By Sandra L. Bacaltchuk
Porto Alegre, the capital of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, the most Southern state in Brazil is the land of proud and friendly gauchos. As the annual temperature is 19C, we have mild winters, warm, sunny days and pleasant evenings that invite people to gather at the local cafes. You will be amazed by the encounters on the sidewalks and the plurality of places to entertain yourself and meet locals.
The busiest and nicest area for lunch, happy hour, dinner or a late beer is in the neighborhood called Moinhos de Vento, mainly on Fernando Gomes (Calcada da Fama/Fame Sidewalk) and Padre Chagas Streets. Padre Chagas Street leads you to the entrance of the local Sheraton Hotel -- a good reference in case you get lost.
Goethe's Bar (112, 24 de Outubro Ave.), is the place where former exchange students get together on Tuesday evenings to practice foreign languages and meet newcomers.
Start Talking Cafe (1587, Mariland St.) is a Dutch Pub where English is the official language.
Cafe do Prado (837, Quintino Bocaiuva St.) From Wednesday to Saturday evenings people of all ages meet to listen to live music, dance or enjoy the company of friends.
On Sundays we can find portoalegrenses jogging at Parcao (Moinhos de Vento Park), drinking a chimarrao (typical drink) while visiting the Flea market Brique da Redencao, bicycle riding in Ipanema or admiring our famous sunset from Marinha do Brasil Park.
Families usually get together in our local clubs like the Country Club (524, Libero Badaro St.) where you find am 18 hole golf course, pool and an excellent restaurant in one of the nicest residential areas in town. The British Club (400, Furiel L. Antonio Vargas St) has a pool, tennis courts, playground and restaurant. And, the Associacao Leopoldina Juvenil (280, Marques do Herval St.) where you can play tennis or watch important competitions as well as use their athletic facilities in the hearth of Moinhos de Vento.
Another good idea to meet locals is to contact the International Womens Club of
Porto Alegre, an association to promote friendship between locals and newcomers or contact VisitorsAssistants to know when and where the monthly gathering is going to take place.