The cultural centre of ‘Brasil’ (not a spelling mistake, but as it is done here!), the capital or Paranay, this is after all an interesting and pleasant city in S America. Exploring on the first day I found numerous small ‘placas’ or park areas to sit, reflect and watch the Brasilians go about their daily life. Apparently, a well-planned city thanks to a three-term mayor Faria, and the envy the world over; the residents have a better than average standard of living here, with cobbled pedestrian zones like Largo de Ordem for the Sunday craft market (where I am staying, overlooking the lane). It’s the best market I’ve ever seen, with 1000 stalls, most unique with good quality crafted items I would love to have bought but can’t carry! There was live music on all corners, people sitting and listening, eating the wares of many sellers or sitting in the warm sunshine (at last!) with a beer outside the bars.
There is also the lively and bustling Saturday shopping on Rua XV Novembro, another cobbled pedestrian zone of shops, bars and cafes, street entertainers and street vendors. It’s such a lively, interesting place! Again, a few nice sunny or shady park areas to sit and rest, watch the world go by and still feel involved in the city life, even on my own!
I really enjoyed my stay in this city, even being unable to speak more than the odd word of either Spanish or Portugese, and even if I can ask I don’t understand the response! The city tour was good, too, 40 real for 2.5 hours on a 46km tour of the centre and cultural spots. You can get off and on four times for this but I chose to stay on and just look from the windy open top bus. I choose the sunny side for warmth!
My hotel, with deluxe en-suite double room that I didn’t query further in, was great! A bit of luxury in a bed so comfortable it was like a cocoon once I doubled the furry bedcover over the single sheet, it was cosy too!
Right in the midst of life at the centre of the Historico Sector, on Largo de Ordem, my back room offered quiet to sleep, but looking from the dining room/lounge balcony, seeing the cobbled street, people walking or drinking, the busy stalls lining the street in Sunday, and food on my doorstep it was perfect!
I was dropped at the square by the taxi, then lost myself and a kind young man tried to help me find my hostel, but it was disguised by the table and drinkers socialising right outside the door – pointed out to me by one of the customers who saw me looking around!
Up through an ornate doorway, bare steps and into a small, cosy reception area where the receptionist was a young traveller from Paraguay who suggested I travel there and also coastal places to see in Brasil. It’s fun to chat to fellow travellers, find tips and ideas, helpful information and learn more about options and places too.
I settled in and went on my usual wander to explore. What did I find?
A pedestrianised shopping centre – well a street with sides off it, a park with a walkway there inscribed with Brazilian footballers names – a few I knew, that’s how I guessed in the shade but not pretty to sit in.
The market was literally outside in the pedestrian street on Sunday, so wandered there, looking at crafts and souvenirs, painters and food, sat by the fountain listening to street musicians in the sun! Loved it that afternoon!
From the breakfast room I leaned out of the open window to look down on sheltered stalls and lively attendance all day!
Another day it was quiet but busy with people going to school and work, or shoppers, and catching public transport on the road. It was an unexpected and unplanned visit but gave me a real feel for the culture of Brazilian life.
The city had had awards thanks to their forward thinking and very active Mayor making it a lovely place to live and work apparently!