Brazil: the other hemisphere

A couple of weeks ago, for the first time in my life, I have travelled to the other hemisphere – to Brazil. August – the last month of the winter. At the end of the Swedish summer.

When preparing for the trip I asked several friends who have been to that part of the other hemisphere what to expect, visited a doctor – got a couple of shots and a package of drugs against stuff that one may get in that part of the other hemisphere. I was checking the weather forecast for at least a month, and asked the friends who live in that part of the other hemisphere about the clothes I might need. One said that I should be prepared for anything between 10-25C, while the other insisted that I should take the summer clothes. I did follow both advice.

It was everything between 10-27C. I took my swimming suit with me, so I was even prepared to swim. I did. In the last month of the winter, in the other hemisphere, in an outdoor swimming pool. What can’t Brazilians, Scandinavians can 🙂

Brazil was full of contrast – rich and extremely poor – to the point that I have seen nowhere in Europe. Completely different. And diverse. With chaotic life in regions of private houses on the hills, parks that I would probably call jungle-like gardens, and seemingly dead life in skyscrapers areas, which I “monitored” from the hotel window. Every morning I woke up, and they were still there. I don’t know why, but this monumental view just froze me. Dusty, quite polluted, and yet, once you get out to the historic center in the middle of the night, you instantly feel the beat of music, loud laughs and lively optimism pouring from everywhere. In the other part of the hemisphere.

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Lisbon, as I saw it

Some cities look good on postcards, with tidy streets and well-preserved architectural heritage. You can walk and feel impressed with how beautiful and wonderful everything looks. Such city for me is, e.g. Madrid. But more *beautiful* to me are cities with an atmosphere. They may be shabby, with lots of old and forgotten places, cracked grey walls covered with the dust of time, large or small, sunny or wet… This summer I discovered Lisbon — one of the most *beautiful* cities I have ever seen!

I have never been to Lisbon before, and this is a short photo report of what and how I saw it.

A tour into the spring

Interestingly spring does not come simultaneously to everyone. In the past few weeks I had a chance to step into its different stages in Sweden, Austria, Italy and for another week return to cold and snowy Latvia.

I have been in Innsbruck before, but during the summer and in the rainy weather, when the town is surrounded by the green walls of the surrounding mountains. This time, it revealed the fascinating beauty of the snowy mountain peaks – an unforgettable scenery. Despite the freshly cold mornings, the day sun’s warmth was burning and I have instantly caught a nice tan.

Although Bolzano is just a couple of hours away from Innsbruck, Italian spring has gone much faster much further. I arrived in the blossom of cherries, magnolia, chestnut trees, lilacs and countless flowers. The good weather however did not last long… and for two days I woke up in the clouds.

My next stop was Milan, the city of famous Duomo, the marvelous cathedral. The weather was fantastically warm, which could easily qualify as Swedish summer (or Latvian for that matter). Although Milan does not have the charm of Bolzano, it was a city worth visiting.