Brazil is a country of both the superlative and also amazing contrast, with dynamic metropolises, cultural centres and untouched nature. It is the largest country on the South American Continent.
We begin our journey in Rio de Janeiro, the secret capital of Brazil, a veritable firework display of unashamed joie de vivre, football, samba and religion. The focal point of today’s Rio is the monumental glass cone of the Catedral Metropolitana that measures eighty metres high and looks like a Mexican pyramid.
The Rua do Ouvidor, with its elegant old buildings and splendid shops, is a reminder of the city’s historical and commercial importance. Portuguese settlers founded the city and sugar cane and gold made Rio’s colonial rulers extremely rich.
In former times the coastal towns were protected by fortresses and canons. Paraty was one of those romantic locations, south of Rio on the Costa Verde, a gem dating back to Brazil’s colonial times.
Around five hundred kilometres north of Rio and deep within the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, is a most remarkable place. Ouro Preto was discovered at the end of the seventeenth century by Portuguese gold prospectors who discovered ‘black gold’ that changed color due to its iron content.
São Paulo is one of the mega cities of the twenty first century and with a population of twenty million it is the economic heart of Brazil. The railway helped to transport cotton and later coffee, and its large station, with British-designed clock tower, became an important symbol.
Brazil is synonymous with sunshine, samba and exotic nature, a dream destination full of both adventure and constant fun!