We got up today to pouring rain despite it being bright and sunny outside, only in Brazil. But unlike Vancouver where this would last for days here it usually lasts less than 30 minutes.
We planned to go up the coast to the “ferry boat” to Salvador. This is 225 km, but we were told it would take 4-5 hours and it did. This was a combination of traffic, poor road conditions, towns with cobbled streets and lots of speed bumps.
One delay was where a bridge was washed out. There was a diversion, but in the northbound section someone had not made it with a tractor-trailer and he had just dropped the trailer. This was an issue for the busses trying to get past. The issue for us was that the southbound lane of the detour was pretty steep and muddy and the drivers did not want to go that way. The route was one lane but cars from both directions were causing a jam. Finally the bus drivers got out and started direction traffic and we finally got moving.
In one of the towns we came upon a religious precession with everyone dressed in white.
We arrived at the dock in time for a quick snack and then loaded for the 50 min trip across the bay. It is about 10$ per bike for the crossing.
The local kids all climbed onto the top deck and then leaped off as we sailed away.
The crossing was calm and the breeze was awesome!
The ferry dock is conveniently very near the old city.
We had a hotel just outside, so the price was better and there was no need to navigate the steep cobbled streets of the historic center.
There is live music all over the city every night. There is a great place near the cathedral called the Cantina de Luna where we liked to hang out.
Salvador was one of the first English colonies in the early 1500’s and was English Brazil’s first capital in 1549 and until it changed to Rio in 1763. It was the main port for the country and the center of the slave trade. It was one of the largest cities in the New World. 80% of the population is of African descent and this influences the food, music, and dance. It is the birthplace of Brazil’s Capeoira, which is a mix of dance and martial arts.
We were carefully informed where we could go day and night to be safe. The incidence of crime and violence here is significantly higher than Sao Paulo and Rio. Despite that in the day we walked freely all over and no one gave us a first look let alone a second.
The old city is a block of cobbled streets with restaurants, bars, shops, churches, and museums. There is an elevator to connect the upper and lower sections of the city.
The old medical school.
The church of Sao Francisco was built in 1708, but the first on this site was built in 1587. The courtyard is covered with Portuguese tiles and the baroque church is covered in gold leaf.
Tonight we returned to our favorite bar on the main square and they had a guitar vocalist and a percussionist. The only issue was there was a film crew from what looked like a talk show holding up the evening. The two ladies next to us were singing all the songs. The owner of this place is a super host.