Curitiba – One of Brazilians most European city

Curitiba is the capital city of the state of Parana, with about 2 millions inhabitants. It’s a well know city in Brazil, but not so much abroad. I knew the city when I got in contact with the organization who’s hosting the Finnish trainees, like me, in Brazil. And the most of the trainees are having their internship in Curitiba, which was also one of the reasons I decided to get visit the city: To meet the other Finnish students and also our local contacts… Also all the people in Foz had told me that Curitiba is a great city and there’s a lot of things to do, they all loved that city!

The week-end in Curitiba turned to be interesting in many ways.

For my stay I decided to use couch surfing for the first time, and actually I was very lucky because I got a confirmation the day I arrived in the city! One very nice Brazilian girl, who had just moved back from France after 1,5 year, was happy to meet someone from Paris and talk french with! First it was a little strange and difficult to turn on french, after 2 months of speaking only English and Portuguese, but we made it quickly and had very nice conversations during the 4 days I stayed on her place.

My first thought when I stepped out of the plain in Curitiba was “Oh my god, it’s cold!!!!” People had told me that Curitiba has a special geographical location and it’s always more cold there than in other cities… But I really wasn’t prepared at only about +12 C! And of course it was the first week-end of May and winter is approaching here in Brazil, so temperatures are getting colder, not only in Curitiba but in Foz too. And I have to admit that I didn’t took enough warm clothes with me when I left France… Like my mother always says “never leave Finland without a pair of woolen stockings”!

The first evening in Curitiba I was invited in a bar to meet the other Finns, who were having a little farewell party for few of them, already finishing the internship and leaving the city. While discussing with them I found out, for my big surprise, that they were happy to leave Curitiba and finish their stay in there. They told me that the city doesn’t have only a cold climate, but also a cold population and it was very hard to make friends there. That’s not the experience I have about Brazilian people, so I was surprised!

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First night in Curitiba with Finns and our Egyptian colleague.

When I talked about this with local people, they told me it was true. Curitiba has a very European reputation, because its’ climate, the people, who all have some origins from Europe, and also for the architecture and the public transport. Curitiba is one of the best organized city in Brazil, and has the best bus network.

Even I quickly realized that I’m very happy to have my internship in Foz and not in Curitiba, I enjoyed a lot about the cultural side of the city, and the fact that there’s much more things to do than in Foz.

On Thursday, I woke up early because I had to leave home at the same time that my host went to work. She showed me who to get to the historic city center and after a breakfast in a little coffee place I walked round the downtown until lunchtime.

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I know I already talked about travelling alone on my previous post, but just to confirm the fact, when you travel alone you can choose to do what ever you want! Like to have a 3 hours nap on the afternoon, whiteout feeling guilty ;).

As it was the 30 of April, and 1st of Mays eve, it’s a very important day for Finnish people, as it’s VAPPU! As I’ve been in France I haven’t celebrate that party in very many years… I think there’s only in Finland (maybe in Sweden too?) that 1st of May is not only a public holiday, but a huge party day as well. And for that case we had decided to do a traditional “Vappu” picnic with the other Finns in Curitiba… Only, the weather was very cold and grey that day, so the picnic turned to be a little party at home, but it was nice too! I was very glad to meet new Finnish persons with the same interests than me, and spend some time with them. It actually made me realize that I really miss Finland and not only my friends there, but also the culture and life there. 10 days a year, is way too little time to really enjoy about Finland!

On the week-end we had a nice sunny weather, and my host made me meet some of her friends, who were as friendly as I know Brazilians. They took me out in different places and made me taste local foods and enjoy the city and culture of Curitiba!

Let the pictures tell you more…

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The botanical garden

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Ukrainian wooden church on sunset

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Oscar Niemeyer Museum or “Museu do Olho” 

This was a great experience for me who don’t visit museums very often! The entrance is only 6 $R (less than 2 €!!!) and you have access too all the museum with its’ different exhibitions. This week-end there was a great photograph exposition “Genesis” of Sebastiao Salgado, and other interesting displays about architecture and different arts.

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Opera de Arame

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Big market in the old center on Sunday

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“Pierogi” a local dish imported by Polish who are many in Curitiba

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“Pinhão” with red wine.

I had seen these pinaos in the supermarkets many times and always wondered what is it. So my host and her friend decided that it’s time to me to taste for it. We just boiled them in water and ate with salt. For me it’s a little like chestnuts in France, when they grill them on winter. And it was very good with the wine… After that it was good to take the plain and go back to Foz :).

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