Monday, June 16, 2014

Domingo na Olinda

Igreja do São Francisco
Time for a Sunday morning walking tour of Olinda.

First off, in case I am leaving the impression that I am not enjoying this trip, that is completely not true.  Walking long distances soaked to the skin in the incessant "winter" rains of Northeastern Brazil isn't what I like to do for a vacation, but it's no big deal.  It's all part of the adventure.  And, so far, going to the games has been a great experience.

Today was the first day to be a tourist.  And Olinda, Pernambuco, is a nice place to play turista.  Olinda is the beautiful, historic, colonial city just to the north of modern, sprawling, crime-infested Recife.

A humid morning at the Igreja do São Francisco
Just up the hill from the Hotel 7 Colinas compound is the beautiful, ornate, decaying Igreja do São Francisco, right here on Rua de São Francisco. From there we could see the highest point in Olinda.

Plaza opposite Igreja do São Francisco, high point in the center
Which appeared to be another church.  As one would expect of a colonial era town, Olinda is lousy with churches.  And, I am sure, every one a Catholic.

The church at the top of the hill was in an even more pronounced state of decay.  But the view was nice:

Nothing decaying about the view
See the modern skyline of Recife off in the background?  From there it was a walk down the hill to the coastline.

Walking down the hill and what do I see? A decaying church!
The narrow cobblestone streets definitely were designed for the pre-automotive era.  A fact that was abundantly clear driving in the day before.

Oceanfront Olinda
Olinda is most definitely not a beach town, or even a port town, despite its waterfront location.  Recife is the port city.  The Boa Viagem neighborhood -- where most of the people we spoke with who were traveling to this game were staying -- is the beach town.  Olinda has the history.

To the lighthouse!
And it has a lighthouse!

This must be one of those sexy brasileiros we hear so much about
There is something of a "boardwalk" along the Olinda waterfront.  But it's not a swimming beach:

That boat isn't going to float very far from there
Not all of the churches are in a state of decay:

Church of São Somebody or Another. I guess I could've looked. But, man, it was humid out here in the Pernambuco winter sun.
And many of the buildings are in pristine condition:

A biblioteca
 Along this one street, every building seemed to be labelled "biblioteca," which I thought meant "library."  A whole of five or six buildings can't all be libraries, can they?

This building caught my eye as interesting looking:

Random building that caught my eye. I could probably say it was just about anything and who's reading this who knows Olinda well enough to question me?
I'm guessing because it was trimmed in crayon green.  The hot tropical sun, even in the brutal Pernambuco winter, was getting to me.  And I did want to get back to Natal before dark (and, no, not because at sundown every Brazilian city suddenly turns into "The Purge").  So it was time to head back to the Hotel 7 Colinas.  With its interesting statuary:

The woman depicted is most certainly brasileira. The clue? A bunda. 
Never got to cool down in the pool, although it looked nice:

Pool at the Hotel 7 Colinas
The hotel was great. It was a shame we were staying here for only one night, although only one night is sufficient for the Recife/Olinda Greater Metropolitan Statistical Area.  The hotel had this "British East India Company" feel to it.  It was a gated compound.  We were greeted at check in with caipirinhas, gratis, which were strong even by the ordinary standards of caipirinhas. The landscaping was great and added to the feel of isolation from the grittier surroundings.  I would stay here again should my travels bring me to this town.

But with the stadium so inaccessible from the town itself, I am glad we did not decide to camp out in Recife for the week we're at the World Cup.  Back to much more manageable Natal.

We got back to Natal at dusk.  Dinner at the Tabua de Carne rodozio style churrascaria a short drive from the hotel.  I took my camera to take pictures but, alas, camera batteries went dead and I got no pictures.  But I will say this, the Americans are definitely "in the house," as the kids would say, for Monday's USA v. Ghana game, game three of our four-game trip.

No comments:

Post a Comment