Tag Archives: Main Square

Brazil, Manaus – a once grande dame that’s now a little jaded. Pink dolphins that decide to attack me!

I spent a few days in and around Manaus – which is actually on the Rio Negro which is a very wide offshoot of the Amazon. Something about the ph level of this river makes it highly acid and all I understand about that is they don’t seem to have any mosquitos – and that’s a great thing.

Manaus is a bit of a tired city but with a few old (and to be honest a bit crumbly) buildings. These are the best ones.

In it’s heyday it was a super luxurious place as the rubber barons made a lot of money thanks to lots of rubber trees and slave labour and Mr Goodyear who figured out how to process it. That was all great for the city’s fortunes (if not the slaves) until the Brits came and took the seedlings away so they could propagate them in Malaysia and Indonesia and that was the beginning of the end for Manaus.

It has a main town square (with wave style flooring very reminiscent of Lisbon squares) as well as the fish and handicraft market.

The market also sells a lot of “natural viagra” potions and pills and certainly I saw a lot of people carrying back small packets after visiting there (!) but they all swore they were fresh Brazil nuts!

This part of Brazil is known for its pink dolphins. We headed out 90 minutes down the Rio Negro – first to visit a very small indigenous village – 27 people now but was once part of a rubber plantation – hence the example of tapping the rubber tree below. Also they make hammocks – everyone in Brazil has at least two hammocks and they travel with them everywhere – have hammock will travel!

And then we went to see the so-called friendly pink dolphins. Very pretty but not so friendly in the end – one swung round at me (I think he thought I wanted his fish?!?) and whacked me on the forehead above my right eye. You can see me holding my head just after it happened. I think I will stay on land in future:)

A much safer way to see the dolphins – the pretend ones!

Day 1 – bump on forehead.

Day 2-bruises on eyelid too.

Now at purple colour stage and bored of this look!

Poland, Krakow

This was my first time to Poland – and if you know me you know a new country is always a big thrill. After a five hour drive from Prague we arrived in Kraków. Another lovely medieval town with a main square, pretty buildings and beautiful churches and very nice and friendly people.

First stop was the university buildings area. That’s a statue of Copernicus and the interior of the Noworolski Cafe which has been in Main Square for many decades. We had our coffee outside and enjoyed people watching.

The main square itself is huge. It has a tower which is all that is left of the old town hall, a beautiful huge building called Cloth hall which has cafes and restaurants at its base and an art gallery upstairs and also another spectacular church – St Mary’s Basilica. Another claim to fame is that this is the town that Pope John Paul II came from and you feel his presence all around

Then we trekked up to Warwel Castle. Another massive complex and worth the walk – we did 23000 steps on this day!

We ended the day with a food tour – 14 different dishes from Bigos to perogies to vodka to stuffed cabbages (my fave). It was excellent – provided by Delicious Poland – give it a go if you visit.