The beautiful game - samba style!
Brazil is synonymous with the World Cup - as five-time winner and the only nation to have played in the final stages of all 20 tournaments since the first event in Uruguay back in 1930.
This year 12 stadiums, from the Amazon Basin in the north to the banks of the River Guaiba in the south, play host to the matches and the travelling carnival that is the FIFA World Cup!
With kick off just a few weeks away, the Flexicover Team takes a closer look at some of the host cities.
Hosting England’s first game of the World Cup against Italy on 14th June, this city in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, the ‘Paris of the Tropics’, is a metropolis the size of Birmingham, with a climate that’s pretty much either wet or not. Temperatures run from around 28ºC, though in the dry season highs can reach 40ºC, and even then, you can expect the odd deluge. The most popular attraction in the city is the Teatro Amazonas, a beautiful opera house built during the heyday of the rubber trade with materials from all over the world, including French glass and Italian marble. Another must-see is the Encontro das Águas (‘Meeting of Waters’), an amazing natural phenomenon where the dark, almost black, waves of the River Negro meet the murky brown waters of the River Solimões. Due to the contrasting ph levels the waters run side by side for nearly 20km without merging before they finally coalesce and become part of the Amazon River!
São Paulo, popularly known as Sampa, hosts game 2 of England’s World Cup adventure versus Uruguay on 19th June. It’s the largest city in South America, with approximately 20 million inhabitants in the metropolitan area. The economic powerhouse of Brazil has a huge ethnic diversity, which makes it a gastronomic hub too. Most of the world's cuisines are covered, from Portuguese and Japanese to French and Lebanese, while Brazilian churrascarias are a carnivore's dream with all-you-can-eat skewers of barbecued meats and impressive salad buffets - you'll not go hungry! Besides the food, the city is bursting with tourist attractions - the Japanese district of Liberdade, the Ibirapuera Park and several high-profile shopping malls – some of which even house theatres and expositions!
Belo Horizonte accommodates England’s last group game against Costa Rica on 24th June and literally means ‘Beautiful Horizon’, which is fitting because of the stunning views of surrounding mountains. Much like Brasilia, this is a planned city although it was the first modern Brazilian city to spring from an architect's drawing board and was constructed in the 1890s to the new state capital of Minas Gerais. The city has several significant cultural landmarks, most notably the Igreja de São Francisco de Assis (‘Church of St Francis of Assisi’) designed by Brazil's most famous architect, Oscar Niemeyer and sits on a serene artificial lake amid towering palms. BH, the city's nickname pronounced "Beagá", is also known as the national bar capital - it has more bars per capita than any other big city in Brazil – offering a surprising and simmering nightlife, able to cater for a great variety of tastes!
Recife is located on the Atlantic coast, close to the equator and among tropical forests, which means it will be warm. However, June and July is also the middle of the rainy season and when it rains in Recife… it really rains - on average for 224 days a year (nearly double that of Manchester)! Sometimes called the Brazilian Venice for its many rivers and canals, Recife is famous for its 8km Boa Viagem Beach, which is widely regarded as one of the best city beaches in South America. But when it comes to local landmarks, one of the most famous attractions is not actually in the city itself - it's the historic town of Olinda, a UNESCO heritage site 8km north, and one of the best preserved Dutch colonial cities in the country, filled with colourful houses, churches, galleries and museums!
Curitiba, which translates from Portuguese as ‘many pine trees’, is located in the south of the country on a plateau surrounded by rocky hills, including the Serra do Mar. Regarded as one of the prettiest and most desirable cities in Brazil to live, it’s a lot cooler than the more northerly host cities with average temperatures of 8-18°C in June. Curitiba is known as Brazil's ‘Green Capital’ with 30 municipal parks as well as dozens of squares, gardens and other open spaces. It’s also famous for its open-air food markets and, due to the many immigrants that have settled in the city including German, Polish, Italian, Japanese and other South Americans, the local cuisine is both varied and delicious!
Whether you’re travelling to the World Cup or heading in completely the other direction, we at
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