We have now arrived at the second half (and my FAVORITE) part of the trip. Rio and Buzios were awesome… but Salvador… and next week Trancoso… were pure magic!

You know when you visit a new country, and you feel you’ve found its soul? This is how I feel about Salvador.

There is a reason why Anthony Bourdain (still crying) made Salvador one of the subjects of his travels…

It is located in the state of Bahia, the most African state of Brazil, where you will experience traditional Afro-Brazilian music and candy-colored colonial style buildings that are now a part of a World Heritage site.

The Pelourino, featured in the photo above, is the historic heart of the city and has been featured in videos by Michael Jackson and Paul Simon, but there is also a darker history here.

Founded in 1594 by the Portuguese, Brazil imported more slaves than any other country, and today, with the exception of Nigeria, the largest population of people with African descent is in Brazil…

…so there is a tension between that history, and the heartbeat of this city with its beautiful rhythms and colorful celebrations (like Carnival!)…

… but what you notice most are its beautiful and proud people.

… and without a doubt… I can tell you that this is one of my favorite cities.

And the kids loved it too…

There were old forts to climb…

… the BEST coconuts…

… and the Carnival Museum where we were able to put on costumes and learn some traditional dance moves!

There were post card moments everywhere…

Like at the Church of Nosso Senhor do Bonfim where you tie ribbons on the gates to make wishes!

And coastal views…

Gorgeous old churches…

… and design “moments” too… like at the Villa Bahia, a boutique hotel centered in the square of the┬áPelourino restored from two 17th and 18th century colonial homes!

I mean… look at this courtyard pool!

I don’t have a photo… but if you are visiting Salvador… please also stop by Casa De Tereza for dinner. It was intimate, amazing, and the chef comes out to greet you and takes great care to introduce you to her menu!

Thank you John and Erin for introducing us to this truly unique city…

Deesign Does Brazil Part 4: Trancoso… here we come!