Posted by: Caroline | July 4, 2013

Salvador de Bahia

It seems we’re making a tradition of visiting World Cup host countries about a year before the big event. Guess that means you know where we’ll be in 2017 (Russia) and 2021 (Qatar)!


Coca-Cola is clearly not on the side of Brazilians outraged about the number of new stadiums the government built while simultaneously raising public transit prices… but they do make a charming mural.

We decided to make Brazil our summer (or their winter) destination this year because Alex had already acquired a swanky business visa and visited Sao Paulo. With my shiny new tourist visa in hand (valid for 10 years, thank goodness, because this country is quickly becoming a favorite), we wanted to go experience more of what Brazil has to offer.


Little did we know it would be so difficult to actually get to the country to experience it. Our flight from Atlanta was delayed by 10 hours because of a “malfunctioning light bulb,” causing us to miss our GOL Airlines connection from Brasilia to Salvador.

pelourinho touristy

But with the help of about half of the employees at the Brasilia airport, we arrived in Salvador, the capital of the Bahia State. We reached the center at midnight and were a little apprehensive about the reveler-filled streets in a brand new city (apparently a festival had just ended), but the city is far more approachable in the daylight. The Pelourinho, where we stayed, is the old center, full of churches, colonial architecture…


…and intimidating staircases. Who needs Flywheel when this is the hike to your hostel?


The rainy season is just ending in Salvador, but we still had to escape a few downpours.


Thank goodness there are plenty of cafes where we could wait out the storms. Unlike many coffee-producing countries we’ve visited, the coffee here is strong and lovely!


The remnants of the Sao Joao festival keep the streets of the Pelourinho vibrant.




Salvador was the capital of the country’s slave trade, so African influences permeate the city’s culture. Its African roots are obvious in its cultural houses, its music and dance performances (like capoiera, an incredible dance-inspired style of defense), …


… and its food. Here, Alex samples acaraje, a delicious shrimp-filled fritter.


Brazil’s food–whether in Bahia or elsewhere–really sets it apart from other Latin American travel experiences. Forget the basic meat, rice, and beans of the comedor. Here, prepare for buffets stocked with stuffed eggplants, lentils with veggies, quiche, pumpkin, guacamole, beet salad, and perfectly cooked fish, chicken, or beef.


This particular spread was featured at Renne, a pay-by-the-kilo spot near the Igreja de São Francisco. They also whip up fresh passionfruit juice to complement your meal.


Perfect spot by the window!

Salvador is home to many, many churches (igrejas).

ig saofrancisco1

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ig sao francisco sign

Ok, I won’t play in the objects, but…

ig saofrancisco bdy parts

… it was hard to resist further inspecting this cabinet of limbs.


ig saofranciscotomb

Tombs are a significant feature of churches here.

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Salvador will be a host city for the 2014 World Cup, and despite discontent over the excessive stadium-building, FIFA can count on plenty of Brazilian fans who will brave a rainstorm to watch a match.



  1. Nice to see you guys still moving about the planet, taking great pics and adding a great writeup. I was in SE asia and Japan for a few months the past year and am heading up to Northern Canada in a few weeks. We met in Vic Falls at the hostel…back in 2010.

    Bruce Murphy

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