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Sao Paulo, Brazil

We’re out of the world cup, so let’s explore!

We’re out of the world cup, so let’s explore!

Leanne Bradley

Brazil might be in the headlines for football but their second favourite passion must be shopping, in 2013 alone, a mind blowing 64 shopping center's opened in Brazil.Despite the development of all these malls, I wanted to experience street life, so as a twenty something, the first thing I did when I got off the 22 hour bus ride from Florianopolis was to ask the taxi driver to take me to the ‘coolest area’ and Vila Madalena certainly was that!  Set in the hills 3 miles outside of central Sao Paulo, this dynamic, glamorous, bohemian part of town is bursting with inspirational street art and is comparable with the vibe seen in cities in North West America. The Streets are hilly like San Fran, and the people beautiful, lavish trucks and motor bikes line the streets, and a distant American accent can be heard all around.

The shops offer small stylish boutiques and tourists queued down the street to get a seat in the stunning gelato called ‘Bacio di Latte’, there is also a hint of international influence not really seen anywhere else in Sao Paulo with brands such as Le Pain Quotidien.  The streets at night hum from the bustling, lively bars and restaurants that service the well travelled, and it has been rumoured that bars in Vila Madalene have seen a 200% increase in sales during the world cup! The best places to watch the world cup games are Jacare Grill, and Silvestre Steakhouse, both restaurants were fully booked weeks before the games started.  My favourite in particular is Buteconosso, which made a great venue for people watching and served the most amazing Brazilian grill dishes.

Locals explained that the area became popular in the 70’s with a huge influx of Students from the surrounding Universities searching for cheap rents; however Vila Madalena’s cool, artistic atmosphere has attracted traveller’s world wide causing rents to drive up. Real Estate developers have moved in and a huge gentrification movement has meant that the area now caters for the rich and beautiful people of Sao Paulo. I was quite grateful as it meant I could browse through shops that simply weren’t available anywhere else in Brazil!