This is our first in a series of “Christmas in….” All of the Bellissima Correspondents will be showing off their great city in the next week, so stay tuned!
Christmas is to Brazilians what Thanksgiving is to Americans, with the anticipation, family reunions and a big bird for super included. And super never arrives earlier than 10 pm, so we are prepared to snack during the entire day not to ruin the magnificent meal at night.
We do wish for a White Christmas but unfortunately it is summer this time of the year on this side of the Equator. Despite this unfortunate tiny detail, shopping malls are the perfect destination to get that wintery feeling, since there are really no big windows decorations like Saks or Selfridges in town and the weather doesn’t help at all. Every shopping mall erects at least one, if not several, elaborate Christmas diorama like displays and three story high Christmas trees. There are plenty of fake snow, fur-clad Santas, gigantic teddy bears, real sized Rudolphs and Frosty the Snowman plush toys. It’s about 90 degrees out and the AC is blasting inside the malls.
The city comes alive at night with all the buildings in town featuring light displays that simulated snowfall or lights hanging in the shape of snowflakes. The tree trunks around streets and avenues are illuminated as well. Another great destination is Paulista Avenue with its décor and Christmas caroling and Ibirapuera Park that has fountain shows all night long from the lake (think of the Bellagio show in a smaller scale) and yet another big Christmas tree.
I want to wish you all a great time during the holidays and a smashing New Year!
I was going to write about 3 places to visit in São Paulo, but as I started, I realized this was not going to happen, because Parque da Agua Branca (White Waters Park) has so many cool things to see and do that it wouldn’t be fair to the other 2 places I was going to pick to show you. This park is our very favorite place to get out of the city within the city limits, and you will soon find out why.
The park makes you feel you are in the countryside. To start, there are lots, and I mean lots of chickens, ducks, geese, cats and peacocks free-ranging in the premises as you walk around. My kids are happy to spend hours chasing the chicks and ducklings, trying to catch one with their bare hands.
There is an organic farmer’s market on Tuesdays and Saturdays and some of the turn of the last century buildings house small museums and a little aquarium. Agua Branca also has cute reading nooks for kids and grown-ups when you need to take a break. On the other side of the park there’s a large horseback riding arena and stables where you can visit and feed the horses, as well as a tiny amusement park, complete with a train that goes around the park.
Scattered in the park are several playgrounds and a small walking trail for tree observation. It’s the perfect place to spend the entire day, with a picnic basket and lots of sunscreen.
Check out our slideshow below to see some of these lovely sights!