Recife was founded in 1537 during the Portuguese colonisation of Brazil. It is the capital and largest city of the state Pernambuco in the Northeast of Brazil. It is characterised by its many rivers, bridges and islands. As of that it is called the “Brazilian Venice”.
The city has three main areas:
The tourist and beach areas
The old town
We recommend visiting the old town and beaches the most. The old town takes you back to colonial architecture and 18th century churches which mix with modern refurbished warehouses with restaurants, galleries and museums.
An unexpected trip for both of us was a short boat ride leaving in front of the art museum costing R$10 (£2) to a pier wall with sculptures. The sculptures themselves are fascinating with the varied shapes in and materials used as well as the waves against the breakers.
We climbed up to the top of the wall and got absolutely soaked – Susannah got drenched – but at least we got a good photo opportunity!
If you are up for something more adventurous than walking the colonial streets, add this to your to do list.
On Sundays, the old city area is mostly blocked off and pedestrians can roam freely with musicians and local stalls filling the streets.
There is also a number of statues celebrating the culture and historical persons. Why not try and take some photos with them all?
Another place to visit is the Cultural Muesum. This mostly focuses on the music and stories of people in the surrounding areas. This was voted Trip Advisors Travellers Top Destination in 2016 and costs R$10 for entry.
In Recife we learned a valuable lesson… research the area you are staying in.
All Brazilian cities have their mix of poor and richer areas with varied rates of crime and safety.
We had arranged to stay with a local guy for free in his home. When we arrived, the area looked a lot like a favela and seemed unsafe. After stopping and looking up the area on Google, we discovered this was a area of high crime and that our gut feelings were correct.
Luckily, we booked ourselves into a wonderful hostel that supported us when we arrived.
For both of us, this was a stressful moment and we know now to always ask “is your area safe” before confirming a stay.
Quick fire questions:
Q: Where did we stay?
A: Cosmapolotian Hostel (was our review)
Q: Is Recifezz Safe?
A: Yes! Along the beaches and the old town are very safe for tourists. Be aware of entering favelas and if it doesn’t feel righ don’t go there.
Q: What about LGBT?
A: Recife has two gay nightclubs in the city. These are in the old town and are surrounded by other bars and clubs. We never felt unsafe where we were staying or in the tourist zones!
Arran is known for its craft beer, natural aromatics and rolling landscape. For hillwalkers, it is popular for its 2,866ft tall mountain called, Goatfell. The name comes from a gaelic word ‘gaoth’ meaning mountain wind of from the norse wood ‘geita’ meaning goat mountain.
Another more imaginative explanation exists in the folklore of Arran. To look up the story follow this link.
How to get there?
If you are travelling from Glasgow, train times are linked to the ferry crossings from Ardrossan Harbour with the earliest ferry crossings at 8am. The train leaves from Glasgow Central and takes approximately one hour.
Top Tip: Book your tickets online with Scotrail to get a joint ‘rail and sail‘ ticket, to avoid any queues.
Stagecoach runs a bus service to Blackwaterfoot in line with the ferry arrival times. This bus can be busy during peak travel times and return travel to Brodick from the starting/end point can be poor. We ended up walking back to Brodick along the road which doesn’t take more than 30minutes.
A total cost of our trip was:
£7.80 for a return with calmat ferries
£2 single with Stagecoach from Brodick Bus Station
£13.80 open return
£23.60 in total per person.
The Ferry Trip
Caledonian McBraid run ferry services across the Scottish Isles and offer a variety of in-trip offers. My favourite is the full Traditional Scottish Breakfast onboard, a great way to start the trip.
I also recommend going outside to the observation decks and the upstairs seating areas. A nice way to pass a one hour trip, also it can be very windy.
The walk is not complicated and can be completed by amateur and beginner hillwalkers and ramblers. However, the route can be steep and involves a lot of rock hopping at the top!
The main route follows a steep path along the side of the famous Arran Brewery and the Arran Aromatics Factory. takes you through atmospheric woods and also gives an optional path to Brodick Castle.
The next section takes you up to open heather and grass filled moires with steps and path ways to guide you. This section takes the longest but you are rewarded with a fast flowing stream and a small cross bridge. A perfect place to stop and take a short rest and also refill your water bottles. Arran has very safe running natural water and if you choose to fill up any water bottles make sure to pick a part of the stream that has fast flowing white water.
The following section is possibly the most demanding. This is due to the amount of steps and stones you have to navigate. As you climb up the side of Goatfell the views of the island are simply mesmerising.
The last 30mintues to the top are filled with yet more bollards and the path slowly disappears. Many of our fellow hillwalkers we left confused figuring out the route to the summit. My advice is to walk slightly to the side and work your way round and upwards.
The summit of Goatfell is marked by a white ordinate survey stone with a metal engraved map of the surrounding landscape. This is were we chose to have a pre made packed lunch while trying to avoid the flys!
The total time of the hike took 5 1/2 Hours including breaks and time to admire the views on the way.
Goatfell has always been one of my favourite mountains to conquer and is often used by local adventure groups for events and team building. The views at the top are phenomenal and I highly recommend Goatfell for hillwalking enthusiasts and beginners alike. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have brought such a big bag. – Susannah
If you are a little fitter than my girlfriend, you should be able to make it up and back down in roughly 4 hours. Before going away I wanted to see some of the local treasures Scotland has to offer. The reason I asked Susannah to take me on the hike was that all locals seem to love Arran and recommend it highly. I can just do the same! – Nadine