The mayor describes Porto Alegre as “a port where a community with multiple cultures and different ethnicities live in perfect harmony”. This is a really pleasant way to describe the city. It seems rather harmonious but obviously it is tough to know for sure with one of the world’s biggest event currently going on.
Today was game day in Porto Alegre – France vs Honduras and the “Goal Walk” from Mercado Público through to the stadium (Estadio Beira Rio) was filled with French supporters donning the flag and their faces painted red, white and blue! But let us share with you some of the historical district that we saw on our walk. The City Hall was inaugurated in 1901. There is a beautiful fountain at the front made of Spanish tiles and given as a gift by the Spanish Community in 1935. The fountain now appears to be a landing pad for pigeons. Alfândega Square is one of the most famous squares in the city. There is a park area that has local craft markets around along the pathways and an Art Museum at one end of the entrance. Today we didn’t have enough time to visit the museum but will be sure to get there during our time here. Nossa Senhora das Dores Church is the oldest church in the city, and took almost a century to complete. Its blinding white exterior drew us in to walk up all the steps to have a peak inside. And inside was beautiful. The inside smelt like any other Catholic Church: candles burning and “woody” if we can describe it like that. Out of respect for those inside, we didn’t take photos, so you will have to take our word that it was beautiful 🙂 The ceiling was painted in a soft green and the altar was rather extravagant. It was encased in white columns with gold tips and really was the “centrepiece”. We finished up our walk at the FIFA Fan Fest for the rest of the afternoon cheering at a big TV screen, sitting on muddy grass 🙂 Hope you enjoyed coming on a brief walk through a Brazilian World Cup Host City with us! Wise Monkeys Random Piece of Trivia: The 30°S Parallel South of the Earth’s equator passes through Porto Alegre hence that is the city’s latitude.
“It’s not about the destination but about the journey!”
Famous last words definitely not uttered by us! Especially not after the journey it took for us to get to Brazil.
We left Sydney Airport on Wednesday night, June 11 and didn’t arrive to Cuiaba (the first city that the Socceroos play in) until 11pm Cuiaba time (about 1 pm Sydney time June 13). Two days lost in transit.
And to be fair, all the flights were relatively comfortable and food onboard was actually palatable. But it was the sleeping upright and the lack of a shower that really made us feel seedy!
It was 14 hours to Dubai, a 2-hour wait, another 14 hours to Rio, a 7-hour wait and then 3 hours to Cuiaba – so you can imagine how wrecked we were.
But all that aside because when we witnessed the LOVE this country has for football we knew we made the right decision to come here for the World Cup. While we waited at Rio De Janeiro airport for our flight to Cuiaba, the opening World Cup match was on: Brazil VS Croatia.
As we walked around the food court in the search for our dinner, everyone’s eyes were fixed on the little TV screens scattered around. There were hundreds of people all facing the same direction. It was deadly quiet as the spectators anticipate Brazil’s recovery from their own goal scored earlier. But when Brazil were able to equalise and then lead the game – to watch the crowd erupt in celebration was enough for us to forget the flight! It reminded us why we were really here. We could just feel the passion in the air and the buzz of relief when Brazil won that game.
What an opening game to witness amongst the locals!
And today is GAME DAY for us – Australia play Chile in their first round match and we have just been handed our Category A tickets complete with access to the VIP tent before and after the game! HOORAY!!
Gosh, so it took this trip to Brazil to make us realise the ONE thing we really don’t like about travelling… the transit itself which is long forgotten anyway because as soon as we reach our destination, we embrace what lies ahead!!
The atmosphere is going to be electric! It is going to be a mind-blowing, a real once-in-a-lifetime experience to watch football in the home of football!
Getting ready for the World Cup? Here’s what we did it…
So our Brazil visas are done and doing them was pretty straight forward.
- Complete the online application form at: http://sydney.itamaraty.gov.br/en-us/ (this is using the Consulate General of Brazil in Sydney website)
- Print and attach a passport photograph on the form, sign and date.
- Submit to the Brazilian Consulate in person (on Clarence St, Sydney) with the travel invitation letter from the local Brazilian travel agency.
- Best thing is that visas for entering Brazil for the World Cup are FREE of charge.
- Two weeks later, the visas are ready to be picked up.
TIP: Don’t apply for visas last minute.
Luckily we were all up to date with our vaccines from our previous trips. We had Yellow Fever vaccines for Peru back in 2011 so just need to remember to pack that little yellow fever certificate. The only jabs we needed this time was to “top up” typhoid and the usual seasonal flu-vaccine.
We always make sure we visit the doctor well in advance of any of our trips to make sure we have enough lead in time for any vaccinations that require repeat doses or a set timing regimen.
TIP: Visit the doctor or travel nurse for advice on what you need several months in advance to give yourself enough time to be inoculated.
✓ TRAVEL INSURANCE
This is one thing that we don’t EVER go without. We actually always buy travel insurance the moment we book our trip to make sure we are covered from that moment where we hand over the thousands of dollars for airfares.
We do have a credit card that gives us free travel insurance if we paid our flights with it. Too good to be true, we thought. Upon further inspection, we don’t get our own policy and actually we sat under an umbrella policy. If we needed to claim anything, we need to prove to the credit card insurers that we actually paid for the flights with the credit card. That just seemed to complicated for us especially if there was an emergency.
We have usually chosen to go for Cover-More Travel Insurance when we travel because for our first ever trip, it was recommended by the travel agent who booked that trip for us. Thereafter, we have done our research and looked at other companies but so far so good with Cover-More as they do give us the peace of mind we need. We figured that if they are “the most popular travel insurance provider in Australia” as per their website, we couldn’t really be going wrong, right? But also , we have had to call them up about things and their customer service representatives are extremely informative and helpful.
TIP: Always get travel insurance. Make sure you read the product disclosure statement of any insurance policy and understand what you are buying.
We are flying with Emirates – the LONG way around. As it turns out, it was getting too complicated with QANTAS so our organiser chose the alternative option to fly around the other way to Brazil. Guess we would rather sit on a plane than wait at airports! It’s taking us about 28 hours to get from Australia to Brazil but at least we have flights!
X FAN MERCHANDISE
We are going to be following the Australian Socceroos so we will be in Cuiaba, Curitiba and Porto Alegre – luckily the search for accommodation was the responsible of the organiser and not ours. We are in three hotels and one of which is a 5-star apparently! SCORE!!!!