Brazil is, truly, a dazzling beauty. With 60% of the Amazon rainforest, 1/3 of the world's unique species, more than 2,000 beaches and iconic natural and man-made wonders such as Iguazu Falls, the magnificent statue of Christ the Redeemer, exuberant Carnival, sultry boss nova, the iconic Copacabana, Ipanema and hundreds of other beaches, and endless other wonders, Brazil's beauty and diversity surprises and delights.
We were blessed to spend time in Florianopolis, and were awed by its more than 40 beautiful beaches, and the serene beauty of Campeche beach, ("our beach"), during "the blue hour". In Curitiba, we enjoyed the beautiful gardens and extraordinary art in the Oscar Niemeyer Museum. In Salvador, the centre of Afro-Brazilian culture in Bahia state, we wandered the cobblestone streets of Pelhourinho, stood slack-jawed in the baroque beauty of Convento Sao Francisco, and absorbed the pulsing energy of the batuque drums on "Music Tuesday". And in beautiful Rio, we gazed in awe at the statue of Christ the Redeemer, the sun and life of Copacabana and Ipanema, and the heart-rending view of the city beneath a pink-blue-mauve mist from our perch on Sugarloaf Mountain.
In Brazilian Journal, the memoir of her time in Brazil, poet P.K. Page asked: "Does place alter person? Its like falling in love -- with the country itself." And Designer Francisco Costa said: "Brazil is not what you see, but what you feel." For us, Brazil's most dazzling beauty was this: the lovingkindness shown to us by wonderful Brazilian people who welcomed us warmly, generously shared their homes and life with us, and are now cherished friends, who we "feel with our hearts".
Here's to appreciating and savouring beauty, wherever we are blessed to find it, and treasuring the greatest beauty of all: love, and "the dissolving boundaries of our narrow human self."