Last week I went to a conference in São Leopoldo, an hour away from Porto Alegre, the largest city in Rio Grande de Sul (the southern-most state of Brazil) and the home of the World Social Forum. I budgeted half a day in Porto Alegre before the conference and half a day after. On a Sunday afternoon Porto Alegre was rather mellow, with most stores closed (though their spaces often taken by street vendors). I didn’t find any “must see” sites, but it was a pleasant day. It was warm for “winter” (20°C rather than 10° on other days that week), so many people were sitting outside in the streets just enjoying the sun.
The pictures feature two churches that I came across (one undergoing serious restoration), a military museum (Brazil is still proud of decimating Paraguay in 19th century) and an empty market square. Not featured: a surprisingly extensive but utterly disorganized Miró exhibition, street vendors chanting “CD, DVD! CD, DVD!” (it appears that one could buy any software or any recent movie there), people walking around sipping “chimarrão” (my own “chimarrão” gear coming soon) and an internet café where one can actually get a coffee to drink while checking email.