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Published: September 2nd 2007
So, how was that summer? Hope you had the chance to get out of the Low Lands/England, ´cause from what I hear there wasn’t much summer around there. If however you didn’t yet, and is now time to plan a warm break, I know just about the right place: Fernando de Noronha
island in Brazil!
Yes, I was on that piece of Paradise this summer! It’s an ecological archipelago of 21 islands with tourist entrances being limited and charged with an eco-tax depending on the duration of the stay. It is located less than 4 degrees south of the Ecuador, so a sort of the Galapagos in miniature, were you can watch dolphins or turtles in their natural environment. Noronha island is wild, amazingly beautiful and peaceful (there are no chain hotels, you have to stay in small ´pousadas,´ with an hang mat on your wood balcony, zzzzz). Some of the beaches are deserted, inviting you to romanticize being Adam and Eve in the paradise… (1)
I flu to Noronha from Natal, ´a cidade do sol´ (the city of the sun), and what I am going to miss most is the restaurant ´Casa da Taipa´, in Alto de Punta Negra specialized in ´tapiocas´, a sort of pancakes made of cassava roots, yummmie!(2)
I thought about bringing cassava flour and make my own tapiocas, but on the one hand I am not that a great cook, and on the other it occurred to me that packing my luggage with 1 kilo of white powder would probably not be a very smart idea, so instead I went to the handicraft shop ´Alma Brasileira´(Brazilian Soul), and I bought a little expensive souvenir to console myself. Sniff sniff … I want tapiocas!
I also visited Rio de Janeiro, ´Cidade Maravilhosa´(the Marvellous City), went to Barra, one of the in-areas to go out (after Leblon, coming from Ipanema). I paid a quick visit to MAC (Museum of Contemporary Art)
, designed by Nyemeyer (the architect who designed the new capital Brasilia). It is a must-see, if not for anything else, for the building itself, which many compare to an elegant UFO, being in Nyemeyer´s vision a flourishing white flower … but don’t even dream of ordering the Chai Tea at the museum’s café!
Talking about art museums … there is the new , Berardo Museum
, in Lisbon with free entrance till the end of the year! It is hosted at the previous Cultural Centre of Belem (CCB) museum, and having been in both, I have to say that one can feel the weight of Berardo´s collection leveraging Lisbon to the route of the must-visit international Modern and Contemporary Museums.
The new 07/08 cultural season just opened, and is starting with glamour (see a short list of events below) (3)
To finalise, I would like to welcome good-looking baby Catinca
to the (blog)sphere! Congratulations Dana!
So time to say bye-bye to you all! See you perhaps in one of the upcoming events? (Catinca you are excused for sometime ;-)
- (1) more on Fernando de Noronha: There is a bay where you can go 5:30 a.m. to watch the dolphins. I didn’t have to because I was exceptionally lucky as they decided to come and make a pirouette show around me while I was snorkelling! You are not allowed to touch them, or even try to swim with them, but I didn’t want to, I just watched them showing-off. They looked quite happy enjoying themselves, while I enjoyed their acrobatic skills (they are rotator dolphins, so they can make quite some show). After watching such show is at first difficult to conceive they are also quite violent, specially with their own species But well, it’s just nature at its wildest.
Wilde 'dark' sides of dolphins
- (2) If you go eating at Casa da Taipa, my suggestion is tapioca ´frango defumado com catupiry´ (chicken with catupiry cheese) accompanied by ´Salada do Luar´ but only if you are very hungry and can share the salad with someone, otherwise is far too much! Don’t forget to drink one of the ´batidas´ ( a sort of an alcoholic milkshake with caipirinha!) The restaurant is about more than just the food: it is a very inviting space with colourful decoration, palm trees integrated in the building, tastily designed menus of recycled paper, and friendly staff.
- (3) Upcoming events:
- ‘Monumentendagen’ (Monument Days), part of the European Heritage Days. During those weekend days, many monuments are open for free visits, September 8-9, all the Netherlands.
- Film Festival Africa in the Picture
- Cultural festival
´The World of the Witte de Withstraat´ in Rotterdam. My suggestions are: the culinary gallery-route and a blind-lunch (you do not need to be blind but you will feel like one …), September 7-9.
- The Harbour Festival
, September 8-9 in Rotterdam.
Skyscrapers weekend - a new event in Rotterdam!
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