Sao Luis and Alcantara

Sao Luis Travel Blog

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Street in the historic centre of Sao Luis.

12 September:
Today´s 4 hour bus trip to Sao Luis seemed to take forever, really dragged on, but the bus was comfortable and air-conditioned, so not too bad.  The pousada we´re staying in is very nice, right in the historic centre, and the aircon is superb!  We wandered around with Jose for a bit, trying to find a place that would cash travellers cheques for HJ - big problem here, very few places do it, so cash and cards are the best bet.  Had lunch at a per kilo, then after anothe stroll around the old town, went out to dinner with the whole group.  Had a lovely evening, just chatting away.  Tried a local fish soup (well, Melissa did, not a good idea for Noel) and not too bad.

Even the traffic lights are tiled in Sao Luis.
  As for drinks here, unless you drink beer, caipirinha or rum, there is very little - no pina coladas for Melissa!!  Friday night in this town is heaving, there were people everywhere, at times felt a little unsafe because had to push through crowds just to get along the street.

13 September:
Had a most enjoyable day today, took a ferry across to the island of Alcantara, about 1 1/2 hours away.  Crossing over was pretty rough, but our stomachs held intact!  We were lucky to get the boat, because although we were told it leaves at 9.30, it actually left at 9.10 because of low tide - they bus you around to another beach at 9.10, so if you miss that, you miss the boat.

Further example of lovely tiled buildings in Sao Luis.
 
First stop off the boat (after a cold coconut) was at the Fonte das Pedras, just up the hill.  It is an 18th century water fountain that still works today - very simple, but historical.  On the other side of the main street is the small church of NS Do Desterro, with 2 bells hanging on their own stand outside, overlooking the bay.  From here we walked through the historica centre to see the ruins of the Matriz do Sao Matias.  In front of the church is the pelourinho, or slave whipping post, believed to be the oldest in Brazil and still in its original position.  It was a bit tricky to find the way into the square, because it´s been surrounded by hoardings (they´re renovating the gardens), but managed to find the door eventually.  from here walked past a few more ruins up to the ruin of the Franciscan church - the main part remaining is the stone door frame with crossed arms and cross symbol of the order.
Tiled colonial buildings in Sao Luis.
  Just up the street is the church and ruined convent of NS DO Carmo - the church has been restored recently, and is a fine example of a simple but impressive church - not overdone or overpowering.  We walked into the upstairs area to look at the convent ruins, and set off an alarm, but the old guy on the door didn´t even hear it go off, so we were OK.  Lots of the colonial buildings in the town have tiled fronts, and saw many fine examples in various different patterns - Noel reckons this place is like Colonia in Uruguay, but less tourist-fied!!  Things are still in a relatively original state, and the renovations that have been done are not too obvious.  Next to the convent ruins are the ruins of the first emperor´s palace - would have been quite impressive originally.
The ferry across to Alcantara, at low tide you have to get on up a ramp from the beach.

After a refreshing beer, continued up the main street to the Aerospace Information Centre - Brazil´s space programme is based a few kilometres up the road, used mainly for launching experimental rockets and satellites.  Last main stop was the Historic and Artistic Museum of Alcantara - in the old home of a local personality, and filled with homewares, religious items and even prison doors!  The well in the back yard is 15 metres deep and hanging next to the bakery overn is a collection of old branding irons - used not only the animals but also the slaves.  Had lunch at a lovely little restaurant overlooking the bayt in the Praca Destero - delicious and reasonable compared to the other island restaurants.  More than we could eat, which is unusual.  Got the boat back to Sao Luis at 4pm, and after a quick shower and change, headed out for another enjoyable meal with the group.

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Street in the historic centre of S…
Street in the historic centre of …
Even the traffic lights are tiled …
Even the traffic lights are tiled…
Further example of lovely tiled bu…
Further example of lovely tiled b…
Tiled colonial buildings in Sao Lu…
Tiled colonial buildings in Sao L…
The ferry across to Alcantara, at …
The ferry across to Alcantara, at…
One of the fabled red herons of Al…
One of the fabled red herons of A…
Church bells overlooking the bay a…
Church bells overlooking the bay …
Street in the historic centre of A…
Street in the historic centre of …
Noel and his rockets at the space …
Noel and his rockets at the space…
Collection of branding irons in Al…
Collection of branding irons in A…
The slave whipping post in 
Alcan…
The slave whipping post in Alca…
Ruins in Alcantara.
Ruins in Alcantara.
Building facade tiles in Alcantara.
Building facade tiles in Alcantara.
Convent ruins in Alcantara.
Convent ruins in Alcantara.
Council elections in October, thes…
Council elections in October, the…
The car version of the mobile camp…
The car version of the mobile cam…
Sao Luis
photo by: razorriome