Vitoria and Vila Vehla, Brazil

We picked up the pilot at 7:00 am and had a lovely long sail in along the Bay of Vitoria, under the Mendonca Bridge (photo) and then along the canal to our dock in Vitoria.  Vitoria is an island city of 300,000 people surrounded by other cities on the mainland, one of which is Vila Velha. Vitoria was established in 1551 and is one of Brazil’s oldest colonial settlements. It is the capital of the state of Espirito Santo. The state is one of the wealthiest in Brazil and it shows in the very modern buildings and in the lack of street people, as the poor and drug dependent people are provided free care, housing and treatment by the state.  Not to say that we did not see some older buildings as we toured around, but they were few and far between and most were in good repair.  It actually has the largest port in Brazil.  We toured around Vitoria looking at some of the principal buildings and made our way to a pottery factory (photo).  This factory is part of the cultural patrimony of the region as the art involved has been handed down for generations from the original Indian inhabitants.  Our next stop was in Vila Velha at the Convent of Our Lady of Penha, one of the oldest colonial buildings in the region.  I have a photo of the convent taken from the ship as we sailed in.  We went most of the way up by van but there were a couple of hundred steps at the top which was difficult in the heat.  However, the views from the top were spectacular and the chapel was pretty(photos).  Our last stop on the tour was to be a chocolate factory but we did not have time for that and had to settle for a visit to the shop (photo).  Nobody complained.  After returning to the ship, I took a walk around the town and looked at the Governor’s Mansion (photo), the Metropolitan Cathedral with its beautiful stained glass windows (photo) and other charming old buildings. We were supposed to sail at 4:30 but apparently there are regulations that prevented us sailing until the tides were out at about 8:00 pm.  The Captain said however, that it will not delay our arrival at Ilhabela on Saturday.  It also gave me a chance to get a picture of the convent lit up at night (photo).

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