A couple of days ago I got back from my very first trip to Brazil, as you can probably guess from the title….São Paulo! I have to admit when I initially got my roster I was a little bit annoyed, because I’d bid for Rio and instead they gave me 3 São Paulos. In the end somebody sent me a swap for Zurich and although I’ve been there before I accepted it as it is a nice layover and it gave me the weekend in Dubai, so the other day was my first time going to Brazil. Everybody I’ve spoken to that has gone has said something along the lines of “oh, there’s nothing to do in São Paulo, I just stayed in the hotel and sunbathed”.
However I was determined to make the most of it and when looking up what to do there I happened to stumble across a website advertising a free walking tour of the city every Wednesday and Saturday. As luck had it, I was going to be there on a Wednesday, and I’d done a couple of free walking tours (you just give a tip at the end if you want to) whilst backpacking in Europe with my best friend. I had time on the flight (14,5 hours!) to persuade a few of the other crew to join me. Once we landed safely and finally got to the hotel it was definitely time for bed, so I hung the breakfast menu outside my door and set my alarm in time to meet the others the next morning.
I woke up pretty early (around 5am) and I’d ordered my breakfast for 8 so spent a few hours lying in bed getting very hungry and not being able to sleep! I was up in time for the sunrise though, which was very pretty!
Once we were all ready to go, we walked to the train station down the road, managed to buy tickets with none of us speaking a word of Portuguese and nobody at the station speaking a word of English and headed down to the platform hoping we were going in the right direction. With one change onto the metro we managed to make it into the city and found the meeting point for the tour. We had a little bit of time before it started so wandered around and got a quick bite to eat. (Breakfast was a long time ago by this point! :D)
Once we got back to the meeting point quite a big group of people had gathered there for the tour. The tour guide was a girl called Fe and she really knew her stuff. She took us around the downtown area of the city and explained a lot about the buildings and areas we were in.
This was I think the 3rd tallest building in the city. There’s an observatory at the top which is only open from 3-4pm every day, and it’s free to go up!
This building is so big that apparently it has its own postcode! There were so many little stalls on the side of the road selling fresh fruit, I wish I’d bought some!
These little things are actually telephone booths, although apparently they aren’t very easy to use as you have to buy a special card to make calls and you can’t use coins!
Around this area we stopped for some lunch in a typical little restaurant. I had rice and beans and chicken and it reminded me so much of what I used to eat almost every day when I was living in Costa Rica!
After lunch the others decided that they’d had enough walking and were going to finish the tour there and go back to the hotel to sleep. Boring! (And yes, I did tell them it was a walking tour. What can you do!) I carried on and they definitely missed out on the best bit, the Sé Cathedral.
It was really beautiful, and the street leading up to it was so pretty with lots of palm trees lining it. There were however a lot of homeless people living around that area and we were told to keep a tight grip on any cameras/phones/money etc!
After the tour finished I joined a few other people who were going to go back to the tall building we started off at and go up to the roof. The view was incredible, and you don’t realise when you’re walking around such a small area of the city how huge it actually is!
After the tour I safely navigated my way back to the hotel on the metro and train and only got a little bit lost walking from the train station to the hotel! Once I got back I realised I’d managed to get more than a little bit sunburnt on my face and shoulders…woops! I popped down to the pool for a last bit of sunshine to write some postcards and read my book for a bit. After a very quick nap it was soon time to get ready for the long flight home.
São Paulo, I’ll be back! (And please, somebody remind me to buy a magnet next time!)
And something I forgot to mention….Pelé the Brazilian football legend was on my flight there! 😀
P.s. If you want more regular day to day updates of what is happening in my life, follow me on Twitter and Instagram @rachelwwilson!