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Terra à vista! Santa Cruz Cabralia

To get to Santa Cruz Cabralia we anchored in front of Santo Andrè, also sadly known as Villa do Sete a Um (Seven to One).  It’s here that the German team had its Head Quarters during the Brazil Soccer World Cup.  And everybody knows how it ended up for Brazil.

The entrance in the river is pretty easy, differently from Porto Seguro.  There are sand banks to be avoided, and it’s kind of weird having to motor up parallel and so close to the reef, but nothing like Porto Seguro.  You just need to time it with the tide, that’s all.

We dropped the anchor in front of the restaurant La Gaviota, highly recommended by our friend Allan Ward.  The anchorage provided good shelter from the cold front passing by.  And it was an excellent base to visit Santa Cruz Cabralia, named after Pedro Álvares Cabral of course.

The church on top on top of the hill has an interesting characteristic:  It has only one tower (all churches seen so far in Brazil have two).  The shape of the tower roof is conical.  The reason for the church having only one tower was tax avoidance:  The church was considered incomplete without the second tower.  I still don’t know the reason about the conical shape of the tower’s roof, but I heard that there is only one other tower like this in Brazil, and it’s in Salvador de Bahia.  We’ll verify when we get there.

Santa Cruz Cabralia church

Beside the church there are the remains of a building that for some obscure reasons was never completed.  What is interesting here is that you can see how the Portuguese used not only bricks but also the bones of the whales, their oil and also charcoal for building walls.

Speaking of buildings:  Brazilians when they see something that it’s not done properly,  they use the idiomatic expression “feito nas coxas”, literally “made with the thighs”.

Apparently the origin of this expression is that during the colonial times the Portuguese had the slave make roof tiles and to give it the typical shape they had them use their thighs.  So that’s why roof tiles where all different in size, according to the legs of the man that made them.  Who knows if this is true or just a legend…

Santa Cruz Cabralia ruins

The town of Santa Cruz Cabralia was built on two levels: On the lower level, on the bank of the river Joao de Tiba, lived the fishermen.  Up on the hill where the church is, lived the powerful people.

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The fish market on the river bank was very lively when we arrived:

I didn’t get much from their conversation, but what I think what’s going on here is that this guy with the big plastic bag is asking for leftover fish, and the guy cleaning the fish is telling him to go get a job instead.

I guess you see characters like this on in any fish market of the world!

Next stop? Ilheus!

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