Brazil! We made it! Our first stop in our three month trip to South America was São Paulo, Brazil. We spent two days here, learning about architecture and street art.
Before arriving in São Paulo, I had read a lot about how ‘unsafe’ the city was- however I was pleasantly surprised by how at ease I felt. Of course, it’s a big city so one should be careful of pickpockets and be vigilant, but don’t be intimidated by Brazil’s financial center.
The metro was a whole new experience in itself. I thought I had seen busy when it comes to the metro/subway. I have used this form of public transportation in London, Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul and Tokyo, but São Paulo was on a different level. They had trains arriving every minute in peak traffic and every three minutes in low peak traffic. The metro was safe, besides the doors that didn’t stop closing, even if you were caught in between (which I was fortunate enough to experience first hand).
Over our two days we were able to cover a lot of ground and this was possible due to the SP Free Walking Tours. This company was great! The guides were energetic and knowledgeable, they were able to provide us with any additional information we wanted to know about the city. We did two free walking tours with this company.
1. Old Downtown
This tour runs on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. You need to meet at the tourist information center out of República station at 11h15. The tour is 3hr30 so wear comftable shoes. On this tour we were able to see maaaaaaany historical buildings. My favorites inculded: the Municipal Library, the Municipal Theatre, the Monastery of São Bento, Pátio do Colégio, Sé Cathedral and Consolação Church.
2. Vila Madalena
The second free walking tour we did was one that focused on looking at graffiti and urban art. This tour was really fascinating, and unlike anything I had done before. This tour runs on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. You need to meet on the corner of Fradique Coutinho Street and Pinheiros Street (Fradique Coutinho subway station) at 10h45. The tour focused on visiting Batman Alley, Aprendiz Alley and the Patápio staircase.
One of our tour guides suggested we go visit the Edifício Copan building, as it has an open observation deck on the top floor. View points of the city are my absolute favorite, so this was a must for me! The building itself was 118 m with 38 floors. It houses 1160 apartments and due to this incredible number it has its own postal code. To visit this buildings view point, timing is very important! You MUST be at the entrance of Block F at 10h15 or 15h15 sharp if you want to go up. On our first attempt we were 10 minutes late and they wouldn’t let us go up. But if you arrive on time, it’s well worth your while. You will be escorted up to the top floor and have approximately 30 minutes at the top. And the best part? It’s completely free!