During my gap year, I lived in a culturally rich neighbourhood called Santo
Antônio de Lisboa. A community which is named after the Saint Anthony of
Padua, who is known as the patron saint of lost things (which was very
adequate after losing my peace somewhere in the IB exams and transitioning)
and as a marriage saint according to my host father.
*Let’s take a walk together. *
My family lived a 20-30 minutes walk away from the town centre, a pretty
walk among pretty houses, four restaurants and a cupcake café. Also, two
goiaba trees. When you come to the centre, you will find an elegant old
church from the times when the first Azorean immigrants populated the
island. Next to the church, which is called “Igreja Nossa Senhora das
Necessidades”, there is a little blue and yellow house. In that house,
there is today a restaurant and bar called “Açores Bar e Restaurante”. Next
to that, is my favourite art museum/shop in the town, “Casa Açoriana”.
Believe it or not, this little town is home to several artists (among them
two of my host dad’s brothers and one of his cousins, if not more!) and to
5 art shops (it is possible that I missed one too).
I am sitting in the small park with my back towards the ocean while facing
the church. Next to the church, is “Açores Bar e Restaurante”.
After walking past the church, you turn left and continue 50 meters down to
the beach. A majestic tree provides shadow from the burning sun as you sit
down beneath it. In front of you, is the beach, the ocean and several
anchored boats. Right now, you are admiring one of the most famous views on
the island of Florianópolis. Especially if it is a good day and you choose
to stay to watch the sunset! Since you chose to stay for a while under the
tree you managed to spot one pregnant couple, two other couples (one of
them in wedding outfits) and one huge family all in the company of a
photographer. Just a normal day in Santo Antônio.
You get up from sitting down under the tree and walk the street along the
ocean. Along this street, you can smell delicious oysters, shrimps, fish,
pirão de peixe, feijão, churrasco, pão de queijo, coxinha… Here, for an
expensive price, you can enjoy a southern Brazilian dinner next to the
ocean. Personally, I prefer my host mom’s and host aunt’s cooking over an
over-priced dinner out (I am already drooling…).
Before it gets dark you walk the same road back home. Though, it takes a
bit longer because you feel that you have to stop and admire the view of
the ocean as the sun sets and colours the sky pink. Almost home, you find a
little alley that leads you to a small strip of the beach and you sit down
to watch the sun work its way down behind the horizon. You wander away in
your thoughts and as you return to present you discover that the colour of
the sky has turned deeply red and pink, its beauty makes you smile.
Suddenly, the sun is gone and you walk the last 200 meters to home. As you
are arriving at the street of my host parents house, you notice that the
street is called “Servidão Agenor José de Andrade” same name as my host
dad’s father. Along that street, you walk past a museum and cultural
centre, “Casarão e Engenho dos Andrades”, where my host family had
meetings, practised and performed “Boi de mamão”, and received school kids
to educate about the açorean heritage. The museum was also my favourite
place in Brazil, especially in the company of members of my host family, as
well as the place where I danced “Boi de mamão” for national TV and a
recording for a documentary about Brazilian culture. On the same street,
you greet my host aunt, that waves from her kitchen, and my host uncle who
is gardening outside the museum (which also is his house). Also, you see
another uncle reading in his living room, a host cousin and his son coming
home with the red car, and lastly, the dogs say welcome back with a choir
of barking. You calm down the excited dogs with kisses and hugs.
Afterwards, you meet my host family ready to have some “café de tarde”,
which means cake, fried banana, pão de queijo or bread and coffee. Because
dinner is not until 10 pm.
Santo Antônio stole my heart with its beauty. I found this community
incredibly rich in culture and preserved history, and I was lucky to be
placed in a family famous in the town for its cultural practices and deep
roots. A family which fully opened their arms to me and invited me to dance
“Boi de mamão” with them, produce and perform a witch parade for Carnaval,
and share traditional açorian cousine.
As you might tell, I learnt a lot about the history, cultural practices and
food from the area. At the same time, I grew to understand that Brazilian
culture is incredibly rich and diverse (thanks to the variety of
nationalities that immigrated to Brazil, among them a small population of
Swedes!). Because of that, the Brazil that I experienced during this year
is neither “Brazil” nor “southern Brazil”, it is rather limited to
Florianópolis. A small fraction of a complex country in South America.
Thank you for reading this blog post! I hope you enjoyed it, and if there
are any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to me through my
Until the next blog post (2 more to go!!),
Take care of yourself and the people around you!
*Opa! Before you go, enjoy these snapshots of Santo Antônio that I prepared
for you! *
My first evening in Santo Antônio was spent with my host sister and we were
blessed with a gorgeous sunset.
The church “Igreja Nossa Senhora das Necessidades”, and behind it is the
public school Paulo Fontes where I worked.
Outside the art shop/museum “Casa Açoriana” with a group of students from
the school I volunteered at, the art teacher and the owner of the
Some of the witch masks that we produced during the week before carnival.
In the background, there is an avocado tree! (Sadly, I missed the season by
a few days…).
One of the two main streets in Santo Antonio during a normal day. A
clubhouse, a ceramic store, a small supermarket, a café (with the kindest
employees on earth), a bar, a cultural house, the museum/shop, another
three restaurants, and then you reach the crossroad in front of the church.
The same street as above, though, during Carnaval week. If you look
closely, you can spot the cross on top of the church in the background.
During one night of Carnaval, more than 70 000 people were dancing on these
streets of Santo Antônio! Among this crowd, I succeeded to spot a group of
A little square. On Sundays, this place is filled with a small market of
books, antiques, handmade decorations, and an old man with his tarot cards
and pendel. Other than that, this was the first cobblestone square in
Florianópolis due to a king’s visit back in the days!
Closer to the end of the square, is the spot where postcard three is made.
A beautiful sunset and a couple-photoshoot. This was one of my last
evenings in Santo Antõnio…
Another view of the beach.