After a 6 hour coach journey, we arrived in São Paulo around 6pm. There are 2 things we quickly realised really don’t go together well: horrific sunburnt backs and 16 kilo rucksacks. This resulted in 3 taxis to get us to the desired locations…a bit extravagant for measly travellers, but necessary nonetheless!
São Paulo was a quick 24 hour stop over, so we wanted to make the most of it. After recommendations from locals and a mention in the Lonely Planet guide, we decided to head to one of the famous Braz pizzerias in the city for dinner. Surprise, surprise our eyes were way bigger than our bellies, and despite only managing 2 out of our 3 huge pizzas, we found room for pudding. Although I think there was potentially too much cheese (shock, very unlike me), the pizzas were glorious and the service and atmosphere were great too. In Brazil it would seem that pizzas are often served to you slice-by-slice. We found this a bit odd and off putting…finding a waiter immediately by your side as you finish the last bite, wishing they would just leave the bleeding pizza on the table so you can eat at your own leisure. Trying to explain in hand signs that you’ve got a few pizzas to share didn’t really work so well either. The meal was lovely though, and we all had a really good laugh. However, I am now regretting not trying the pizza that on the translated English menu apparently had a sprinkle of salvia…
After dinner we headed more centrally towards the Edificio Italia skyscraper for a drink and a 360 view of the city on the 46th floor. Not realising it was a pretty swanky restaurant/bar, we rocked up with our day backpacks and a takeaway pizza box. The host desperately attempted to put us off by implying we probably couldn’t afford the entry fee (approx £5) and wouldn’t enjoy the classical pianist, but we weren’t too fazed and decided to go anyway. After crossing some ladies in cocktail dresses on the stairs and realising we had a pretty good view from there anyway, we decided to save the 30 Brazilian reales for another adventure and proudly walked out with our pizza box in hand.
On Friday morning we headed to the Rua Oscar Friere for a little shopping. First stop was the Havianas shop, and it did not disappoint. With every pattern and colour imaginable plus more, we were like children in a sweet shop. It was almost impossible, but I managed to limit myself to just 3 pairs and 2 little turtle gems – totalling just £16. I’m still cursing the fact I had a stuffed rucksack to carry for 7 months and not a suitcase I could fill! If you do visit São Paulo and you like everything beach related then it’s well worth a visit, for the experience if nothing else.
We then headed to Bacio di Latte, a famous Brazilian ice creamery that was recommended to us by some Brazilians we met in Paraty, and has been voted the best in the city for many years. Again, we were not disappointed! Andrea and I swooned over the beautiful decor and clean toilets that we could actually flush toilet paper down. I had affogato (espresso poured over ice cream) – literally too good!
A metro ride and a short walk lead us to the Mercado Municipal where we saw the most amazing array of fruit and vegetable stalls. We were spoilt by one stall owner who had us trying all sorts of tropical fruit grown across Brazil and in the Amazon. There were round brown fruit the size of an apple that tasted just like wholemeal bread…
Lastly we did a quick stop at the Cathedral which was beautiful, with palm trees lining the way. I particularly enjoyed the altered pedestrian lights and the police men who reminded me of thunderbirds.
From what we had heard São Paulo was pretty drab and not worth seeing, so we came with pretty low expectations. In fact, we found ourselves pleasantly surprised with what we saw in those 24 hours – it is less of a tourist trap than Rio, and despite the sky scrapers it seemed vibrant and busy with artsy bohemian style cafes and boutiques dotted around.
Unfortunately we left on a slightly sour note by returning home to find the pizza we lugged around had been eaten, even though we had written notes in English and Portuguese. We’re still not over it.
Nearing the end of our 24 hours, we took a 40 minute uber to the bus station, costing approx £3.50. Beat that London.
Love, Lottie xx