Day 7 of Boots N All’s 30 Days Of Indie Travel. Topic: Celebrate

Joining in a local festival, holiday or special event is a great way to learn more about a local culture. Share the story of a celebration that meant something to you on your travels.

It’s always been my luck or just my timing that my recent travels have always just missed the local holiday by a week. It gets pretty frustrating to be reading about an awesome festival that only happens once every 12 years and that you’ve missed it by a day.  Part of the problem with having only been able to do a lot of short trips is that you tend to miss out on a lot of the good festivals unless you can plan you trip around them.

The festivals and celebrations I’ve managed to attend are by accident, like the time a friend and I were in Rome in May of 2007 and decided to check out the Piazza S.Giovanni in the Laterano neighborhood. As we got closer we noticed a LOT of people heading in the same direction and figured hey, this place has got to be pretty cool. What we didn’t realize was that there was a huge music festival happening that night in the Piazza to pay tribute to the 50th anniversary of the start of Italian rock n roll. The crowd in the Piazza was massive, none of the groups playing were familiar to us until amidst the introduction in Italian of the next act we heard two words we both recognized, and we looked at each other with expressions of disbelief.  Those two words were “Chuck Berry”. Both of us stood amazed as the aging rock n roll star duck walked his way across the stage like someone half his age and nailed a smoking solo on Johnny B Goode.  The funny thing was, a majority of the crowd seemed to have no idea who he was, just as we had no idea who the groups they were madly applauding for were.

Whether it’s being in Spain on the 150th anniversary of Gaudi’s birth and being allowed into normally of limits places to tourists to following behind a parade in the San Sebastian neighborhood of Cuzco. The accidental attendance of a party, festival or celebration always seem to add more magic to a trip because you weren’t expecting it and had no preconcieved notions of how it should be. This isn’t to say I won’t plan to attend a Full Moon Party or Running of the Bulls or if my dreams come true, be in Brazil for the 2014 World Cup, but to me it’s the collision of yourself with chance in a place neither of you expected to be that always keeps travel exciting.

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2 Comments

  1. If you are planning to come to Brazil at the World Cup period, and is expecting to go to a footbal game, I must give you some advices:

    1: Don’t choose São Paulo, the city’s traffic is awful every single day of the year…you’ll spent at least 3 hours trying to get to the stadium if you take a bus, taxi or motorbike, and 1h30min if going by metro (depending on were you are staying), and that is without counting the time that you’ll have to wait till you actually get inside the metrô…trust me, I use it everyday…somedays people wait for half hour for a minimum space to get in…lol

    2: Prepare your pocket. Everything in Brazil is 3 times more expensive than in the rest of the world in a normal day…at the World Cup period it will be much worse…

    3: Make your hostel, hotel or similar reservation in huuuge advance, cause the host cities have a small acommodations offer. In São Paulo for example, the hotels are fully booked when a F1, World Plastic Fair and similar happens.

    4: Bring lots of patience with you, you’ll need it at the 2-3 hours of immigration line at the airport, plus 2 hours to get to a hotel.

    If you are not expecting to go to a game, just eliminate number 1, actually….if you are in São Paulo, you’ll ever face car traffic 🙂

    But you can happen to come here and actually go to places like Maranhão, Foz do Iguaçu e Chapada Diamantina and have a very peacefull time!!!

  2. Thanks so much for the advice! I’d love to come see Sao Paulo and have read enough to know that during the World Cup that may not be a good idea. I am hoping to see a match in a smaller city and just travel aroud the rest of the time. You recommend taking the metro around the cities then : )

    Good to know that I need to prepare my pocket, I don’t know what to expect with costs while traveling in Brazil. I assume it’s much cheaper outside of the larger cities, yes?


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