The magnificent beach at Maracaipe (see below)
In March this year I made a trip with my partner Clarice (who is Brazilian) to Brazil, partly to see her family and friends but also for a holiday. The aim was to spend most of the time in or near Recife in northeast Brazil and then finish off with 5 nights in Rio de Janeiro in the south. Unfortunately this was cut short due to the escalating coronavirus situation in the UK and we had to get an earlier flight back (only one night in Rio).
Now that I have time on my hands due to the lockdown, I thought I’d write up my travel experiences as a photo essay. It also allows me to focus on much happier times!
We stayed with a friend who lived in the Boa Viagem district of Recife and her flat overlooked the main beach (see photos above and below), a really great location. It’s apparently the longest stretch of urbanized seafront in Brazil and a coastal reef calms the waves to help keep the water at a wonderful 25 °C. As you can see the beach goes on for miles, 5 to be exact.
One thing about Recife that surprised me was that it had a British Country Club. It was originally founded in 1920 by the British who at that time had a significant presence in Recife.
This made me curious about the interesting historical link to the UK (which I was unaware of, see here for details). In the early 19th century the British began to arrive in Brazil, focusing on the ports of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Recife. The aim was to find new and lucrative opportunities for industry and trade based on their commanding sea presence at the time.
In Recife, the capital of the state of Pernambuco, they set up a number of firms, banks and public utilities. Interesting examples include the Western Telegraph Company (which allowed contact with the world through a submarine cable), the Pernambuco Tramways and Power Company (including setting up railway and tram transport in the region) and the Pernambuco Paper Mills.
More up to date, there’s even a video clip of Queen Elizabeth arriving in Recife on the start of a State Visit in 1968! At that time Guararapes airport at Recife was used as an important maintenance and refuelling stop for aircraft travelling between South America and Europe.
Nearby Recife is the pretty city of Olinda, whose historic downtown area was classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. The city has a number of attractive churches and plays host to its own Carnival and street party. It also has many delightful restaurants and bars, often with great views.
We also paid a trip to the beach resort of Maracaipe, about an hour by car south of Recife, and near to the popular resort of Porto de Galenas.
This is where we stayed in Maracaipe, a great place to relax
Typical boat used to travel to the natural pools nearby
Time for a drink in the shallows, it really is a bar!
Setting sun (above) leading to a full moon (below)
Although we only had one night in Rio we made the most of it by paying a friendly taxi driver to show us the sights over two days. We drove around the different districts (Ipanema, Copacabana, Leblon etc) which gave me an excellent overview (it was my first time in Rio, Clarice has been there many times and knows it well). Unfortunately most places (museums, galleries, cable cars) were closed as lockdown was just starting up so there weren’t many opportunities for casual exploring or photos.
View of near empty Copacabana Beach on an overcast day
People practising in a park near the Museum of Modern Art
Pretty Vermelha Beach in the neighbourhood of the Sugarloaf Mountain
Another view at Vermelha Beach
Clarice and myself, on the sightseeing trip and waiting for the flight back
Flying back from Rio, we arrived to an eerily deserted Gatwick Airport in the UK. A full lockdown started soon after (March 23rd) and it’s still going on…
Comment: there were a couple of typos in the original posting that have now been corrected.