Sights from Salvador

Posted: June 14, 2011 in Brazil

So today after yet another ham and cheese sandwich breakfast with an array of mixed fruit (papaya, guava, mango and melon) and STRONG black coffee (x 3)

I wanted to get around the city and see as many of the sights as possible, it was a bit overcast and a storm was threatening out to sea, the question was whether it would head inland or not!

So far I have learnt that not speaking portuguese in Brazil puts you at a significant disadvantage with the locals. I am getting by though by using sign language, comedy actions and over enthuastic body language. I often find myself gesturing wildly over a mundane request for something simple such as a road map or bus number.

As each bus trip was less than a pound I was able to cross the entire width and breadth of the centre.  Starting just outside my hostel,

Forto de Santo Antonio da Barra, built in 1698, Bahia’s oldest fort is more commonly called the Farol da Barra for the lighthouse (South America’s oldest) within its walls. It is only from this penisula where it is possible to watch the sunset over the ocean in Brazil (which I did last night.)

Mercado Modelo, which is situated in Grando Campo, was the original customs house for the city. Buit in 1861 it was partially destroyed in a fire in 1986. After reconstruction, it was transformed into a tourist market. Live music, free capoeira demonstrations, art pieces, wood work, lace and nick nacks all for sale inside this impressive building.

I was assaulted by the usual crowd of hawkers and street vendors selling all sorts of tourist rubbish at,´special bonus price´ for me, all of which I passed on. They obviously were unaware of the lack of space in my 35 litre ruck sack. Still is was lovley wandering around the place which had a real buzz to the place, not completely unaided by the 20 odd clearly drunk locals drinking various non specific intoxicants singing various sea shanties and yokel songs, mainly out of tune (I think!)

Elevador Lacerda, also situated in Grand Campo built originally in 1610 by Jesuits, a manual rope-and-pulley elevator around 1610 to more easily transport goods and passengers from the port to the settlement.

In 1868 an iron structure powered by a steam engine, later electrified when restored in1928. Today the Art Deco Elevador Lacerda is made up of four elevators connecting the Cidade Alta and Cidade Baixa.

The elevators travel along a set of 72m (236ft) vertical cement shafts in about 20 seconds, shuttling more than 50,000 passengers daily..whooosh

Catedral Basílica built  from 1672 and is a great example of Jesuit architecture. The interior is elegant and simple, with marble-covered walls and pillars that emphasize the height of the place.

Igreja NS do Bonfim, the street vendors in Pelourinho who hand out coloured ribbons or  fitas as ´free gifts´ get the practice from this church. Fitas are a souvenir of the church and have come to symbolize Bahia itself. Bonfim’s fame comes from its power to effect miraculous cures, which has transformed it from a rather ordinary church into a popular shrine.

In the Sala dos Milagres (Room of Miracles) on the right side of the church, devotees leave photos, letters and ex votos – wax replicas of body parts representing those that were cured or need curing. I can only ask you to imagine what wax work ´bits and pieces´ I was faced with on entering the room!

Due to Candomblistas’ syncretization of Jesus Christ (Nosso Senhor do Bonfim) with Oxalá, their highest deity, Bonfim is their most important church, apparantly it attracts huge services  on Fridays, Oxalá’s favorite day of the week.

If you tie a fita around your wrist, you are making a commitment that lasts for months. With each of the three knots a wish is made, which will come true by the time the fita falls off. Cutting it off is inviting doom… hmm interesting x

Total miles covered for the day you ask… I would venture a guess at 15 miles (HOT STICKY MILES)

Night night you guys x

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