WIth over 11 million people, Sao Paulo is the biggest city in South America. In the end of December 2018, I spent 10 days here before going to Rio de Janeiro for New Year's.
I had planned to go straight to Rio, but it seemed quite packed with tourists, and very expensive over Christmas. So I chose to spend those days in Sao Paulo, working and talking with family&friends over the holidays.
I got a very nice Airbnb in Copan - a landmark building in the center of the city, designed by Brasil's famous architect Niemeyer. The apartment was on the 23rd floor and the view was amazing! I also got to go on the roof of the building to get a 360 degree view of this monster city.
I'm not a big city girl, especially if the place doesn't have access to a beach or soome kind of nature. But I did enjoy Sao Paulo - the variety of restaurants (vegan ones too!), the shopping, and the museums & cultural activities.
Let's start with the restaurants. OMG. First of all, most places here have the typical buffet system, where you fill your own plate with all the food you want, and pay by weight. Why doesn't this system exist in other countries??
The vegan restaurants in Sao Paulo are some of the best I've seen. Panda Vegano was one of my favs. Vegan asian food with all kinds of plant-based protein: tofu, tempeh, seitan... Lotus was also great - they serve perfect vegan versions of typical Chinese dishes. With tofu, mock meat, mock fish etc. Nutrisom was an all-you-can-eat place, where you pay once and then you have free access to all the food inside... Very healthy and balanced dishes with lots of vegetables and raw ingredients. Here I had garlic pudding!
I also got to visit the Coffee Lab, a perfect place for a coffee nerd like me. I got to try "microroasts" brewed with various pour-over devices.
Walking along Avenida Paulista on a Sunday was great! It's a huge road that gets closed off on Sundays - no cars, just pedestrians, market stalls, food, and concerts everywhere :)
Shopping was nice too. I'm definitely not an impulsive shopper, and I'm trying to be as minimalist as possible... But I just love the fashion in Brazil! I ended up buying several tops and skirts/shorts here.
Also, crystals. Brazil has lots of crystals, they are sold everywhere. Here's my crystal collection so far....
And of course I visited some museums. I'm an art nerd so seeing another Monet in person made me very very happy. I also got introduced to Rubem Valentim: an Afro-Brazilian artist from Bahia, who paints abstract geometric representations of Bahian and African mythology.
I also saw the Beco do Batman - several small alleys covered in amazing grafitti. Unfortunately the place was swarmed with tourists taking selfies.
I took a lot of time to relax in my apartment, especially over Christmas. The city was completely dead during those days, like something out of a post-apocalyptic movie!
My 10 days in Sao Paulo passed quickly. On the 31st on December, I woke up at 4am and left my Aribnb, then got on a plane to Rio de Janeiro, going to the biggest New Year Celebration in my life :)