January 16, 2012 – Recife, Brazil
We docked at Recife, Brazil at 7:30 this morning (4:30 Texas time). Many of the ports where we normally dock on cruises have a cruise terminal because of the large number of regular cruise ship visits. The terminal usually has an abundance of goods and services aimed at travelers (souvenirs, convenience store items, wi-fi, postage, etc.). Many of the docking areas on this itinerary are commercial docks with lots of warehouses, grain & sugar loading facilities and few amenities. Recife is one of those with shuttle busses into commercial areas. Recife is of the latter type.
Recife is at the far eastern tip of South America and if you look on a globe you will see it is actually closer to Senegal, Africa than it is to Venezuela – strange! It is due south of Greenland. We are slightly south of the equator, so it is consistently hot with 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night – year round.
Recife is a city of about 3 million persons. The skyline is substantial with many high rises. From a distance, as we approached I assumed that the skyline indicated much business and commerce, as it would in the states. Here the high rises are almost exclusively apartments and condominiums, no banks company headquarters or office towers. The city is divided by several rivers which give it the nickname of the Venice of South America. Recife was established in the 1500s by the Portuguese, some 70 years before the Plymouth colony in Massachusetts. It was at times occupied for brief periods by the Dutch and the British.
We visited two interesting sections of the city – First, Boa Viagem, a suburb on the beach with a long row of condos and apartments across the street from the beach – very nice.
Condo in Boa Viagem
Second was the suburb of Olinda which was the original settlement area and the only hilly part of an otherwise flat landscape. Olinda was reminiscent of many European towns and villages, particularly in Spain and Portugal, we have seen which date from the 1500s and early 1600s. Stone buildings, bright colors, cobblestone streets, lots of churches, all perched on the hill over Recife and its beaches and rivers – Quite charming.
Architecture of Olinda.
From Olinda. Can you spot our ship?