While some of my classmates have been traveling around Brazil and South America before the beginning of the trip, it was the first time for all of us in São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city and the second largest metropolis in the world.
On this Sunday afternoon we took a tour around the city. Our first stop was at the Mercado Municipal, (known as Mercadão) a foodie’s dream!
São Paulo is known for its gastronomic scene and regarded as having the best food in the country and one of the best in Latin America. To test this claim, we tried local favorites like açai juice, cod pastries, caipirinhas, and the famous mortadella sandwich at Hocca Bar. I had no idea I liked mortadella until I tried this decadent sandwich!
São Paulo is also known for its art and culture, being the home for the best museums in Brazil and host to a vibrant and diverse theater and entertainment scene.
The great number of immigrants that have settled in the city contribute to the creative scene that makes São Paulo the cultural center of Brazil. They have also contributed to the population density of the city, making São Paulo one of the most populated metropolis in the world, which we experienced waiting in heavy traffic during rush hours.
Our second stop was at the heart of old downtown São Paulo at the Praça de Sé. It is lined by tropical fig and palm trees and it is home to the Catedral Metropolitana.
The cathedral was built between 1912-1954 by Maximiliano Hell, but was fully completed in 2002. We were able to walk around the cathedral which in the midst of Sunday lent mass. We then walked around the area. This downtown area is also home to the BM&F Bovespa, Brazil’s exchange which is the 8th largest stock exchange in the world.
The final stop of our tour was at the Monumento ás Bandeiras, at the Parque do Ibirapuera which is the largest green space in São Paulo. The monument is a tribute to the explorers or bandeirantes who opened up Brazil’s interior.
We ended the night with a fantastic four course dinner at A Figueira Rubaiyat, the best restaurant in São Paulo, located in the posh Jardins neighborhood. Completely full and satisfied we had an early night as we settled in and prepared for an early morning departure.
Cristina Benitez ’12