Fortaleza, Brazil

March 12, 2023

Today we took a tour of the highlights of Fortaleza. We were here before, but I was confused about which city it was. I thought it was one of the smaller cities we visited on our Amazon trip. I looked back at the blog, and no, this was a large city, of over 2 million people.

Our guide today was Elder, he said the meaning of his name is “life”. The city is not much different from all of the other Brazilian cities, well, except Rio which is quite beautiful. Elder talked a lot about the oxidation from the salt and said that cars last only 3 – 4 years here. Bikes and TVs can be ruined in a year. The buildings suffer too, there are many that have their beams destroyed. Fortaleza became the first place in Brazil to free the slaves – in 1881- three years before the rest of the country.

An unusual story is about a bar we passed that is open only one day a week, on Mondays. It is called the Pirata Bar and it stays open all night for dancing. I guess the business model works for them since it has been a success for more than 30 years. It is located at Iracema Beach near all of the five star hotels.

Coconuts are found everywhere and are used for drinks.

Our tour went to three places. After a drive through the city and along the beaches, we went to the Se Cathedral, which looked like kind of a mess from the outside. It is made of concrete and is pretty discolored. It is built in the Gothic style and was inspired by the Notre Dame in Paris. It was quite beautiful inside without a lot of the glitzy gold that we have seen in other churches. There was a Sunday mass going on while we were there and the singing was beautiful. The cathedral has 270 beautiful stained glass windows which were imported from Germany. They go all around the cathedral and are depictions of all the saints. The cathedral took 40 years to build.

Statue of St. Joseph

Our next stop was to the Emcetur, another former prison repurposed into a handicraft market. This one had large outdoor courtyards and three buildings with many of the same products we have seen all through Brazil. There are always embroidered and woven dresses, blouses and lace tablecloths as well as the usual tourist items. Shoes are a big item here and very reasonable in price. I bought some local cashews (there are cashew trees all over the area) and a green t-shirt since I didn’t bring one and St. Patrick’s day is coming up! I don’t generally wear a lot of green. We also had a tasting of the local liquor, Cachaca.

The last stop was the Teatro Jose de Alencar, the theater that is named for the great 19th century novelist and poet who was a native of Fortaleza. The theater was originally an outdoor theater and the courtyard is still there, but it was remade into an indoor theater. The iron work and the caned seats were an interesting feature. Elder shared that in the past, the ladies would go upstairs to a small room and then come down the stairs to the waiting gentlemen and proceed into the theater.

It was another hot day, but although the clouds looked a bit threatening, there was only a brief shower before we got off the ship. There is very little rain here and the temperature stays almost the same all year. On the way back to the ship we saw this interesting sculpture but we didn’t really get the meaning. Something about women’s empowerment!

We had dinner with Mui, Erin, Sonia and Boris and then went to the Oscar party where our entertainment team and the guest Celtic violinist, E Sarah Carter, performed Oscar winning songs from past years. The lounge was decorated and there was even a red carpet, lots of drinks and snacks including popcorn. The awards ceremony was broadcast on three screens. I didn’t stay until the end because of the time difference here, but will find out how we did on our guesses of the winners tomorrow.

We will start our Atlantic crossing on Monday and will have three time changes in the next three days, adding an hour tonight, Tuesday and Thursday.

This entry was posted in Excursions, March, South America, World Cruise #4. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Fortaleza, Brazil

  1. Rick & Marilen Beaman says:

    The last time we cruised across the Atlantic – the Captain had the ship’s time changed the time in middle of the day (around 2pm) not at the usual 2 am – that way we didn’t lose an hour of sleep. Unless of course if you were taking a mid-day nap.


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