As I head back to Brazil next week for the madness that is the FIFA World Cup I thought I’d recollect my top memories from my previous two visits to Brazil. In fact, as ever I still have a load of untold stories from Brazil, but here’s a quick top 5 memories from backpacking in Brazil and a few of my predictions for the World Cup thrown in too!
1. Foz Do Iguacu
The Iguazu Falls are inspiring. Always regarded as one of the most incredible waterfalls on the planet, they straddle the border between Brazil and Argentina. Almost everyone visits them on both sides of the border and naturally I did too, crossing into Brazil for the first time back in 2010 so I could check out both sides. I covered it before here: Foz do Iguacu.
2. The Football Musem, Sao Paulo.
I visited a few stadiums in Brazil but didn’t see a match. To make up for it I saw Sport Club do Recife training and went to the football museum in Sao Paulo. Well worth a trip when you’re in Sao Paulo.
3. Recife Beach, Recife
No visit to Brazil should really miss out a beach as the country has a very long Atlantic Ocean coastline and is world famous for beaches and babes. Brazil has some of the best beaches in the world and my first exposure was while staying with friends in Recife. By day we drank beer, swam and relaxed as Brazilians do. At night, we ate along the promenades and drank coconut juice and cocktails. My post on Recife Beach.
4. White Water Rafting, Juquitiba
Again the gushing rivers and tropical nature of Brazil’s landscape offer a load of cool activities. My favourite was the day we went white water rafting in Juquitiba, which is a countryside village area a few hours drive from Sao Paulo.
5. Dining out in Sao Paulo
I’m not a food freak on my travels (Friday’s Featured Food is more for my readers than it is for me – I like to show you what food is out there) but Sao Paulo is easily one of the best cities to eat in. Restaurants on every corner, food courts in every shopping mall and the best pizza outside of Italy. The Paulo is a monster of a city! Every day and night we tried something different, a lot of the photos of food appeared in my Monster post on Sao Paulo.
On this trip coming up (in 10 days time!) I aim to spend a few nights in the north of Brazil at Macapa and Fortaleza as well as heading to Rio de Janeiro at some point. Last time in Brazil I had no ambition to see Rio but with the World Cup on it’s the best excuse I’ll get and besides I’d love to see the Maracana stadium and Copacabana Beach.
My Mum and Dad will be meeting us out in Brazil this time so I’m super excited for that. As I count down the days to the big event, my money’s on Uruguay to win the tournament but predictably Brazil lead the market to win it. Why am I going for Uruguay? I’m biased – I’ve always loved watching Uruguay and I love the underdog, being Northern Irish myself. Uruguay have won 2 World Cups (1930, 1950) and 2 Olympic Football Golds despite housing about 3 million people only. It will be a tough ask for them to beat Brazil this time round, and by looking at the Uruguay, the two teams can only meet in the Semi Finals this time. Plus I studied Spanish in Uruguay.
Another of my outside tips is for the Ivory Coast to get far this time round. They were given very harsh groups in 2006 and 2010 and didn’t get through them. Third time lucky for them, plus Cameroon have been a team I have loved since 1990 and the days of Roger Milla so I’ll be hoping they get through the group too. As for top scorer, if Suarez gets back to fitness in time, I’ll go for him but I have a feeling it will be Cristiano Ronaldo this time. Who’s to say Portugal can’t go all the way either?
Anyway, if this is my final Brazil related post before the World Cup, enjoy the tournament everyone, I really can’t wait to get out there and soak in the atmosphere. It’s been a long time ambition and dream of mine to attend the World Cup and with life going full circle and back to Fortaleza in just under 2 weeks I’m ridiculously excited!