Day 26: Olinda
A last steep climb brings me out in front of the Alto da Sé Cathedral and to a breathtaking view over the city and across the water to the vast spread of tower blocks that is the skyline of Recife, incomparably more huge than Olinda.
There are enjoyments to be found in a small town and one of these is an early evening stroll through largely traffic-free streets to watch an unhurried world coming together at the end of the day. I discover the modest charms of the Bodega de Véio, a local pub, corner café and general store combined. There isn't much room inside, but what there is is packed with everything you could ever want. And customers are treated like family, and encouraged to stay and chat.
As well as selling brooms and batteries and babies' nappies, the staff behind the counter dispense beer, cachaça or whisky, whilst cutting up cheese and slicing ham and sausage snacks to eat with them. As you eat and drink you can ruminate on shelves stacked to the ceiling with rulers, biros, pet food, tampons, cans of Red Bull, bathroom mirrors, cigarette lighters, postcards, stamps, umbrellas, shovels, school notebooks and hairbrushes. And somehow there is still space for photos of the family who have owned and run the shop for generations. The Bodega de Véio is a place to meet and gossip and very few people who go inside seem to want to come out.
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- Series: Brazil
- Chapter: Day 26: Olinda
- Country/sea: Brazil
- Place: Olinda
- Book page no: 114
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