There is no escaping the cliché… Olinda is really beautiful! The former capital of the state of Pernambuco, in northeastern Brazil, has the gift of arousing passions. To begin with, the city was strategically built between the sea and the mountains in 1535. A combination that has everything to please. It has the green of the forest, surrounded by the blue of the sea and hillsides studded with colorful little houses steeped in history. So much so that it received the title of Cultural Patrimony of Humanity by Unesco. Besides, Olinda has a carnival full of personality. The revelers have fun alongside the traditional giant dolls. Olinda is party. Olinda is history.
Explore the city without haste. There is a lot to see and experience. The Upper City is a good starting point. It is full of churches, museums, handcraft stores and restaurants. Go to the Museu de Arte Sacra,, the Casa dos Bonecos Gigantes, the Convento de São Francisco with its original Portuguese tiles, the Igreja da Sé, the Igreja da Conceição, the Igreja da Misericórdia. When you get tired, sit at the lookout to see the city from above, with Recife in the distance. Slowly go down the slopes until you reach the beautiful São Bento Monastery with its gold main altar. Inquire about the times of the masses with Gregorian chant.
Another interesting museum is Mamulengo. It tells the story of the artisans who used the technique of “soft hands” (hence the name) to move the iconic puppets of Pernambuco. Also visit the Sobrado Mourisco, at João Alfredo square, where D. Pedro II and his wife Teresa Cristina used to stay. And speaking of these important figures in our history, you must try the Souza Leão Cake. This cake was served to Emperor Pedro II when he visited the Baron of Souza Leão. The host wanted to welcome him with a Portuguese delicacy. Since the original ingredients were not available, the slave adapted the recipe and the result was wonderful. The recipe is now considered Intangible Cultural Heritage of Pernambuco. Want to know the best place to try this cake in Olinda? It is the Ateliê Arte & Machê Café in front of the São Bento Monastery. And speaking of gastronomy, it is worth mentioning the restaurants Beijupirá, Patuá, and Oficina do Sabor.
To stay in a well-located historical house, I recommend the Pousada do Amparo. The mansion is very charming. It has only 7 accommodations and great hospitality. But don’t expect too much luxury. This is not Olinda’s forte. History, music and art, yes. Olinda has that to spare.
I wish you all a week as colorful as Olinda.
XoXo and see you next week.