Salvador da Bahia Travel Blog› entry 93 of 107 › view all entries
KERRY - So our first thoughts of Salvador were that it was a little bit dingy and scary looking after arriving from Belo Horizonte on a bus journey of 24 hrs! We arrived at our hostel which looked a lot nicer on the website than in reality! The room was very simple, clean, but pretty dingy and you could not see out of the window as it was covered by a plastic sheet. There were also signs everywhere about valuables and how you should be very careful with them here and not go out in the evenings with anything valuable! Needless to say i was wondering what kind of city we had arrived in, and whether all the backpackers we had met on route had been lying about Salvador being an amazing place.
The next day however in the sunshine and heat of the day, the city looked a lot more inviting and pretty. We were staying in the Pelorinho district in the old part of the city, which was closed off to cars and other vehicles leaving tourists free to roam the cobbled streets to investigate the many churches and colonial buildings that made up this part of the city. This area of Salvador had lots of caracter and was nice to spend time in wandering up and down the streets. In the evenings we were treated to some great live music from various bands in restaurants, playing samba and bossa nova music, while the locals danced along. As well as this, Salvador is the home of Capoeira and we witnessed a few shows on the streets as we wandered around which were pretty mesmerising.
There is a huge african influence in this area of Brazil as this was the main point of the slave trade in years gone by. We went on a tour one evening to a traditional African Candomble ceremony , where we watched someone be baptised. The evening was interesting, but very very long, and consisted of men and women dressed in white dancing round the room to the beat of the drums. I was pretty lost by a lot of what went on to be honest, and our guide did not explain a lot of the actions to us. It was a bizarre evening, especially when other locals in the crowd became entranced and joined in the ceremony!
We also visited the richer area of Salvador called Barra where we visted the fort and lighthouse, which had a really intersting museum with actual descriptions in English, as well as the island off of Salvador called Itaparica where we spent the day soaking up the suns rays on the beach.
Overall I would recommend Salvador as a place to visit, but be prepared for it to be a bit rough around the edges and also very touristy.