Salvador de Bahia 26 & 27/11/15
Salvador was the first capital of Brazil, one of the oldest colonial cities in the Americas. It has the second largest bay in the world and it's known as the city of happiness for the amount of street parties and music, and also has the largest carnival in the world.
We arrived in Salvador the 26th very early in the morning, and from the cruise we could already feel the Caribbean vibe of this city.
After the immigration control, which was quick and easy, we jumped in a taxi to go to the host's house for 80 reales. It took 45 minutes to get to the building, in the area of Costa Azul. Many, if not most buildings in the city have a reception counter with 24h surveillance, and the receptionist helped us contact our host who received us earlier than agreed with a smile on his face. George and his wife, Naiara hosted us during our stay in Salvador who we connected with through the couchsurfing app. They are a relaxed, friendly couple and we spent the day with them: went grocery shopping, had lunch together and dinner.
At sunset, Naiara took us to Barra, to see the lighthouse and explained us where the carnival starts and finishes and we all watched sunset over the ocean.
The 27th we made plans to visit the city with our friends from table 277. We met at 11:30 at the bottom of Elevador Lacerda, which connects the lower town and the port with the upper town (we didn't try the lift but it costs 0'15 reales per ride).
We decided to head to Barra and see the lighthouse we visited the night before. We walked along the beach and up to a statue that represents Jesus. After taking pictures at the lighthouse and walking the entire avenue and beach, we went for lunch at the "LightHouse" restaurant, which offers a food buffet by weight (1 kg - 29.90) and we walked in the direction of the port, where we found another beach. This was a little smaller and locals crowded it, and after a few stares we decided to get the bus to the Old Town (Pelourinho), which we hadn't seen.
The pelourinho really is the heart of Salvador. The colourful old fashioned houses gathered in steep and irregular roads. Accompanied by the sound of drums we walked until we managed to sit down on some stairs where some locals were selling something. It was five in the evening and we had to go back home to cook a promised meal for our hosts.
When we arrived we had dinner, that I cooked and prepared our luggage for a late flight to Rio de Janeiro. Our hosts kindly dropped us off in the airport at 1 am.
We heard all sorts of things about Salvador on our way there and we were a little nervous about getting around but we were pleasantly surprised by the kindness of locals who would warn us and help us find our way with a smile. We definitely recommend it.