The next day we packed up the car and began our trek to Sao Paolo, it would take us two days with around 6 hours of driving each day with a stop in Londrina. The day we left was sunny and beautiful, wish we had more of that weather in Iguacu and we would likely have gone to the Argentinean side of the falls but we got some amazing views either way. In Londrina we had a quick stay, had dinner at restaurant/bar kind of place that had a play area for the kids… perfect. We all got a good night sleep in anticipation for the 11 largest city in the world with over 20 million people in its metro area!! The next day was a easy drive until we got close to the city and all the traffic; it was chaos driving through the city, lots of one way streets, crazy big buses and trucks.
The city didn’t have spectacular beauty or a scenic water front but it was alive with activity even with the Brazilian economy in a deep recession. We arrived on Saturday night and once we were settled into our two rooms of a smaller hostel type establishment called Residenza Mantovani we split up and headed to dinner. Mira, Caroline and I set out for Sushi and Maddy and Julie got Lebanese food. It was Saturday night and we could hear cheers go up in the streets when someone scored in the local football match. After dinner I found a father and son watching a game in our Residenza and sat down and watched with them. I was able to ask questions about the leagues and they were excited to talk with someone from the U.S. The culture really revolves around soccer at least as much or more and Wisconsin revolves around American Football.
The next day was our only full day in Sao Paolo so we walked to Parque Ibirapuera, a beautiful park near the Jardin neighborhood. On our way we stumbled onto a local food market and got some oranges, dates, figs and apples. The people were so nice they gave us lots of samples.
Once we got to the park we found a playground for the kids and walked around some of the beautiful lakes and bridges.
There were a ton of people out for a Sunday walk or bike or whatever. After enjoying the park we took a taxi ride to the city center and visited the Catedral Metropolitana de Sao Paolo.
It was a beautiful church and quite huge, they were feeding homeless people when we arrived and everyone was very cheerful to get something to eat. We were feeling hungry ourselves and found a small restaurant and ate some empanadas and other types of quick food. After walking around town everybody was tired so we relaxed back at our rooms. Being in the city and all the hustle and bustle it is hard to take a minute and breathe, we were definitely feeling stressed so we changed our plans and booked a week on the beach near Angra dos Reis a beach town on the way to Rio. The next morning we packed up and completed some errands in the big city including the purchase of a beach umbrella and two chairs and headed to the beach.