Quality of life
Curitiba, the capital of the federal state of Paraná (PA), situated in the south of Brazil, is considered the most developed city of the country. Due to its moderate climate (mild in the winter, fresh in the summer) and the distinct conscience for environmental matters of its inhabitants, Curitiba offers a high quality of life.
Environmental protection is truly accentuated. In concrete terms, this is visible seeing the public dustbins. Each of them disposes of four containers: one for glass, one for papers, one for organic litter and one for all the rest. On the field of education, the local university increases the ecological awareness by offering several courses of studies oriented to biology and ecology.
Another example is a poster in the botanical garden. It shows four palms out of which chiromancer reads the future. First the green leave: "I can see a chain saw in your future...", then the hand of a monkey "In your future I can see a cage in a city...", then the feline pad "In your future I can see a fur coat..." and finally the human palm "If you're going to continue in that way, I cannot see any future for you."
Immigrants of Central Europe
In Curitiba, there are big communities of immigrants from central european countries. The comfortable climate of the region attracted mainly settlers of Poland, but also Germans, Italians and Ukrainians.
Nowadays, each one of the communities of a significant size has its proper landmark: the german fairy-tale park of the Brothers Grimm, a huge ukrainian church constructed of wood, a statue entitled "Mother Polonia" - or the italian district in town "Santa Felicidade". That part of town got promoted for having a charming and original italian atmosphere - but who has already been to Italy will surely be disappointed.
The european roots are noticeable everywhere in the daily life of the city. The roads are in excellent state, clean and concisely signalled. Without problems Curitiba could pass for a German city - if there just was Skol beer in Germany...
Speaking of Germany: one fine evening we wanted to check if the German restaurants do real German food. We went to the "Schwarzwald - Bar do Alemão" and it is easy to guess: The stuffed duck, accompanied by potatoes, red cabbage and apple puree was just like at home! They just have to do some improvement regarding the beer hugs (0.3l).
Hardy any Touristic Highlights
From a tourist's point of view, Curitiba is not that exciting - even if the local government tries to make believe the opposite. The one days town trip passes all the countless parks of the city - and this strange building "Ôpera de Arame": It is a modern opera house constructed entirely of cast iron bars. If this increases the acoustic quality is at least doubtful.
The Botanical Garden is one more of these tourist hotspots. Sure, it is very well maintained - but compared to the overwhelming flora of Iguaçu, that garden appears to be a little pale and domesticated.
Seen by its overall impression, Curitiba is predestined for a short stay on the way. The restaurants are cheap and you get very good food, but that's mostly all. Curitiba is geographically well located for trips to São Paulo, Iguaçu, or further south to Florianopolis.
Serra Verde Express
Just a few words about the "Serra Verde Express", the express of the green mountains. This tourist train connects Curitiba and Morretes, a small town in the green mountains. The trip takes some three hours and is quite expensive. Especially if you show up in the morning at the railway station without a reservation - and, what a coincidence, there's just a couple of places left in the first class.
In that way it can be a good alternative to take a coach which transports its passengers for a fractional amount of the price across the green mountains - and even more far, until the seashore.