Happy holidays everyone! ✨
I am not currently in Brazil, and in fact I was there about three years ago, but I thought that since this post is going up on Christmas Day, I’d post a few memories from the year when me and my family went to Fortaleza, in the North-East of Brazil, to celebrate Christmas and the New Year. As Europeans, it felt quite strange to spend a usually “cold” holiday season in the Southern hemisphere, and here are the things that I loved the most about it!
Leaving the cold weather of Austria
At the time, I was leaving in Vienna and it was really cold and the days were very short. This holiday was the perfect break from the freezing temperatures of Austria, even though it didn’t feel particularly festive in the way that I’m used to, as I remember seeing some reindeer decorations in the sand and thinking how odd it was!
Spending New Years on the beach
In Brazil, everyone wears white to celebrate the New Year. After a delicious dinner with our most fancy white dresses, we went to the beach and watched the fireworks all around us. There was music and, obviously, a lot of dancing, and there’s just something about starting the new year by the sea, that makes it so special!
Amazingly sweet fresh fruits
Well, this is not so much about Christmas and holidays as it is about Brazil as a whole. I am not a big fan of fruit in general, but there, they were all so sweet and amazingly good that I couldn’t wait to start my day with a fresh slice of pineapple, mango or papaya. Also, we were basically sipping coconut water straight from coconuts almost every day, which gives an instant holiday feel!
While we were in Brazil, we also tried some local specialties and more traditional recipes, and I was amazed by how delicious everything was. From the sweet brigadeiros (chocolate truffles), the cheesy pão de queijo or the farofa (toasted cassava flour), we were discovering new dishes and flavours every day, and if this is not the perfect way to end the year – or start a new one – I don’t know what is!
Brazil is a vast country with a huge variety of landscapes. We were in the Nordeste (North East) area, in a coastal city, so the landscape was mostly made of sand dunes and beautiful beaches overlooking the ocean. One of the most memorable ones is the Morro Branco beach, with its colourful labyrinth of sand cliffs. They appear red and orange from afar, but if you look up close, you’ll see that they are actually made of white, yellow, orange, red and black sand. The contrast of these colours with the blue of the ocean is unforgettable!
Brazilian markets and small shops
When we were closer to the city of Fortaleza, we loved going to the market and browsing all the stuff they had there. Brazilian fashion in general is quite unique and a bit more “extra” than what you’d find in Europe, so it was perfect to buy beautiful handmade dresses or huge and colourful earrings as a souvenir!
Quad tour and surfing in the dunes
One day, we booked a quad tour of the area. First, it took us to a traditional market where we could see traditional lace makers creating beautiful and intricate pieces. Then, our guide took us to the nearby sand dunes, where we explored the area, stopping here and there to surf on the sand or swim in beautiful lakes and oasis. The dunes being quite bumpy, it almost felt like we were on a ride in an amusement park!
Truly relaxing and enjoying the time off
Of course, the warm climate and stunning beaches are perfect to relax and enjoy a holiday in the sun, but there is also something quite nice about being away during the festive season, which can often be pretty stressful. I was with part of my family so we could still spend time together, but without the extra drama and complications of extended family. This obviously means that I didn’t see all of my family, but it also made for way less hectic holidays, which I greatly appreciated!
It is always amazing to discover new cultures and new places, and to see how they celebrate the holidays in different parts of the world, and this was definitely a change of scenery from what I am used to! While it didn’t feel as festive as, say, the Christmas markets of Vienna, I felt like there was a more relaxed stated of mind, and I loved everything about it. Plus, spending a few days in a warmer climate is a fantastic way to spend the holidays when you live in a colder country!
Have you ever spent the end-of-year holidays in a different hemisphere? What were your impressions?
I also wanted to wish all of you happy holidays, and even though this festive season might be hard for some, I hope you are all well, spending time with loved ones, doing things that you love or just eating delicious food!