With the world cup less than a week away, you’ve hopefully got everything you need and as well as your itinerary arranged. You’re bound to have some free time while you’re there so why not take a look at some of the non-football related activities you can fit in around the fixtures.
Drink Coffee – Brazil grows and roasts some of the best coffee in the world, so steer clear of the chains and the ever present Starbucks and try something new. Sao Paulo has a number of coffee shops and Padarias (a sort of Brazillian bakery) that are worth visiting most of which are summed up very nicely here on Gadling.com. Coffeelab seems especially interesting having excellent reviews on both Trip Advisor and Yelp.
Try Brazil’s Craft Beer – Brazil’s love of football is very well known, so it should hardly be surprising that they have fallen in love with beer as well. Brazil’s craft beer scene has blossomed out of it’s infancy and has matured nicely with Brazilian beers starting to win international awards. If good beer is your thing it’s well worth checking out. You should expect something different though as without easy access to hops (Brazil is too hot to easily grow them) they sometimes use native plants to add additional flavour, producing beer you won’t experience anywhere else. For those of you after a craft beer with a more homegrown taste the Scottish Brewery Brewdog have a Bar in Sao Paulo. For those of you just after a beer, you’re likely to have to run the gauntlet of popular local beers which can be a little hit and miss. To help keep you a little better informed and help you order your beer Brewtours have a Complete Guide to Beers in Brazil.
Try Caipirinha – Brazil has been turning sugar into alcohol since before it was Brazil, and people have been drinking it for almost as long. The most popular sugar based spirit in Brazil is Cachaca, and like rum it comes in two varieties, light (which has not been aged) and golden (which has been aged usually between one and three years). Light is what is used to make Brazil’s signature cocktail Caipirinha (Cachaca, lime, sugar syrup, and ice if you have it). Cachaca has more flavour than rum and is at least as strong, to the English palate it might be considered a bit rustic. Probably the easiest way of summing it up is rum tries to cultivate an image of purity and civility with a nice clear bottle, and Cachaca’s bottle is made of wicker. There are now many variations on the traditional Caipirinha most involving fruit and sugar, it’s definitely worth a look.
Rehydrate – With all the talk of alcohol in a hot country, you should really bear in mind the morning after. Brazil has two excellent solutions, fresh coconuts and juice bars. Fresh coconuts are hands down one of the best things for a hangover, easily digestible carbohydrates, important electrolytes, and plenty of fluid, everything your body needs to get you back on form. Juice bars can be found all over the place, and will offer fruits you know as well as many you won’t from the local environment, since these are naturally occurring they aren’t as sweet as fruits you’re used to so don’t be surprised if you are asked if you would like sugar added. This is an opportunity to taste something you’ve never tasted before.
Hit the beaches – You can hardly go to Brazil and not spend time on the beach, Brazil has an immense coastline, and some of the best beaches in the world, usually occupied by what are widely regarded as some of the most beautiful people in the world. There is still time to work on your tan if you don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb.
Have Fun – Of perhaps all football loving nations Brazil is the most impartial when it comes to football. They love their home team, but they love good football more, so expect good natured celebration after every game whether Brazil played or not. This could make the 2014 World Cup a real once in a lifetime event. If you’re in the market for a new suitcase and want to show some goodwill of your own to your Brazilian hosts, Samsonite have brought out a special Brasil 2014 edition of their popular S’Cure case using the colours of the Brazilian flag. Like the rest of the S’Cure range it currently has 30% off, comes with his and her flip-flops and a chance to win a holiday to Rio. Even if you’re not planning on making it to Brazil but you’re looking for a case that’s bright and summery this could be the case for you.