We arrive early in the morning to azure skies, winter sun and a distinct chill in the air. It takes us a good hour and a half to struggle through the snaking immigration queue so it is a relief to find our driver who whisks us off the the Tivoli Mofarrej in the peaceful Jardins area of SP.
It is still early so we decide to take a whistle-stop tour with a guide and see the city. Enrico scoops us up and first we drive through the four Jardins areas from our quarter, which has upmarket shopping and restaurants, to Americas with its huge mansions, Europe and Paulina. Each has streets named after the areas. I find it hard to believe we are in ‘dangerous’ Brazil, it’s so leafy and quiet, even the traffic is unexpectedly tame: it’s the winter school holidays.
In three hours there’s not much time to stop so we whizz into SP’s oldest church, Our Lady Of Brazil, with its mock Sistine chapel and Portuguese blue tiles
From there we drive through downtown with its churches and squares, the stupendous skyscrapers sprouting out through the old colonial buildings, many of which were destroyed as being too ‘backward’ for Brazil’s politicians.
PS first attempt of blog on the iphone so pl excuse any typos or weird gaps. It’s a bit tricky!