Published: April 13th 2012April 12th 2012
With the arrival of Easter came the arrival of the Easter Holidays! Now I may be in another continent however it would be rude of me not to embrace the English tradition of having two weeks off for Easter so that is what I was forced into doing! Life really is hard!
After the excitement of the Waterfalls, we headed to the state of Santa Catarina and into its capital, Florianópolis or Floripa as it is known to the Brazilians. Floripa begins on the mainland but then continues onto the Ilha de Santa Catarina, making it a place offering many different experiences and environments. To get to this treasured location, it was another long distance bus journey. This time it was 15 hours each way, but to be honest as I am lucky enough to be able to sleep anywhere I must confess that I slept for the most part. We arrived in Floripa early on Good Friday morning and were able to make the most of our time away.
The central part of Floripa feels very colonial and is reminiscent of European capital cities in terms of its architecture. In Floripa the buildings are all painted different spring
shades giving a freshness and prettiness which the sunshine certainly helps to bring alive. After wandering around a while and getting our bearings we headed to the Museu Historico de Santa Catarina. As it was once the Colonial Governor's Palace, this museum houses important political memoribilia and it is easy to picture important figures of authority seated at the sturdy and imposing desks.
More than just a place of power, the Museum is a place of beauty and of appreciating the finer things in life. Even the floor is a work of art, the wooden parquet pieces shine and every visitor helps to polish them as you must put cloth covers over your shoes before stepping onto the perfect surface. Looking up from the waxed floors you can see ornate coving and sculptures across the ceiling. This extravagance continues throughout the building with hand painted wall paper all around and chandeliers that seem too big for each room. Even the external walls of the building are not neglected, they are home to niches and sculptures and are a rosy shade of pastel pink.
The Museum is situated on one side of the Praça XV de Novembro, a peaceful
square in the heart of the city which is filled with people milling around or sitting relaxing and with artesanal stalls. In the centre of the square is a magnificent fig tree which is so large that it has metal props holding up its branches in certain places. It covers the square and takes away the heat of the midday sun, making you feel as though you have stepped into another place altogether. On the adjacent side of the Square is the Metropolitan Cathedral and further up the street is the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary. Both buildings are painted sunny lemon and yellow shades, inviting and calming at the same time.
A short walk from the Square, you find the covered markets. These are separate buildings helpfully organised into areas selling the same things, for example the Fish Market, which has a distinct aroma, and the Electricals Market. However the Market that was the most attractive to me was the Footwear Market! Yes an entire building dedicated to shoes. I say shoes, but really it was an entire building of flip flop shops! At least 30 stalls just selling flip flops, insane but somehow they were
all busy. I thought that I liked shoes a little bit too much but here they make me look like an amateur fan. The only problem I had was trying to calculate how many pairs would fit into my luggage!
Floripa is a wonderful place as it offers something for everyone; those looking for comfort and relaxation, those looking for a place to contemplate and count their blessings, those looking for European style coffee shops and even those looking for flip flops, all of them will be happy in Florianópolis. Next I will be getting to Iguacu Falls
There are more photos below