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S: Principia College Brazil Abroad Winter 2011

FC: Winter 2011 | Brazil Abroad

1: A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving. Lao Tzu | This book tells the story of our journey through Brazil, from the beaches of Rio to the Mountains of Chapada Diamantina, to the city of Salvador, to Iguassu Falls, and back again. I could never express what this experience meant to me, but since a picture is worth a thousand words, here's a book full of them. To our group, thanks for the memories, and thanks to everyone we met along the way who made this experience a truly unforgettable one.

2: On January 5, we arrived in beautiful Rio de Janeiro. The beaches and views of the city looked like something straight off of a postcard. We knew from the start that this was going to be an amazing nine week adventure!

3: Surprise hike! After spending some time on the beach, we hiked up to a lookout point at the Leme army base, which would be our home for the next five days. Then that evening, we had the opportunity to attend a service at one of Rio’s Christian Science churches.

4: One of our first day trips took us to Pao de Acucar with our Brazilian friends, Jessica, Thalita, Lonie, Pedro, Felipe, and Evelin. We took gondolas up to the top of the mountain and got another amazing view of Rio.

6: Later that day, we went to Cidade do Samba, where some local samba schools had begun constructing their floats for Rio's Carnaval celebration!

8: The next morning, we took a ferry to Niteroi to see one of Brazil's famous Oscar Neimeyer buildings.

9: That afternoon we visited some forts, like the Forte de Santa Cruz.

10: We couldn't go to Rio and not visit the Christ the Redeemer, or Cristo Redentor statue!

12: We also visited Rocinha, the largest favela in Rio.

14: On our final day in Rio we had the opportunity to go see Maracana, one of the world's largest soccer stadiums and a location for the 2014 World Cup!

16: Part two of our journey began as we flew into Salvador in the northeastern state of Bahia. During the next 4 weeks, we visited Praia do Forte, Chapada Diamantina National Park, and lived with families in Salvador.

17: First stop: Praia do Forte! Here we visited Projeto Tamar, an organization that strives to preserve sea turtles in their natural habitat. | We learned all about the different species and what we can do to help them!

21: One of the highlights was getting to see newly hatched baby turtles make their way to the ocean for the first time!

22: Then it was time to gear up for our 3 day trek. We met up with our guides: Roy, Nito, and Del, and set off on our way from the town of Lencois..

24: Day 2

28: Third and Final Day

31: By the end of the trek, we had hiked over 50 kilometers! We then drove back to Lencois, where we spent one more day before heading back to Salvador.

33: Some of us opted to go on one last hike to some natural water slides and jumping rocks

34: We took a bus back up to Salvador the next day and met our homestay families at Idioma, the language school we would be attending for the next three weeks

35: Jen and I were lucky enough to stay with Nagmar and Miguel Hasselmann, who we quickly came to love!

36: We took a boat ride with other Idioma students to visit a Fort right off the coast.

37: That weekend, we visited Pelourinho, an area of Bahia where the prevalent Afro-Brazilian culture is particularly apparent. We also went to the Afro-Brazilian Museum and saw the church and convent of St. Francis.

38: This is our LIFE!! | We spent our days eating giant breakfasts, going to language school, and of course enjoying the beach and sunshine!

39: Nagmar and Miguel even took us to Praia do Forte for a day trip to their beach house!

40: We took a group trip to some nearby islands to enjoy more beach time! | Good Life

42: We even went on a bike ride at a nearby park. We also took capoeira and samba lessons at Idioma.

44: One of the most rewarding parts of the abroad was volunteering at La Irma Bendita. The kids were so easy to love, an everyone had a great time giving back!

46: We went on another school trip to the festival of Iemanja, the Candomble deity of the sea. People make offerings of flowers and have a good time hanging out at the beach!

47: And of course, we had to attend a soccer game. Bahia vs Vitoria!!

50: After our stay in Salvador, we flew to Foz do Iguassu to spend a couple days visiting Iguassu Falls!! We got to cross the border into Argentina and spend our first day on the the Argentinian side of the falls!

54: The next day we visited Itaipu, the hugely impressive hydroelectric plant shared by Brazil and Paraguay.

56: On to the Brazilian side of the falls!

58: After visiting the Brazilian side of the falls, we went to Iguassu's bird park, where we had close encounters with exotic birds, snakes, and even crocs!

59: The next leg of out trip took us to the green city of Curitiba!

60: Curitiba's botanical gardens

61: We met more friends, like Daio, and also some of the local wildlife-capybaras!

62: Curitiba has monuments to its major immigration groups, like this Ukrainian one.

63: One's of Curitiba's innovative ways of recycling is Cambio Verde, a program that gives people the option of trading recyclable materials for food.

64: We took a train ride up to a reserve and did some more hiking. Unfortunately, we got rained on, but ended the day at a beautiful restaurant oasis!

65: Later that weekend we had the chance to visit another Oscar Neimeyer Museum

66: We also visited Patronato, a school and organization that strives to give opportunities to kids that may not have them otherwise. The kids were really excited to talk with us!

67: Next stop: Salto Morato, a reserve where we would stay for two nights and cook our own meals

68: The Salto Morato Waterfall

69: Then we took a boat to beautiful Ilha do Mel!

72: We visited another reserve and learned more about Curitiba's environmental education programs.

73: Later that day we learned more about Apremavi, the reforestation and education effort that is dedicated to restoring the Atlantic Forest, or Mata Atlantica and improving the lives of farmers by teaching them how to best utilize their land.

79: After our week of environmental education in the south of Brazil, we took a bus to Florianopolis where Evelin met up with us! | The next day, we went back to the beach!

83: Then it was off to Sao Paulo. Lonie and Thalita surprised us at the airport, then we went straight to Petrobras, one of the world leaders in energy.

85: The next day, we went to Flavio's apartment to see an amazing view of the city and visited another soccer museum!

86: We went to two different churches on Wednesday and Sunday and enjoyed lots of brigadeiro and good company!

87: The church members even threw a Carnaval party for us!

91: And now...back to Rio for a full night of CARNAVAL!!

101: We had a ton of laughs and an all around amazing group. Here's to 9 weeks of the Good Life in Brazil!

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