- Population: 3.0m
- Area 693km2
- Elevation: 8m
- Co-ordinates: 12o58’29’S 38o28’36’’W
- Average temperature: 32C
Sun, Sea & Samba Take 2 (but the people steal the show).
The bits we missed in Rio, Salvador delivered.
With both of us feeling much better and each of the 5 days we stayed reaching around 34C with full sun, we spent most of them exploring the various beaches around the Barra area where we were staying (as well as a day trip to the serene Flamengo beach further north). The beaches themselves were beautiful, way more relaxed than the Rio beaches and with much calmer waters too, making Salvador feel like a small piece of paradise (much more what we’d anticipated of coastal Brazil).
Our Samba experience was a Friday night session in a churchyard with the band Grupo Botequim. We were lucky to be put in touch with Paolo (a friend of Jurgen’s) who took us along to it (it only takes place once a month). Definitely glad we didn’t miss it! The setting (with the band sat at a table in the center of the yard playing and drinking away throughout the night) was super intimate. The crowd of all colours, ages, shapes, sizes, sexes and orientations stood in a circle around the band for 4+ hours straight; dancing, singing and laughing. The atmosphere was euphoric. Amazing! One of the best nights out without techno music, drunkenness, etc. that we’ve had in a long time.
Food was another major highlight of Salvador. Despite a few challenges with Jeroen not being able to eat at some places due to his fussy eating habits (a shitload of pork & fish), which resulted one night in us heading to a local Subway sandwich place (!!), we still managed to discover loads of wonderful dishes here:
- Tapioca in abundance; from pancakes at breakfast to savory and sweet dishes available throughout the day.
- Pastels (baked pasties) in various yummy flavors.
- A huge meat platter of grilled beef, chicken and pork with local grilled veggies and rice at a secluded spot in Pelourinho.
- Moqueca; a shrimp casserole, served with rice and puréed cassava. To die for!
- Freshly made upside down fruit cakes every day for breakfast at the guest house.
- Copious amounts of fresh local fruits (water melon, mango, papaya, pineapple to name a few).
- Açaí available in 20+ different flavors (what is marketed as a health craze in Europe is standard fare here).
For Jeroen, we also found some not so local (although still great) places to eat, including a cute burger place attached to a music/ dance yard and an even cuter small Mexican place attached to an art/ crafts/ clothing collective store. It’s fair to say that any hopes of weight loss and getting fitter on the trip were out of the window before they’d even started in Salvador.
Overall though, the thing that stood out for us in Salvador was the people. Before we came to Salvador we had warnings about it being one of the most dangerous cities, which to be honest gave us (Carl in particular) quite a nervous feeling about coming here. Now, we are not going to say that it’s a totally safe city and that there’s no danger here. Even the locals would disagree with that and would be able to reel off some no-go areas. Nor will we say that our view is representative of everyone’s. However, our experience of Salvador was one of a warm, open and welcoming place. The atmosphere was relaxed, vibrant and relatively safe (compared to what we felt in Rio) – particularly at night when the city came alive.
The people we met along the ay (in particular Marcus and his family at the guest house and Paolo) were hospitable, friendly and interested in trying to connect and proudly show the best of their city. This is what made our trip to Salvador and we would recommend it to anyone!
- Countries visited: 1
- Cities visited: 2
- Distance travelled: 10,799km
- Modes of transport:
- Plane (2)