O... linda!

Olinda Travel Blog

 › entry 12 of 34 › view all entries
Skyline of Recife, seen from Olinda.

"O... linda" is what captain Duarte yelled when he discovered Olinda at the beginning of the 16th century. It is Portuguese for "O,... how beatiful". It is a jigsaw puzzle of steep, cobble-stone streets, colonial houses with colourful facades, an abundance of Baroc churches. It is sensual, temptating and authentic, just like a good bossa-nova.

So far for the physical things in Olinda. For some reason I have the feeling that since Olinda my trip has changed. I don`t really know what it is, but it`s like Brazil is opening up for me. In Venezuela and the Amazonas I was looking for ready-made activities to do, but you can tell, smell or feel that you cannot really visit Olinda by simply following your trotter or Lonely Planet.

I really cannot help it: a blond guy with blue eyes is quite exotic here. The attention I get is quite overwhelming,.. but not unpleasant :-) Sometimes I even think that it`s Brazil who is checking me out instead of the other way around.
I guess it must have something to do with the fact that in the mean time my Portugnol has reached the level where I can conversate with people. I don`t follow my guide anymore, I just talk to the pizza-vendor, the responsible in the Hostel, the hundreds of people selling souvenirs. And everytime I get the same response: from the moment they see that you can understand them in a way, the are willing to take their time and tell you all about Olinda, Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil. They are so proud about their region, about the Brazilian football-players, about the candomble-xango-culture,... They want to explain the social difficulties in their country and they don`t forget to ask how the situation in Europe is.  

There is a soul behind these colonial facades.

A soul that I never met in my life: the Afro-Brazilian soul. It must be the influence of close-by (1200km is close-by) Salvador, I reckon. The capoeira is just different, more intense than what I saw in Jericoacoara. You can here pounding samba-music all-over Olinda and all day long. There are these mysterious Candomble-churches, where only a few tourists have set foot in so far.

I had the luck that in the weekend I was staying in Olinda, there was the celebration of Exu (Sao Bartolomeu). The whole neighbourhood around Alto Da Se was filled with people, music, stands, capoeira-rondas,... Very cosy. We (=Taren - Zuid-Afrika, Andrew - Aussi) ended up in 2 different samba-parties. That is coooooool!!!! The pounding rithms of truly high-level percussion sections made people dancing. And you have to realize, dear reader that EVERYBODY is dancing: thick, thin, beautiful, ugly, men, women, everybody. That`s my kind of party! Hell, I even discovered that in fact the Dutch `hakken`is a form of samba-dancing. So, for me, being a die-hard hakker, it only took me a second to feel the moves.

My next plan was to go straight to Salvador, but I met this German girl Helena who convinced me to take a ticket to the island of Fernando Do Noronha. It is 500km from the Brazilian coast and is a true paradise.



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Skyline of Recife, seen from Olind…
Skyline of Recife, seen from Olin…
I really cannot help it: a blond g…
I really cannot help it: a blond …
Elections are a(nother) reason for…
Elections are a(nother) reason fo…
Samba in Olinda
Samba in Olinda (2)
photo by: Paulovic