Sep 2, 2010

Curitiba, a southern taste of Brazil

by Antonella Kann

It was my first time in the capital of the state of Paraná. Unfortunately, I only had one night and one day – Sunday evening and a Monday!

But, on Sunday evening, when I arrived, the best restaurants in town - the starred Durski, elected the best in the south of Brazil, the French L ` Épicerie, the German Cantinho do Einsbein and the Italian Villa Marcolini - were closed. We ended up in a very busy, popular and quite good Japanese ( Taisho) devouring traditional sushi.

Yes, you must have noticed that there´s a pot-pourri of nationalities in this town. All European immigration leaving their footprints in the gastronomy. By the way, Curitiba is also famous as one of the gourmet capitals. And also about their architecture and local culture.

But this is a small town – some label it as provincial - compared to other capitals in Brazil and therefore the week begins on Tuesday and ends on Saturday night.

The same happens about museums, which would have been a good alternative for a Monday morning. But the interesting Museu Oscar Niemeyer ( R. Marechal Hermes,999) was also closed.

Fortunately, the day was sunny and warm ( much too warm for this time of the year, mind you, it´s still winter!!) so I decided to go for a stroll in the Historic Center, or, “Old Town”.
The very charming 18th century Largo da Ordem, a public place with a fountain, where farmers used to come and offer their fresh produces. Nowadays, there´s a market every Sunday morning, which sells artcrafts and hand painted ceramics.

At ten o´clock in the morning, there wasn´t much to do besides going into every small café or shop which would eventually be opened. I ended up sipping a coffee in the Depósito da Ordem, visited the sympathetic Solar do Rosário. Inside, there´s a restaurant, a small library and an art gallery.

By mid-afternoon, before going to the airport, I went to the Botanical Garden and this green area is really amazing. Many people come just to have a look at the manicured gardens – called French Gardens, a kind-of-Versailles-outfit – but mainly to feel the romantic and inspiring atmosphere. I´ve never seen so many couples kissing and hugging as in this park

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