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I guess it was a good idea to have the first stops of our long journey in Tenerife and Brazil, so we could see our families and friends, as well as enjoy some time in our beautiful hometowns.
Tenerife has become very special to me over the past few years. With our Tenerife Travel Secrets website, we got to explore the beauties of this fantastic island in detail, so every time we go there Ruth relives some great memories and I get to learn more and more.
Now we have left the island and flown to Curitiba, the capital of my state (Parana) in Brazil and where I grew up.
Curitiba is known as the green capital of Brazil. Although the number of inhabitants has risen exponentially over the past few decades (these days there are about 2 million people living there), there are lots of local and state natural parks in and around the city.
Barigüi for instance is the one I really enjoy visiting every time I go there. That’s the place where my family used to spend our Sunday afternoons – playing ball, walking, cycling, having a cup of sugar cane drink (one of my favorites), meeting friends, and so on. For me it is therefore almost a routine to come to Brazil and go there for a few hours. At sunny weekends this is a very busy place, but still, being surrounded by nature it is the perfect spot for me.
There are other parks that are worth a visit, such as Tangua and Tingui, all of which have their own unique features.
One of the favorite places for tourists is the Botanical Garden. Indeed, the place is beautiful, and even more so at night. It is a great place to enjoy flowers and plants and to learn a bit about them. It has lots of species and it features a greenhouse with species from across the country.
But even being a special place, Curitiba has one drawback: its weather … Sometimes it can rain for days. I don’t mind cold weather (although, just like Ruth, I prefer warm places), and Curitiba can be very sunny and warm during spring and summer, but when it rains, it rains … This time the weather was in our favor and peaked at 33 degrees, so we can’t complain.
Another thing that has become very common for us over the past few years is to go to the Italian neighborhood of Santa Felicidade. This is a very traditional place in Curitiba and where you can find many Italian families who helped to build the city (along with Ukranian, German, Polish and Japanese families, among others). Being an Italian stronghold, one thing that is not missing is the Italian food. The restaurants there are simply great. For instance, the biggest restaurant in the Americas is located there, Restaurante Madalosso. Right in front of it, there is another one run by the same family called Restaurante Velho Madalosso, much smaller, but which I consider one of the best in the city. Don’t miss Sunday evenings, when you can enjoy great food as well as live Italian music from the beautiful voices of the couple Paulo and Marcia, our good friends and very respected singers, who also play gigs outside of Brazil.
Talking about immigrant families, a beautiful inheritance of the city is Praça do Japão (Japanese Square), where you can appreciate Japanese gardens, a nice temple and learn a bit more about Japanese culture.
Also due to the rather unstable weather, Curitiba has many great shopping malls where you can find local and international brands, great food courts and cinemas. This time we visited Park Shopping Barigui, one of the largest in the city, and Shopping Curitiba.
Coincidentally, Noah’s birthday was during the time we were in Curitiba and I guess he enjoyed it a lot as we decided to celebrate it for the whole weekend.
On Saturday we enjoyed delicious Feijoada, a traditional Brazilian dish, which is a kind of stew with beans and meat. It’s usually accompanied by roasted flour, broccoli, salad and other dishes, but when you go to a place that serves traditional Feijoada, be ready – you are going to eat a lot. This time we went to the Four Points Sheraton Hotel, and were joined by our friends Suzana and Claudio who brought their godson Henrique, who got to play with Noah a lot. Great food, great company, in a special place. This was just the beginning.
Noah also played with his 2 cousins and went to the cinema for the first time to watch Zootopia, during the rest of the day.
We also paid a visit to our niece Susana’s school, as her Spanish teacher wanted to meet Ruth and asked her to talk a bit to the other students about Spain . It was quite an experience.
The best thing for Noah was coming the following day though, when we went to the historic town of Morretes. This we leave for the next post …