Wow, I had an amazing Sunday here in Porto Alegre…
This morning I cycled with Marcelo (my couchsurfing host) and his daughter Mariana to City Hall where we were greeted by the Deputy Mayor and a pack of press people who all wanted to interview me for local newspapers and TV to find out more about my #SambaCycle! We then headed off along one of the city’s fairly new cycle paths with the Deputy Mayor, his wife, several other people from his office and some police all on bikes too, and also escorted by a police car to divert traffic around us and the press vehicles with cameras poking out of the windows to capture our journey! We continued out of the city centre and along the riverside for a lovely ride past the Beira-Rio Stadium which will be used during the World Cup. More interviews and photos followed and then we cycled home. Check out the Where Am I? page to see GPS tracking of my location this morning (records my coordinates every 30 mins).
It’s wonderful how interested people are here about what I’m about to try and do, and I think they’re proud that my journey begins from Porto Alegre.
The next treat was a BBQ with Marcelo’s family and local Watford fan David (who’s contact with the British consul made this morning’s cycle happen). I’ve never seen such large skewers of meat, including the traditional chicken hearts, very tasty! The complex where I’m staying has a nature reserve with purpose built BBQ areas spread within it under the trees, which provided shade to keep us cool from the hottest day of the year here, it reached 38 degrees I’m told!
Later Marcelo and I went for a swim in the condo’s outdoor pool where we met another resident called Andre who’s an English teacher and chatted to him about football, the city and the culture of Rio Grande do Sul state. In case you didn’t know, southern Brazil has many European immigrants, especially German, Swiss and Italian, so local produce includes pilsner beer, cheese and wine.
Andre then invited us to his apartment so that I could sample the popular Gaúcho (the name for inhabitants of Rio Grande do Sul) drink Chimarrão, a sugarless tea made with bitter mate (pronounced “mah-tay”) drunk out of a gourd through a metal pipe/straw. It tasted a bit like green tea to me, but more of an acquired taste!
To top the day off there was a report on the late night TV news about our cycle outing this morning, including lots of footage of me riding along amongst the locals and even part of an interview that I gave! Marcelo recorded it so I’ll try to share it on here in due course.
Update: I’m famous – check out these 3 news report videos!
Here’s a couple of the online reports with photos from today:
Thanks to the people of Porto Alegre for a great welcome to Brazil!