Oh Salvador, the African heart of Brazil, full of tradition, life and fun! Here's an idea of what we got up to during our time backpacking there.
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I arrived to Salvador, excited, I heard good things, and I couldn’t wait to explore. We had three nights here and therefore plenty of time to explore. I was a little apprehensive about the weather and my diabetes...I know the further up the coast we go..the warmer it will be, and as a type 1 diabetic..that poses more complications with keeping insulin cool (even Frio only holds a certain temperature), and keeping hypos at bay with all the sweating (I am painting a wonderful image of myself right?)- but I am happy to announce both me and my insulin survived Salvador.
Where did we stay?
We stayed at a simple hostel called Oh
Meu Rei- it was basic, but the staff were wonderful- we had a double
room within a hostel, and the hostel had a kitchen (fridge included to store
insulin) and living room with Netflix (in the end this didn’t work).
wise- I always start out a little wary, I don’t mind unclean conditions- I know
that the whole world doesn’t come with high standard cleanliness, but I don’t
like basic unsanitary places- this was borderline bad in this department for
me...but Bradley actually had a great chat with the lady who runs it, and she
explained that when she first bought it, it was terrible, and that financially
things have been a bit of a challenge for hostels in Salvador.
But she was
doing reasonably well even so, and was hoping to open more hostels elsewhere in
the future! She described her hostel as a family- and that’s what it was, great
breakfast, great coffee and a fantastic location in the “historic centre”.
So what did I love about Salvador?
Upon reading up on Salvador, the blogs, and books said that
if there is one place in Brazil you are going to get mugged..then this was the
place, I am happy to say no such thing happened to us, and actually, Salvador
is the safest I have felt in a location so far...probably because they have
tourist police everywhere so you’re never short of help. They also have a
fantastic tourist centre that speaks all kinds of languages including English.
They have great maps of the city, outlining the streets to stick to, and a
great variety of things to do!
1) Barra beach
This is one of many beaches in
Salvador- but it’s the one that has a big beautiful lighthouse- I actually
really enjoy lighthouses- I don’t really know where the fascination comes from,
but it’s there! We took a bus-now there are 3 levels of buses;
local has basic fare of R$3.80
local one with air conditioning, which is like R$4
The one that is
currently been made for tourists that look brand new and have Wi-Fi and air
conditioning for R$5
Either way pick one with air conditioning..believe me,
you are going to need it. P.s. - we used both the local and tourist on our travels-
whichever one came first!....that’s the thing with Brazil..nothing runs on a
timetable....everything is a waiting game..from the checkouts of a supermarket,
to the buses.
After a nosey at the lighthouse and a few pics at the
“Salvador” tourist sign..we went for a walk and I enjoyed my first ever
coconut! It was nice... but sickly..and like most stuff in Brazil..warm.
We enjoyed some time on the actual beach...when in Brazil,
you always have to haggle for your beach chairs & umbrellas (if you want
them)- as a rule, (information provided by locals) do not go beyond R$5 for a
chair, so we didn’t. I enjoyed our beach day, Brad and I enjoyed some cheese on a stick-
melted cheese, it’s really the world’s perfect snack for a diabetic...no insulin
It was extremely windy to begin with and I clearly miscalculated my
sunscreen ratio, because I got burnt pretty much everywhere on show- even my
feet- and ironically doing a “looking after your feet" post for type 1
diabetics- I wasn’t exactly the best role model- but it was only a little bit
of my feet- and I do blame the wind for making me think it was cold- I had goose
bumps! I was in pain for a good week after...but aloe vera saved me. Lesson
2) Discover the Historic Centre & market
you like museums then you will like Salvador, it has lots! Some free, some not-
you have to decide yourself what’s worth paying for. We are on a tight budget
so skipped these. There are some wonderful buildings to look at, and the city
centre is filled with African- Caribbean music- groups on the street creating a
wonderful atmosphere to just watch and dance along to! It transports you into
Did you know, Michael Jackson filmed his hit song “They don’t
really care about us” in this very square with the very people you will see playing
music! This excited the crap out of me, because I love Michael and I actually
got to stand somewhere he has stood-and that was really special to me.
market is good to pick up souvenirs- I would have got lots if we had room to
carry them, but I did pick up my second shot glass! To get to the market take
the “famous “elevator, it costs 15cent..and then you’ve saved yourself a long
3) Hot dogs
Yes..we were told before we went to
Salvador, that they did the best hot dogs in Brazil- and I can confirm they are
decent...and CHEAP- you get them for as low as 25p...result! And they usually
come with your choice of peas, sweetcorn, tomato sauce, mayo, cheese, &
crisps- so great value for the price! These became a staple feature of our diet
in Salvador, and didn’t upset our tummies! Win Win!
4) The touristic centre
As I would call it..this
is just in the historic centre, but there is a little square that has a variety
of cafe which I am sure do lovely food (out of my price range) but there is
live music, and you can sit and enjoy a drink in a buy one get one free offer!
Which is worth the atmosphere alone.
Our overall experience of Salvador
All in all- I enjoyed Salvador- we had one minor mishap on
the evening we were leaving to catch our bus. We had stored our bags at the
hostel behind the desk as required, and when we came back someone had mistaken
Bradley's bag for their own...a Colombian guy currently at a bus station about
to board a bus to god knows where!
Thankfully he felt a little cold and went to
look for a jumper and soon realised he had the wrong rucksack...so hoped in a
taxi back to the hostel where Bradley and I are freaking out worried we won’t
make it to the bus-but all turned out okay- the boy arrived, and we shared an Uber
back to the bus station!
The owner of the hostel felt so bad about the bag mix-up
that she paid for our share of the Uber which was extremely nice of her- and
honestly another great representation of just how friendly and accommodating
the Brazilians are.
Uber in Salvador
On a further Uber note...USE UBER. Uber is increasingly
available worldwide- and in Brazil- we have so far used it in Rio, Salvador
& Recife- planning on using it in Argentina, Chile, Bolivia & Colombia
too! It’s cheaper, safer and the cars are better quality- also the people are
just super friendly and it’s perfect way to practice your Portuguese skills.
Also you can use a sign up offer in Salvador to get your first R$20 journey
Overall, I enjoyed Salvador, after Rio is was the next
favourite place I have visited. I have one more thing I need to do in Brazil
then I am ready and happy to move on...and that’s..the vast & amazing
Amazon Rainforest- something that has been on my bucket list since geography
lessons at the age of 13 watching David Attenborough shows!
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As the type 1 diabetic half of Dream Big, Travel Far, I'm passionate about encouraging fellow type 1's to travel the world and not let their diabetes hold them back. I'm proud to now be a full-time digital nomad. Meaning I live my life working and travelling all over the world and am here to help you achieve your dreams as well in any way I can.
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