It’s still raining when we arrive in Salvador, Brazil’s former capital, site of the first landing in 1501 by Amerigo Vespucci and centre of the slave trade. It is the most African part of Brazil with 80% of people having African heritage and where traditional African religions survive today with the numerous Candomblé cults. There is even a choir that sings in Yoruba.
After our magnificent week in the hot & dusty Pantanal we set off for the NE coast of Brazil, first stop Olinda and Recife. We are due to arrive at 2 am and, despite numerous emails and entreaties to our travel agent, are repeatedly told we have to go via São Paulo, a journey that will take 8 hours. Continue reading
‘Watch out! The Pantanal has the world’s worst mosquitoes!’ With this warning ringing in my ears, here we are with our Avon skin-so-soft spray (the best according to experts), craghoppers mosquito-proof trousers and shirts and even face nets to fit under hats. The African in me who has never bought any safari gear is appalled. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
It does not augur well as we step off the train in Windermere in torrential rain, me in my summer sandals! The rain continues into day one of our long weekend; our friends John and Hilary had wisely brought forward our Sunday lunch reservation at the Michelin star-winning L’Enclume in Cartmel, so we decide to go for a cultural visit to Brantwood House on the way. Continue reading
Switzerland never ceases to surprise! This weekend our friend Tim mentions that there is to be a cow fight in the next-door village of Morgins. Bulls, surely? I ask. No, cows! The Hérens breed which comes only from the Valais are well-known for their female aggression in the spring when they spar for territory. This has become a major tourism attraction and the cows go from valley to valley and fight in five classes for the final title of Queen of the Queens. Continue reading
We are celebrating Ross’s second retirement. He said he wanted a rite of passage to get him out of pharma mode and back into real life. So here we are! On advice, we have decided that five nights downtown in a hot, noisy Riad is probably too much so we are staying in the Palmeraie district in a lovely place, Les Deux Tours, set in luscious gardens complete with vegetables, goats, hammam, large pool, hidden 4-poster beds for a post-prandial nap, and immaculate service. Our room lies behind a Mediterranean blue door and has its own secret garden. Spoiling indeed. Continue reading