Santos is the first city we visited after moving to São Paulo. Yes, people. We live in Brazil now, so in the next four years, you can expect us to write more about Latin America.
Santos is the port that ships most of the world’s coffee. It’s also a charming industrial town, known for the longest beach-front garden in the world, coffee and, as it turned out, pizza made with green banana dough.
Industrial towns are no doubt an acquired taste: Santos is no different. By Brazilian standards, Santos is a small town of around half a million people, twice the size of Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana. Still, the first paved road in the country led there. The town’s hazy atmosphere, beautiful old buildings, coffee museum, tourist tram tours and a restaurant with a resident jazz band were a few of the things to add to its charm.
We loved the food at Tasca do Porto. Portions there are enormous, though. Several pieces of fish in passion fruit sauce, a full plate of rice with palmito and a full plate of farofa with shrimp is apparently a portion for one person. The food was delicious: we ended up taking home a whole dinner in a doggy bag. A bonus: you can try a shot of their licor de merda (aka crap liquor). Many people seem to steal the shot glass, so the bottom of it already pronounces: ‘I was stolen.’
Like many Brazilian cities, Santos, too, has a dangerous side, which is why after the sun goes down most tourists don’t go to the centre. Unless, of course, they’d like to experience more violence and drug-related shootouts.
We, however, preferred to take a coffee tram tour (tasting included) and long walks on the sandy beach, perfect for drinking coffee, freshly squeezed fruit juices and wondering what the heck is beach tennis. If you’re wondering, it’s a sort of badminton over a volleyball net.
For a good view of the city, you can take a funicular up to Monte Serrat, a hill just above the city centre with a small church and an old former casino/hotel, now a café.
We found Brazilian food somewhat irresistible: expect more posts on the topic. A mix of African, Italian, Portuguese and Asian (especially Japanese) cultures among others, makes Brazil a great culinary destination.
The green banana pizza dough that we tried at Kokimbos was definitely the discovery of the month. It’s thin and crunchy and tastes no different than any of the usual pizza dough, though it’s supposedly much healthier. Like in many Brazilian pizza places, you can choose several flavours on one pizza, which is usually shared among two or more people.
So, if you’d like to enjoy a sense of timelessness over a great cup of coffee, then Santos is a place to go.