Archive for January 26th, 2011

January 26, 2011

Wonderful Brazil, memories that lives on

I had the opportunity to do several trips to Brazil over the years covering the 1998 to 2008 period ,both from the USA and France. I have learned Portuguese over these years, and its a country that almost came to live too.

I like to share some of those experiences with my readers. My first encounter with Brazil was in 1998 when I flew from Miami, Florida USA to Sao Paulo, SP,Brazil. This was to be the first of many business trips there. I have,also, visited Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre,and Curitiba.

The people are amazingly friendly, party and open. Regardless of what one read, taking common sense precautions the trips have been very safe with no accidents to report. I have been to many poor areas and very top notch areas as well. For transportation the best is the airlines as the country is huge. My favorites airlines have been TAM and GOL and they are all reliable.

The time to take the bus was from Curitiba in 2008 to Iguazu Falls,and this long ride is bearable and very nice. bus company Pluma, took about 9 hrs, and 45R Br.webpage ,  . The main bus terminal webpage is here, for itineraries go left column and click “consulta destinos” ,

In Sao Paulo I stay at Maksoud Plaza,at Alameda Campinas, a very good location, done by an architect tired of renting hotels,and it is wonderful. . It has wonderful places to eat inside like the Atrium lobby cafe and the Arlanza Grill. Ibirapuera park is nearby for a nice jogging and conferences are held every year for the business traveler in me. The closeby Ave Paulista is the grand avenue for stores ,shopping in the area.  For eating out do not misse the Famiglia Mancini, a tradition restaurant not to far from the hotel, and of great renown amongst locals who took me there for dinner ,try the all you can eat choice, awesome, webpage And for a nice bar go to Original ,there since 1996 near the big park  a taxi ride from hotel. Located at Rua Card Arcoverde, 1265 – Ibirapuera, For all your Sao Paulo information see their official tourism webpage at

Up to Rio de Janeiro, the you know what Copacabana beach was fabulous; the stays friends always took me to Niteroi for a nice view of the bay and hang gliding….My choice of hotels there is always the Othon Palace, at Avenida Atlantica, just marvelous again , the views,the service the food all is sublime,and the Skylab bar fantastic,  in addition to a great location. webpage .  Outside try the bar Boteco da Garrafa, great pints of beers ,Belgians, Germans you name it ;located at Rua Bolívar, 27, Copacabana.  Restaurante Quinta da Boa Vista in Sao Cristovao, inside park same name, open from 1822 when it serves the royal Portuguese family. webpage One of the things to see in this city is the museum Carmen Miranda, the great Brazilian actress of Hollywood fame.

The fame jewerlers H Stern store in Ipanema is another great place to shop, webpage Of course, as well as the Christ statue, Pao de Açucar, botanical gardens, Sugar Loaf, Maracana stadium, the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, and wait for the Carnaval time. Official tourist office for Rio webpage  and the official Carnaval webpage

I will go to Porto Alegre, the Rio Grande do Sur city vibrant and welcoming. Here my HQ have been the Ceasar Hotel, now the name has been change to Blue Tree Towers Hotels, located at Coronel Lucas de Oliveira, 995 – Bela Vista. they had a japanese resto there very good, now is Becco, Brazilian for the churrasquerias, and still good.

The area is known for the gaucho tradition, very horse oriented with great shows for eating and entertainement not to be missed. The Mercado Publico is great now housing many shops of local flavor and tradition centered around the gaucho heritage. Many restos and pubs around Bela Vista and Centro typical of European cities. Galpao Crioulo is an excellent place to see the gauchos in action and eat well very well,its located at Avenida Loureiro da Silva s/n – Centro (city center). For the traditional dish Feijoada, try Panapanà Bistro,Rua Demétrio Ribeiro, 174 – Centro, webpage  . Another is the great football/soccer team Internacional de Porto Alegre at river banks of  river/Rio Guaíba,in Avenida Padre Cacique, 891, at shopping  Gigante da Beira-Rio.webpage . The official tourist site in portuguese at the city govn site is here

Moving on to Curitiba, the gateway to wild Brazil and the Iguazu Falls, plus Pantanal,Ile da Mielhe, and Morrete, Ruta  Gracioza  marvelous terrain and inland historical Lapa ,in Parana state. I spent over the years the most time here, its an enchanting city, known for its progressive bus system, and full of European immigrants. My hq hotel is the Mercure Curitiba Batel webpage here

Batel is a noble neighborhood where you will be in good safe areas, full of everything around you. That is where the Mercure hotel is on, you come in from the airport on avenida vicomte de guarapauva and leave on ave sete de septembro. The corner of this later on you have a grocery store, mercadorama. Walking distace from here you can see the tower font de jerusalem,mercado central, rodoferraria bus and train, praça Japao (Japan Plaza), and the main downtown city center shopping mall like Batel novo shops webpage, and Shopping Crystal at webpage, as well as shopping Curitiba,, and Shopping Estaçao Central with a railroad museum inside! You have your typical Wal-Mart store at You have the Carrefour store too, at Pinhais just outside the city was my store,  And Extra Hipermercado in Av. Mal Humberto A C Branco, 230 – Jardim Social, webpage

Other shopping pleasures are shopping Mueller, by jardim public at The biggest just outside by the park Barigui is at , and yet in city center you have shopping Italia at There are various restaurants/bars  in town in addition to those found in the shopping centers above that I like such as Emporio San Francisco with great beers and live music at ; jokers pub cafe in centro, great ambiance at nights webpage Familia Fadanelli in neighborhood of Santa Felicidade, great Italian tradition and the farewell restaurant for me last time in the city with many friends, Batel Grill, the great Brazilian steak houses, cant beat it ,webpage . Mustang Sally for the real Mexican in you ,right in Batel, webpage . For an American in Brazil, and great burgers deluxe head for Peggy Sue ,webpage For the Cuban mojito and some salsa then head for Guantanamera, (now closed) no web ,but Rua Colonel Dulcidio, 540 in front of shopping Novo Batel. For the real Brazilian taste and home cooking head for Tropilha Grill, webpage here , For the Spanish in me go to Pata Negra, Rua Fernando Simas,23, in the area of Batel, Praça de Espanha, flamenco music live on Fridays. Spanish and great cooking, like I was at home. no web.

If you want to bring home some Brazilian wines with an Italian twist then head for Durigans winery, a real wine store, winery in one; webpage here

For tourist attractions are many and wonderful, my favorites were/are Bosque Alemao (German black forest), Cathedral (Basílica Menor de Nossa Senhora da Luz de Curitiba) , Centro historico or city historical center walks, Jardim Botanico or botanical gardens,Memorial Ucraniano(Ukranian memorial) at Parque Tingui, Opéra de Arame (metal build opera) at the Parque da Pedreiras, Parque Barigui( with an antique automobile museum) my best park , Parque Tangua (impressive!), Passeio Publico (first park n Curitiba 1886) , Praça do Japao (Japan plaza),Praça Tiradentes (center and birthplace of the city),Torre Panoramica (panoramic tower of 109.5 meters), Santa Felicidade neighborhood (Little North Italy),Castelo do Batel or castle inspired by the French castles owners saw in France, now a cultural center, webpage The museum contemporary of Oscar Niemeyer, webpage A great historical center of learning the Universidade Federal do Parana, oldest in Brazil.

There is a linha Turismo bus service that take you to the 22  principal spots in the city coming out from Centro praça tiradentes from 9h to 17h30 every 30 minutes for 20R reales. Line 208 take you from the airport Alfonso Pena to the city center, schedules at the city govt webpage The main bus terminal is at avenida Presidente Afonso Camargo,340 Centro right across from mercado central, praça rua Barosa, the central market of the city.

The airport for all arrivals and departures is the Afonso Pena international airport, just outside the cit at sao jose des pinhas,  as above bus 208 takes you into the city or hire a taxi, services webpage One of the best ways to see the coastal areas from Curitiba is to take the Serra Verde train, a wonderful ride into time with magnificent views ,webpage

Another nice areas to visit from Curitiba other than Foz de Iguaçu are Morretes ( the summer get away of folks in Curitiba), and Lapa (epic battle for the federal union of Brazil), they were weekends escapes for me while there by car. This is the tourist office for Curitiba webpage

Enjoy Brazil! and of course Curitiba forever!!!

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