Brazil sensational

Cristo REdentos

About Brazil

Brazil is the largest country in Latin America. It spreads across almost half (47.3%) of South America, and occupies a total area of 8,547,403.5 km2. It is the fifth largest country in the world after Canada, the Russian Federation, China and the United States. Except for a small number of islands, Brazil is a single and continuous landmass. The Equator crosses through the Northern region, near Macapá, and the Tropic of Capricorn cuts through the South of the country, near São Paulo.


The official language is Portuguese; the accent and the intonation, however, are very different from what one hears in Portugal and other former Portuguese colonies. Some people say that Brazilians speak “Brazilian”, just like Americans can say they speak “American”, and not English. And there are also many Brazilians who are descendants of immigrants and who speak German and Italian, especially in towns in southern Brazil.

It’s people


The mixture of races has made Brazil a culturally rich and at the same time unique country. This miscegenation began with the Indian, the African and the Portuguese, but soon after, immigrants from around the world began to arrive: Europeans, Asians, Jews and Arabs. The result is a happy people, open to everything new, a people one can only find in Brazil.

Because of this massive diversity, Brazil is one of the last places on Earth where no one is a foreigner, where one can change one’s destiny without losing one’s identity and where each and every Brazilian has a little of the entire world in his or her blood. This may be the reason why Brazilian’s welcome people from another land so openly. According to surveys carried out with foreign tourists who visited the country, 97.2% intend to return soon; 56.5% had their expectations completely satisfied; and, for 31.7%, it exceeded their expectations in every way. As you can see, those who come to Brazil become fans on their first visit.

Electricity Voltage

Electricity voltages vary from one state to another. Check the voltage before connecting any electrical appliance to an outlet.

Car Hire

All the well known car hire firms have counters at the country’s main airports and in the main urban centers. Tourists may also book cars through their travel agencies.

The tourist may opt to take an ordinary taxi easily found in the streets or through radio taxi services. It is recommended that accredited taxi services at the airports and at points nearby the main hotels be given priority. It is not usual in Brazil to tip a taxi driver although it is common to round off the amount and let the driver keep the change as a gratuity.

Most bars and restaurants include a service charge of 10% in the Bill. It is usual to leave a little extra if the service has been satisfactory. When no service charge has been included then a tip of 10% to 15% is the general rule.


The currency used in Brazil is called the Real (R$) and the foreign exchange rate is published daily in the newspapers and other specialized sites. Foreign currency may be exchanged at banks, travel agencies and authorized hotels. Travellers’ cheques as well as currencies are easily exchanged at these locations. International credit cards are accepted at most hotels, restaurants, stores, travel agencies, car rental companies and other companies that render services to tourists. A floating exchange rate is used.

To make an international call, dial: 00 + operator code* + country code + area code (if there is one) + telephone number For reverse charge international calls dial 0800 7032111.


The climate is predominantly tropical with some variation according to the region. The average annual temperature in the north is 28º C and 22º C in the south.

Time Zones

Because of its continental dimensions Brazil has 4 time zones. The official time is Brasília time and it corresponds to 3 hours less than GMT. From September to February the clocks are put forward one hour in most Brazilian States.

Passport and Visa

The visa is a federal permission for a foreigner to enter Brazil. For most countries, it is only issued overseas; but for some, entry and permanence in Brazilian territory is authorized for a determined amount of time, defined according to the purpose of the trip.

However, all foreigners who wish to stay longer in Brazil or who were born in countries that do not have an agreement with Brazil‚ Ministry of Foreign Affairs should request a visa. It is advisable to consult necessary requirements beforehand, because the process may take a few days to be completed.

The visas are granted to foreigners who come to Brazil for reasons that include diplomatic missions, official trips, tourism, to visit friends and family, business, participation in sport and artistic events, as well as their presence in international seminars and conferences.

The foreign visitor shall fill in the Visa Request Form, available in Portuguese, Spanish, French and English, individually, that is, even if the tourist is taking a minor, said minor shall fill in his/her own form. And if the minor is coming to Brazil without his/her parents or guardian, he/she needs to present an authorization with the signature of both parents.

The request for an entry visa to Brazil can be made at any Brazilian consulate overseas. A fee must be paid, which varies according to the type of visa requested and the amount of time the tourist will remain in the country.

It is important to remember that the passport must be valid for at least six more months, from the date the visa is requested. A recent 3×4 or 5×7 colored photo with white background must also be presented.

When the visa is not required it is possible to enter and remain in the country for a specific period of time without a visa so long as the visitor passport is valid. This permission is derived from diplomatic agreements signed between Brazil and some countries, and it is classified according to the purpose of each trip.


Vaccination against Yellow Fever The vaccination against Yellow Fever is recommended to all national and foreign tourists travelling to the following Brazilian areas: all states and municipalities in the Northern region (Acre, Amazonas, Rondônia, Roraima, Amapá, Pará, Tocantins) and Centre-West (Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Goiás and the Federal District); all municipalities of Maranhão and Minas Gerais; the municipalities on the south part of Piauí, west and south part of Bahia; north of Espírito Santo; northwest of Sao Paulo; and west part of the states of Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul. It is worth noticing that almost the entire Brazilian coast is considered free of contamination risk. That area stretches from Rio Grande do Sul to Piauí, except for the north of Espírito Santo and south of Bahia. International travellers: Brazil does not require the International Vaccination or Prophylaxis Certificate to enter the country.


Don’t forget: it is necessary to be vaccinated at least 10 days prior to travelling.

Doubts and other vaccines For further clarifications and information on vaccination in Brazil, please refer to the Brazilian Consulate or Brazilian Embassy nearest to you.

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Man greeting Man – Men shake hands when greeting one another, while maintaining steady eye contact.  At a first meeting a handshake will suffice but it usually lasts slightly longer than the typical North American handshake.  Hugging and backslapping are common greetings among Brazilian friends.

Man greeting Woman – If a woman wishes to shake hands with a man, she should extend her hand first.  It is common for men and woman to exchange kisses on the cheek when first meeting in social situations.  This is often accompanied with a touch on the arm and shoulder. Some Brazilians kiss one cheek, but most kiss two or three times (alternating cheeks).

Woman greeting Woman 
– Women generally kiss each other, starting with the left cheek and then switching to the right cheek. Some kiss one cheek, but most kiss two or three times (alternating cheeks).

Personal Space & Touching

  • Light touching and close proximity are construed
    as signs of general friendship (as opposed to romantic intimacy). There is      also a fair amount of touching between man and women and women and women      while conversing.  This      includes hand on shoulders, hand on arms, and hand on hands.
  • Brazilians tend to stand much closer to each      other than their North American counterparts.  Usually one to two feet      apart is normal.

Eye Contact

  • Brazilians favor direct eye contact over      indirect.  However, service people such as maids, delivery people,      repair people, etc., will often avoid eye contact when dealing with people      they are serving or working for.
  • During conversations sustained eye contact is      commonplace rather than intermittent.  They associate a steady      gaze with sincerity.
  • Brazilians tend to look at each other often      in public places/situations (on a bus, in the elevator, etc.)

Views Of Time


  • Brazilians view time as something flexible.  They put more emphasis on people,      relationships, and completion of transactions rather than set schedules.
  • While the bus, train, and plane schedules are      generally adhered to, showing up late to a party or social function is      quite common.
  • While some North Americans view the Brazilian      perception of time and acceptance of tardiness as a lack of caring, many      Brazilians wonder why North Americans are more attentive to schedules than      to human needs.


  • The inverted American “OK” sign is an obscene      gesture.
  • Making a fist with one hand and slapping the top      of it with the other once or twice means screw you and “I got      screwed” or “I screwed up”.
  • It’s best to not start into business discussion      before the host does; meetings usually begin with casual cha.
  • It’s good to wait to bring up the topics      related  to politics, poverty, religion, or the Rain Forest until      trust has been established.

Taken from:


Come and see for yourself!!!

Rio 2016

How Rio will Create the Venues for the Summer Olympics!

The Rio 2016 Olympics master plan includes the construction of the Olympic village, numerous stadiums and sports venues, a high performance light rail train, and several connecting highways. This ambitious plan calls for major infrastructure additions and improvements all over the city, clustered around the four main Olympics venues of Deodoro, Maracanã , Copacabana, and Barra da Tijuca. These venues will be linked by the train and new highways.

More than half of Rio 2016’s venues are already built. They include state-of-the-art facilities constructed for the 2007 Pan and Parapan American Games: the magnificent João Havelange Stadium (the proposed 2016 venue for Athletics), the Maria Lenk Aquatic Centre, the Rio Olympic Arena (which will host Gymnastics and Wheelchair Basketball), the Rio Olympic Velodrome, the National Equestrian Center and its close neighbor, the National Shooting Center.

The Olympic village in Barra da Tijuca will be part of Rio’s long term development plan. Athletes will enjoy modern living facilities and a private beach! The Barra cluster will hold 50% of the 2016 Olympic competitions and there will be plenty of entertainment for spectators.

The lush Deodoro section of Rio will host equestrian, pentathlon, shooting, fencing, and other competitions. This is also where the Extreme Sports Park will be built, as well as the BMX Mountain Biking Center and the canoe-kayak slalom.

The Maracanã area of the city will host the opening and closing ceremonies, soccer, track and field, and volleyball. These events will occur in the recently built João Havelange Stadium, the world famous Maracanã Stadium, and in Maracanãzinho Arena.

Near Copacabana, sailing competitions will take place in Marina da Gloria. Running and biking races will be held beneath Sugarloaf Mountain along beautiful Guanabara Bay, which is adjacent to the lovely Urca neighborhood. A little further down the coast, in the sands of famous Copacabana Beach, a stadium will be constructed for Beach Volleyball competitions. Triathlon and Marathon swimming will occur near Posto 6 on Copacabana Beach, near Arpoador.

Although no competitive events will occur in the upscale Ipanema Beachneighborhood, this is where many tourists and visitors will want to find lodging. Just behind the Ipanema neighborhood, rowing and canoe-kayak racing will take place in the beautiful Rodrigo Freitas salt water lagoon (The Lagoa).

Check back with us often, as we update the site with the latest information and developments for the Rio 2016 Olympics!

See below, the Rio de Janeiro Master Plan Olympic games video presentation and conceptual images of the various Olympic venues. (Courtesy of the Rio 2016 Olympics Committee).

Rio de Janeiro Brazil 2016 Olympic Village

Rio de Janeiro Brazil 2016 Olympic Village Beach!

The 2016 Olympics BMX Mountain Bike Center

Maracanã Stadium and Maracanãzinho Arena complex

Marina da Gloria – site of 2016 Olympic sailing competitions

Beach Volleyball Stadium on Copacabana Beach

Pin Trading London 2012

My close friends already know how crazy I am about mug, I collect them, all kinds of mugs. And there is another thing I enjoy (not as much as mugs off course) and there is pins.

And it was only recently that I found out how big PIN trading is during the Olympic Games.

Beyond the actual athletic competitions, perhaps no other activity draws as much fan interest at the Olympic Games than the fascinating pastime of Olympic pin trading. Both a leisurely diversion and an adventurous pursuit, pin trading has become an enjoyable way to meet others from around the world and take home a reminder of the Olympic Games.


Pin trading also has taken on near-monolithic proportions at the Olympic Games. From the moment they arrive, countless neophyte fans and seasoned collectors get caught up in the frenzy of buying and exchanging Olympic lapel pins. One of the first things noticed by travelers to the Games is virtually everyone in the host city is sporting pins on their shirts, jackets, caps, scarves or vests. Some people even wear special sashes or carry pocketed towels or soft, customized cases adorned with pins, which they can lay out at a moment’s notice for the inquisitive tourist.


The sight of athletes, officials, media, residents and even local shopkeepers and delivery crews all wearing and trading various pins in the host city has become so prevalent that the hobby has unofficially become “the No. 1 spectator sport of the Olympic Games.” And, since 1988, the hotbeds for this hottest of fan amusements have been the Coca-Cola Official Olympic Pin Trading Centers, characteristically situated in the heart of the most-popular gathering spots in the host cities of the Games.

And we from “More Than Gold” will also be there with our pins.


I AMsterdam

Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands with a population of 790,654 within city limits, and located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country.

Amsterdam’s name is derived from Amstelredamme, indicative of the city’s origin: a dam in the river Amstel.

The 17th-century canals of Amsterdam, located in the heart of Amsterdam, were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in July 2010.

Amsterdam is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, receiving more than 4.63 million international visitors annually; this is excluding the 16 million day trippers visiting the city every year.

Two thirds of the hotels are located in the city’s centre. Hotels with 4 or 5 stars contribute 42% of the total beds available and 41% of the overnight stays in Amsterdam.

Either on business or holiday do not miss the chance of exploring this amazing city.

How to get from Heathrow to Central London

There are many ways to get into and around London. Choose your method of transport from out helpful information below:

Coaches to London

National Express

National Express operate services from London Heathrow Airport to London Victoria, and many destinations around the UK. The buses run from Heathrow Airport Central Bus Station. The bus station is located between terminals 1,2 and 3, and is well signposted within the terminals. From terminals 4 and 5 catch Heathrow Connect to the central bus station.

Buses Around London

Most buses around London are low floor, meaning that they lower to pavement level, making it easier to board the bus. You are now able to use Oyster cards on bus routes.

For more information on what buses to get and timetables for the buses, visit Transport for London.


Heathrow Connect operates between Heathrow airport terminals 1,2 and 3 and Paddington, via five stations in west London. This service takes 25 minutes, and operates every 30 minutes. Passengers travelling at terminal 5 should use the free inter-terminal service. Oyster pay as you go cards are not accepted on this service.

Heathrow Express runs four trains an hour, non stop between the airport and Paddington station. This journey takes 15 – 20 minutes and oyster cards and travelcards are not valid on this service.


The Piccadilly Line connects all Heathrow terminals with frequent services to London. There are three stations at Heathrow on Piccadilly Line, one for Terminals 1, 2 & 3 located between the terminals, one for Terminal 4 and the newly opened Terminal 5, both situated in the basements of the terminal buildings. The journey to central London takes about 50 minutes and services run between 05:00 and 23:40.

You are able to use your oyster card for the underground or you can buy an all day travelcard for unlimited travel on the tube all day. Buying a travelcard is suitable for commuters who are planning on using the tube and the train as the tickets can be bought together. Visit to find out more about how travelcards work and how much they cost.


The journey time to central London is approximately 45-60 minutes and should cost between £45 and £70.

Getting a taxi can take the hassle out of your journey. Choose a taxi to suit you and your passengers. From executive travel to minibus, and coach taxis. You can just sit back and relax, knowing you will be at the airport soon.

However, you could get a better price by booking your transfer in advance. Find a taxi company on our Heathrow Airport Taxis and Transfers page. Alternatively, follow the signs from each terminal for taxi ranks.

Oyster Cards

Getting an oyster card is generally the cheapest way to get around using public transport in London. You can get a pay as you go oyster car, meaning you don’t have to worry about having the right change in your pocket.

You can use an oyster card on tubes, buses, DLR, trams, London overground and some National rail trains. For more information on where you can use your oyster card, visit TFL.

Just make sure you touch in with your card before boarding tubes and buses and Oyster will work out they cost of your journey at the end of the day. By doing this it means they can charge you less than the price of a day travelcard.

A summer list…

With just a few weeks away until summer FINALLY starts in the land of the Queen I thought it would be cool to share this list with y’all.

After a long and wet winter the sun has decided to show up and make all the gringos happy, sticky and red (some of them a bit TOO red).

Coming from a warm (and beautiful) country I have to say WE LOVE summer and it is a reminder of lots of good stuff.

 Everybody has their down list; here are my favourite things about summer:

  •  lemonade
  • grilled burgers, steaks, fish, fruit…
  • summer thunderstorms
  • the long, lingering daylight hours
  • watermelon
  • napping in a hammock
  • sunglasses 
  • the smell of sunscreen
  • picnics
  • daytrips to the beach (and the reminder of it with sand everywhere)
  • swimming
  • camping
  • drippy ice cream cones
  • easy entertaining on your porch or in your backyard
  • swimming out to a floating wooden platform in a lake
  • sleep-away camp
  • outdoor concerts
  • canoeing
  • sunny days = sunnier moods
  • the sound of lawn mowers
  • open windows
  • sitting in the shade on a hot day
  • the sound of ocean waves
  • a cool breeze on a hot day
  • flip flops
  • the smoky smell of people barbecuing
  • relaxed attitudes
  • surfing
  • dogs with their heads out car windows, tongues wagging
  • bicycles built for two
  • snorkeling


Olympic Flame goes out

At least the Olympic flame burned brightly and strongly for the first two days. But on day three of the relay the flame went out as it was being carried through the Devon town of Great Torrington.

The torch was attached to the side of para-badminton star David Follett’s wheelchair when the flame went out shortly before 10am.

It was not a complete disaster: the torch was re-lit using a backup flame that is transported around with the torchbearers. A spokesperson for the London 2012 organising committee blamed a malfunction within the burner and said it was not uncommon for flames to be extinguished.

The spokesman said: “The flame went out due to a malfunctioning burner. It is not uncommon for a flame to go out and this can happen for a number of reasons, for example, in extreme winds. We keep the mother flame alight in specially designed miners’ lanterns so if the flame does go out for some reason we re-light it from the source of the flame.”

The committee was also facing questions after it emerged that a woman taking part in the relay may have made up to £150,000 by selling her torch on eBay.

Sarah Milner Simonds, from Somerset, says she will pass the money on to charity but has received abusive emails and could be in for a frosty reception when her turn to carry the flame comes on Monday afternoon.

She is one of a number of runners who are selling their torches, which they can buy for £199 on the internet auction site. By Monday morning one torch bearer from Cornwall, where the relay began on Saturday, had received a bid of almost £40,000 for a torch.

Cycling around London…

How about getting a bike, riding it around the city 


and then returning it anywhere else…


…so the next person can use it…


You may be saying, this would not work in my country. Maybe one day!!


Everyone in London is getting the idea. Available 24 hours a day, year round.

Everyone is using them, from tourists with their backpacks to business men
 in their suits and ties.

 It’s self-service and there’s no need for booking. Just turn up, get the code (pay off course) and go.

Sponsored by Barclays Bank the expectation is that during the Olympic gamesmany people will avoid using the tube and buses and get on the bikes.

Watch the video below:


Spending Easter in Poland

Warsaw is a city with many faces where tradition intermingles with modernity. The dominating silhouette of the city centre belongs to the Palace of Culture and Science, which today shares the city skyline with numerous other office tower blocks.

You can feel the heartbeat of history in the Old Town, on Nowy Swiat and everywhere else where the city’s roots have been preserved.


A Colourful Old Town


Zamkowy Square, with Zygmunt’s Column, is the most prominent feature of the Old Town.

Swietojanska Street leads into the Old Town Square with its colourful narrow-fronted tenement houses. The Old Town’s history dates back to the early 14th century.

Due to the painstaking reconstruction that followed the destruction during World War II, the Old Town was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1980.


The Polish Easter


Polish people are very traditional, especially in religious dates. Each date has its differences in order to celebrate, for example, the charming delicacy of Easter, with a nice table, where they can not miss the well-starched white tablecloth, and on the table lots of good food. The plate of boiled eggs stuffed with salmon.

Many families share the cooked eggs before the Passover meal, accompanied by mutual wishes of Happy Easter.

On the table is also placed a tray full of painted eggs, pisanki. There are also various types of meat served as hot sausages, bread and cakes such as  Mazurek.

At Easter it is a custom to paint eggs, which is known since the thirteenth century, work done primarily by women.

Today, the homes of folk or popular articles (Cepelia), with a multitude of them in Poland, have been selling eggs made of wood, very similar to chicken eggs, making it easier for housewives in the decoration of the table during the Easter meal.

This tradition of painting eggs is named “Pisanki” which, translated, means, literally, “writings,” or, if you will, Easter eggs.

Polish Easter is just great. Also called święconka it makes people of other ethnicities which are visiting Poland on the occasion of Easter wishing to return one day…

Like me!