Fortaleza, Brazil

Fortaleza is another large modern Brazilian city of some 3.5 million people.  It is the capital of the state of Ceara.  It has beautiful sandy beaches, among the world’s most spectacular, and international hotels which draw tourists from all over the world.  The beaches are also lined with restaurants selling freshly caught fish.  The shore as seen from the sea is lined with high rise apartment buildings (photo), though only the small percentage of wealthy people can afford to live in them as there is a great disparity between the rich and the poor.  While the coastal area is lush, the arid interior plains region known as the sertao is just inland from the coast.  There is not much left of Fortaleza’s colonial heritage.  However, its Metropolitan Cathedral (photos) which holds 5000 worshipers, is the third largest in Brazil, and it has a wonderful Art Nouveau theatre, the Teatro Jose de Alencar. An old jail has been turned into the Museu de Arte e Cultura Popular which features interesting works by local artists and which serves as a market for fine handicrafts (photos).  There is also a large market in the downtown area.  I took a tour which incorporated city sightseeing and a trip to one of the beaches, the Praia de Futuro. The waves  were quite wild at the beach and I got knocked over a couple of times, but the water was warm and many families were enjoying themselves in the surf (photo). We are now at sea for two days and then have one day sailing down the Amazon River to our next port of call, Santarem Brazil, which we reach on Friday.

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