Monday, 31 August 2015

A lovely day in Santa Teresa

"1 santa teresa panorama 2014" by Chensiyuan - Own work.
Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons -

This view is from Santa Teresa towards Rio central with a favela in between.

One day when Ruth had to work a bit we went to a town called Santa Teresa which is a district of Rio. Ruth had to go here anyway as she had a meeting there with her work team.  It is a very traditional area of Rio that used to be a very affluent part of Rio. There are still remains of some very grand houses that sadly are now rather run down.   But this upper class usage of the area stopped a long time ago and now it is mostly bars restaurants and artists studios. The roads are very narrow,twisted and sometimes cobbled and exceptionally beautiful. Santa Teresa sits atop of a long hill called by the same name, and unless you are fit it's best to get a taxi up to the town at the top.

Old grand house sadly now in a run down condition.

After arriving we had a quick look around then stopped at a lovely local restaurant for a beer and a bit of lunch. We went to a cafe called Cafe Alto click here for more info - The restaurant was very traditional and used the colours of Brasil to make it's decorations.  There were some strange hanging dolls around which made up the curtains which were apparently a local tradition and the cafe was bright clean and very friendly with a lovely ambiance.  Ruth introduced us to Aipim (probably spelt wrong) fries which is also called yuca or cassava. It is usually fried and can be coated in lots of different coatings. It is really delicious and we got quite addicted to it while we where there.

The Cafe in Santa Teresa

While Ruth went to her meeting Dave and I wondered around looking at the town and at one point nearly wondered into a favela. We drew some confused looks from the locals but all was ok. The town is peppered here and there by small shops and artists studios and many different local goods can be purchased, but although it is no doubt a bit touristy it also has the feel of a authentic local town rather than a built up area for tourists to peruse.

We found a really interesting artists shop where the artist was disabled and painted miniature pictures on shells and made them into necklaces. These pieces were  really amazing quality so I had to buy one.

This is some info on the artist from a local tour guide

photo credit

This doesn't do it justice. There are clouds, mountains in the background and colourful houses.
Santa Teresa is famous for a yellow tram that runs through the village and transports people up the steep hill. Sadly for us it was out of action when we visited, but apparently they will have it up and running by the time the Olympics occur.

Dave and I were hoping to go to Parque das ruinas (park of ruins) but sadly they were closed while we were there, for more information click here

After all that walking in 34 oc heat Dave and I were in need of a drink and took a while to find the cafe we were meeting Ruth at but finally we made it, and got to meet some of her colleagues as well.

Dave managed to find a art, souvenir and instrument shop - as only he can, and found a odd instrument which of course he had to buy. This was the shop he bought it in, I forgot to take a picture and luckily enough I found one on another website This is a photo from their website.

Photo credit:

The instrument is called a Berimbau and is played by resonating a string through a gourd and the sound changed by manipulating a stone behind the string to adjust the resonance. Either way, Dave loved it. But I think it may take a lot of learning to play, but he is tenacious enough to do so.

After a day of midgemodging about and going to one cafe for lunch and a bar for drinks, we felt the need for yet more drinks and food. So in the evening after Zam had finished work we went to a restaurant that is meant to be one of the best in the area, and weren't disappointed. It is called Espirito Santa and it was a very fun. It is a restaurant specialising in Brazilian food and especially Amazonian food. all of the food was served beautifully and the whole evening was really relaxed.

The best thing was the gourd cocktails that Ruth and I had, they were very strong Caipirinha's and enough to make one go squiffy.

Ruth drinking from cocktails from a gourd 

Dave's not asleep, just caught as he blinked :)

After a lovely day we caught a taxi back to the apartment, and chilled for the rest of the evening.

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