the 8am yoga session which was relaxing but really difficult at some points! After we ate breakfast and fed the leftover fruit to the monkeys, they are adorable. In the day we got a group of us and went to what is known as 'dolphin beach' because dolphins swim there and we even saw a few jumping out of the waves. It was a really amazing day and we played heads up and tennis on the beach. After I tried to smash out a 5km run but was pretty exhausted.

    In the evening a group of us from the hostel went out together to a few bars and also a salsa dancing event. I ended up going to bed at 3am which was great as i needed to get up at 7am to catch my transfer to Natal airport.

    I was really sad to leave such a great group of people behind, especially Lizzie as we get on so well and have had a such a good time together. We are definitely going to meet up once we are back in London though for some drinks, and hopefully I will see some of the others in Rio for Carnival.
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  • Day18

    Salvador

    February 20, 2017 in Brazil ⋅ ⛅ 84 °F

    I arrived in Salvador dead af on 4 hours sleep so the first day was pretty eventless. Taxi to the hostel as I couldn't be bothered to faff around with the bus, got some food and then socialised with people at the hostel during the unlimited happy hour. After I went to bed and had one of the best nights sleep I've had in ages! Feeling totally refreshed the next day.

    After that I met these really sweet English girls who are on their gap yah. They invited me to a couple of museums with them in the day so we explored the old town, and had lunch and then more free caipis. The evening was another chilled one as I'm on a budget and couldn't afford to spend anymore. So I ended up just watching Netflix but tbh really enjoyed it as it's the first time I've watched tv in ages.

    The next day it ended up raining buckets the whole day so I didn't really do that much but we did go to this really tasty vegan restaurant for lunch and then in the evening we ended up going to a bloko party as part of pre-Carnaval in Barra which was loads of fun. I was really hungover the next day haha.

    On my last day, everyone was pretty dead out but we decided to go to this island which is about a 45 min boat ride from Salvador called Itaparica. It was really nice but the boat swayed loads and that plus hangover made me feel really sick. On the island we chilled on the beach and had a really nice lunch, such a perfect and relaxed last day in Salvador before I jetted off to Rio for Carnaval.

    I had to get up at 4am for my flight (stupidly booked it for 6am) and had a mini melt down whilst I was waiting to board the plane when I realised my bumbag with my money, cards and GoPro was missing. The security guys were all trying to help but I was completely flapping and couldn't understand anything they were saying or vice versa. Luckily, it had been handed in and it was just unnecessary stress for so early in the morning but it could have been a lot worse!
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  • Day25

    Rio De Janiero

    February 27, 2017 in Brazil ⋅ ⛅ 84 °F

    It's finally time for CARNAVAL! This has been an amazing experience, dancing in the streets for days. Seriously everyone goes really hard here from 8am all day everyday and it's difficult to keep up.

    I've been staying in a favela called Chapeu Mangueira and it's been such a unique experience. I've been to a favela before but actually living here is quite different and I have to admit that when I first arrived on around 3 hours sleep from Salvador, that I was a little bit culture shocked. However, I'm glad I stayed here as there is a really good sense of community and our view from the balcony to Copacabana is stunning and we get to feed the monkeys every morning. It's even got one of the best restaurants in Rio in it! When I got here I met so many people and even met some of my friends from São Paulo and Pipa.

    Because I've done a lot of the touristy things before and they get expensive I've decided to miss out doing them again so it just has been party party party. I am now ready for my liver to have a rest because I'm 75% Skol Beats and the other 25% water.

    The street parties are called 'blocos' and we went to a few in Copacabana, Lapa, Gloria, Santa Teresa and Flamengo (I think). I also went to this DJ night called RioMe with Jackmaster headlining which was fun.

    It's been difficult to take photos as we've been warned not to take our phones out in case we get robbed but I managed to take a few. Next stop is Iguazu Falls, got a 24 hour bus ride to get there 😖 and I was so so hungover and probably the sweatiest mess I have ever been because its 36 degrees but I'm so excited to be in the outdoors again and have a good detox.
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  • Day28

    Iguacu Falls

    March 2, 2017 in Brazil ⋅ ⛅ 82 °F

    My bus journey ended up being 27 hours long in the end, so I was pretty happy to finally arrive in Foz do Iguacu. I didn't mind the coach though as the countryside leaving Rio and in Parana (the state where Foz is) was so beautiful, it made staring out of the window and listening to music enjoyable.

    When I got off the coach I jumped onto the bus and into the town to get to my hostel. My hostel is pretty cool as it is made out of old shipping containers and has a pretty chilled vibe. Most people only stay a couple of days to see the falls and then head off, either to over the border to Argentina or further into Brazil.

    As I got there probably around 4pm I just FaceTimed Josh and bought some food. After carnaval I'm on a bit of a health kick so I made myself a salad (my first so far 😳) which was divine and I didn't even want a caipirinha at the happy hour.

    I met some English girls and a Canadian girl at the hostel and the next day we headed out to the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls. It exceeded my expectations as the falls are just as incredible as I hoped they would be. We even saw a rainbow above the falls which made my day. The best part was the ledge over the 'Devil's throat' where you get soaked but can see right over the edge of the falls. We had lunch in the park and there were these vicious animals similar to raccoons which terrorised us and tried to claw at our food. After the Brazilian side we headed back to the hostel and just sunbathed.

    The second day of the falls was on the Argentinian side and my first taste of Argentina as a whole! Everyone says the falls on this side are much better because they are a lot bigger (it's split roughly 80:20 between Argentina and Brazil) and you get to see the falls up a lot closer, so you really get to understand their force.

    We went on an organised tour consisting of the lower and upper trails and then the Devil's throat again but from the Argentinian side. The day was made funny by our tour guide who decided to point out every single spider he saw to us and some good people we met. On the way back, we got stuck for about an hour and a half in between a protest. Then we went to the point where the 3 countries - Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay - meet, which was very underwhelming. By this point I think everyone wanted to get home as it was starting to get dark and we still had to get over the border back into Brazil.

    In the eve I went out for drinks and food with some people from my hostel and organised crossing the border into Argentina again the following day.

    All in all, Iguacu Falls is one of those 'must do' things in South America. You don't need longer than 2 days but definitely don't skip either side because you get the panoramic views from Brazil but really feel the magnitude of the falls in Argentina. It was definitely one of the highlights of my trip so far.
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