Thursday December 5, 2013
Embratur president Flávio Dino and Nadia Panis. Tânia Rêgo/Agência Brasil. View full-size
Brazil commemorated a record 6 million visitors in 2013 with a party for Nadia Panis, a tourist from Argentina who arrived at Tom Jobim International Airport (Galeão) in Rio de Janeiro this morning aboard TAM flight JJ8003, from Buenos Aires. She was greeted by representatives of Embratur, Brazil's official tourism institute, and local tourism officials with a jingle created specially for the occasion, big screens showing her reception, brigadeiros and a big gift - a trip to Búzios.
Reaching 6 million international visitors in a year is a milestone which has broken a 5-million mark Brazil first reached in 2005.
"Despite international crises, Brazil is establishing itself as as a touristic destination in the eyes of the world," said Embratur president Flávio Dino. "We hope to reach 10 million international tourists in 2020, but with great events such as the World Cup, our expectation is to reach that number in 2017."
Nadia Panis is visiting Rio on vacation with a group of friends. Argentina leads the ranking of international visitors in Brazil, with 1,671,604 tourists in 2012 (29.4% of the total), followed by the US, with 586,463 visitors (10.3%) in 2012, according to Brazil's Ministry of Tourism.
Tuesday December 3, 2013
Porto de Galinhas, a district of Ipojuca located about 40 miles south of central Recife, is one of the top beach destinations near the capital of Pernambuco. High-end Village Porto de Galinhas, on Praia do Cupe, is unfolding a series of special events this month which show why culinary and entertainment are among its strongest suits.
This week, the toes-in-the-sand hotel is hosting the Village Wine & Gourmet Week, featuring wine tasting (60 labels!) and pairing with the culinary of Spain, Italy, Portugal and Spain in theme dinners, plus lectures and workshops, cocktails, wine- and culinary-themed movies and musical performances. A sure-handed ensemble of chefs - Brazilian Leandro Ricardo, from Pernambuco, and Italian Augusto Piras, from S. Paulo; boulangers - Eda Tavares and Mariane Bagodi, from S. Paulo; and performers such as Spanish musician Fernando Arroyo and flamenco dancers are making the event happen, hopefully one of many more to come.
Kids are in for a treat with Recife-based Circo da Trindade, setting up tent at the hotel from Dec. 19 to 22 and 26 to 29 as a sequence to a partnership started in 2012. There's more family time with Natal Village Porto de Galinhas, Christmas packages with promotional prices for families with young kids, a visit from Santa, live music by the pool and Christmas dinner included.
Then there's Réveillon Canarinho, the New Year's Eve party with dinner, a show with Gustavo Travassos, official singer for Galo da Madrugada parades, and his band, and Banda Britannia Project and DJs till sunrise.
For more information, call 55-81-3552-2945 / 55-81-3552-4222 / 55-81-3552-4200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recife, Host City in 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil
Photo courtesy of Village Porto de Galinhas
Saturday November 30, 2013
The lighting celebration of the Bradesco Christmas Tree at Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, in Rio de Janeiro, is starting at 8 p.m. at the Cantagalo Park, and it will be shown live online ("ao vivo") on the official website (www.arvorenatalbradescoseguros.com.br).
Rio's most famous Christmas season symbol is, according to Bradesco, the world's largest floating Christmas tree. In its 18th edition, this year the 85-meter tall, 542-ton tree has the theme "A Celebration of Life", with decorations revolving around Water, Air, Forests and Humans - there will be dolphins, birds, butterflies, tamarins and many other related elements . The lighting festival is a musical inspired in Charles Dickens and Chris Van Allsburg.
As of tomorrow, the tree will be lit daily until January 6 from Monday to Thursday from dusk to 2 a.m. and from Friday to Sunday from dusk to 3 a.m.
Saturday November 30, 2013
World travelers with an eye on Brazil as it gets ready for 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil will hear more and more about Grande Tijuca from now on. This region on the southern end of Rio's North Side (Zona Norte) comprises several districts - Tijuca, Alto da Boa Vista (with the gate to Tijuca Forest), Grajaú, Praça da Bandeira, Vila Isabel, Andaraí (where I spent my childhood) and, most importantly for the soccer traveler, Maracanã, the neighborhood around the Maracanã Stadium.
There are lots of great places to eat in Tijuca, some of them with a lot of history, which is why I'm kicking off a series on the area's attractions with Bar Varnhagen, opened in 1944 and which happens to be located just half a mile from the arena. Last time I was in Tijuca, I had no time to stop by, so I asked them for recent photos to help show what an authentic, laid-back Tijuca botequim is all about.
The bar is at Varnhagen Square, currently under construction as it's the site for one of the deep detention reservoirs (informally known as piscinões, or big pools) that are part of a broader project for the prevention of flash floods in the Mangrove Canal Basin (you may remember how the stadium, then under reconstruction, was flooded last March after a storm). But that's not stopping customers from enjoying this corner with large trees.
Pet birds in cages, if not a unanimous crowd-pleaser, are part of the local culture as well; in the past, the bar became informally known as Bar dos Passarinhos for being a meeting point for pet bird owners.
Inside, the shelf in baby blue, the counters and wall tiles in lavender and white say this is an old botequim.
Note the Portugal flag: until not long ago, the Portuguese owner of the Varnhagen, Dona Natalina, was still cooking her famous codfish appetizers and chatting with the customers. Sadly, she passed away last September, but her family continues the culinary she and husband Alberto had going for many years, which includes bacalhau à Portuguesa, a codfish special.
More food: fried pork chops - here, with a cerveja gelada, or an icy cold beer.
The octopus rice and broccoli.
With many thanks to Cidália, Toninho and Andréa. All photos courtesy of Andréa Mendes for Bar Varnhagen.