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Brazil

Caipirinha

#WorldCup2014: Who baptized the Caipirinha?

By | Brazil | 2 Comments

As most people know, Caipirinha is a Brasilian drink based on Brazil’s most distilled alcoholic beverage, cachaça, which is made from sugar cane. But have you ever wondered, why it is called Caipirinha?

When I traveled Brazil, I was told, that Caipiras are the people from the countryside of Brasil. Caipirinha is a diminutive version of it with a slightly negative tone to it, like the American “hillbilly”.

There are different stories to it’s origin. The two most common are the following:

Some pople believe it really was invented by the Caipiras, who tried to drain their everyday pain from working in the sugar cane fields with what they found – sugar, it’s distilled version (cachaça) and … lime from the trees which you find everywhere.

Others say it was invented in Paraty, a tiny and beautiful tourist attraction, 250 km south of Rio de Janeiro. It’s chronicle says, that in 1856, when cholera and flu threatened the people living there, people were no longer allowed to drink the water from the river. That’s when they started to drink cachaça, mixing it with a bit of water, sugar and lime. The chronicle says, that it did serve it’s purpose…

So whichever story is right, it must be true, that there is a medical effect of healing the body or soul :-).

Todays Brazilian Flag

#WorldCup2014: Major day shown in flag of Brazil

By | Brazil | No Comments

There is a fascinating story behind nearly every flag. Yet, the story behind the Brazilian flag is amongst the most surprising. You might think, the green is… because there is so much jungle in the country and yellow, because of the sun … and maybe the stars represent each state – like the US flag. Well, not very close…

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Pantanal - Lake at Sunset

#WorldCup2014: Pantanal – natural beauty

By | Brazil | 2 Comments

Before traveling Brazil, I had actually never heard about Pantanal. It is one of the world’s largest wetland areas situated in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul in the west of the country, extending into Mato Grosso, Paraguay and Bolivia.

We did not really have an idea what to expect – especially since we traveled the area in the dry season. We booked a room in a fazenda (farm house) and stayed there for 4 nights. Pantanal is a pure experience of both, adventurous and calm nature. Tucans woke us up in the mornings, we went Piranha fishing, fed crocodiles in the wild, saw rare blue parrots and many more animals. Not only did we go on adventurous “tourist trips”, we also went horse back riding with some cowboys to experience their daily work with the cow herds. It such a different life from back home and I was more than happy to do get off the horse after a three hour trip. I was not only scared of my horse, but also of the cattles, that we were riding through while they were staring at me with their frightening horns.

While we were staying in the southern Pantanal near Miranda, the “Arena Pantanal” is situated 800km north in Cuiaba in the geographical center of South America. Constructions were finished in 2014 and will host 4 matches during the FIFA World Cup 2014 providing space for 45.968 people.

Rio - Hotel Miramar looking towards Sugarloaf Mountain

#WorldCup2014: Rio – dangerous, diverse and amazing views

By | Brazil | 4 Comments

Rio is a crazy metropol. Full of contrasts. Extraodinary beautiful and extremely scary. We started our Brazil trip in Rio and decided to spoil ourselves with a great hotel after an exhausting flight and to be safe.

So we booked a hotel room in the amazing Hotel Miramar, which I can highly recommend to anyone planning to see the area. The beds were one of the most comfy beds I ever slept in and overlooking Copacabana from the pool on the roof top was breathtaking. It might actually be the same Hotel, which the German broadcasting companies ARD and ZDF chose to present their daily moderation and analysis after every world cup match. (Booking.com usually has some great offers).

Even from the rooftop bar you can see the vast contrasts of the city, which are the main reason for its danger. Looking at on the on side of the roof top you can see Copacabana, looking to the opposite direction, you see a huge favela. At first, I did not realize what I saw, since I did not picture a favela that huge, illuminated and close to a 5 start hotel. But that is exactly, what Rio is about. There are many favelas in the city causing drug and kid gangs walk through the streets of Rio and Copacabana at night and daytime. We learned to leave money, camera and even our bags at out Hotel room and to never pay someone in the streets. You will find great restaurants and bars downtown and you will feel super safe, forgetting that weapons are involved in most robberies. So if you travel Rio, take some time to get to know the place, keep your eyes open and start going out at night, once you know the area.

Copacabana is the most famous beach and I have never seen a beach where there are more people playing any kind of sports. People are crazy for sports. They run along the beach during midday heat, play soccer or beach volleyball everywhere in larger groups.

The view from the Corcovado hill (Christ the Redeemer) north west of Copacabana and Sugarloaf Mountain north east of Copacabana is amazing. We were quite unfortunate with clouds covering the sky. But as soon as there was a little gap between them, we where overwhelmed by the views over the costal area of this giant city.

Did you know the name Rio de Janeiro is actually a mistake. When the Portuguese arrived at the harbor of the Guanabara Bay in January, they thought, it was the end of a river and named it “River of January” – in Portuguese: Rio de Janeiro.

Caiman’s dinner time…

By | Brazil | 4 Comments

A scary fellow I met in Pantanal, Brazil. He jumped out of the water right next to our boat to catch a Piranha our guide had on his fishing rod. One of those moments, when you feel the power of nature…

Aras Bonito

Exotic and free lifetime-couples

By | Brazil | 5 Comments

Isn’t it funny, that is a special thing if a species stays together for a lifetime? It seems as if humans and animals are becoming more alike in this aspect in recent years…. Macaws, which belong to the parrot family mate for life. Not only would they breed with their partner, but also share food with their mate and enjoy mutual grooming. I love this picture as it shows a couple of colorful Macaws flying together freely and independently through a crater in Bonito, Brazil, during midday heat. Such an adorable feeling.

Iguazu Falls at Argentinian boarder

Why do waterfalls never run out of water?

By | Argentina, Brazil | 4 Comments

The Iguazu Falls at the boarder of Argentina and Brazil are such an overwhelming natural spectacle, that I had to look up everything in the internet to somehow understand, what on earth is happening there.

The Iguazu River and the Paraná River confluence to an enormous river before 1,756 m3 water per second crash down the edge of 2700 m  of the Paraná Plateau in 275 falls of 60 to 85 m hight. At the U-shaped edge of 150 m – the  “Garganta del Diabolo” (engl. devil’s throat) – half of the river’s flow drops down. Standing at this edge, it is unimaginable, that these masses of water never ever stop running down this edge. The power and speed of the water is like a meditation. A natural spectacle which disables your brain to think about anything else, but what you see and here in this very moment. Looking at this masses of water running down the edge, it is hard to just know, that – unless the source of the river dries – the waterfalls will never run out of water. It’s just such masses of water per second, that you cannot picture, these falls have been running for hundreds of years and probably will be four another couple of hundreds. It is one of the times when reality is beyond imagination.

If you ever plan to visit this place, I can highly recommend to spoil yourself with a stay at one of the beautiful apartments of the Jungle Lodge in Puerto Iguazú.

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Walt Disney in the wild

By | Brazil | No Comments

Traveling Brazil I saw toucans for the first time in the wild. It’s fascinating and wired as it seem as if they just escaped from a Walt Disney cartoon into reality. They make a funny noise which makes it easier to spot them and have a gentle and unique style of flying or rather gliding through the air.

The romantic admiration got smashed the second I saw this “lovely” bird attacking another bird in flight. I guess I forgot, that they were not equipped with this bill for no reason…