Travel Diary: Salvador da Bahia

3rd March, 2014

Some places really grab you by the heart and romance your soul, and I can hardly express how deeply that happened for me in Salvador da Bahia. One of the oldest cities in the Americas, Salvador was the first colonial capital of Brazil, and to this day is regarded as the country’s ‘capital of happiness’. Its pastel-washed city center is a living museum to 17th- and 18th-century architecture; its cobblestone streets are bursting with gilded cathedrals and the regular passing of impassioned parades. Music plays everywhere, all day and all night. Every block is a new tune.SalvadorDaBahia1

Nestled along Brazil’s northeastern-most strip of coastline, this sweet little spot was a crucial port of the Portuguese empire during the colonial era, serving as a gateway to Africa and Asia. Like so many ancient port cities (such as my other great love, Hoi An, Vietnam), it has retained its old world charm and represents a totally unique amalgamation of Afro-Brazilian influences. No other place in the world exists where descendants of African slaves have preserved their heritage as well as in Salvador ~ from music to dance to religion to fashion to food.SalvadorDaBahia2We stayed at Pestana Conventa do Carmo, a luxurious oasis tucked inside the hallowed white stone walls of a 16th-century Carmelite Convent. Catholicism’s roots are strong in this city (it’s said that there is a Catholic church for every day of the year), although it’s the competing religion, Candomblé, that truly makes Salvador so special.

Candomblé was brought over as a byproduct of the African slave trade, and the way it is practiced here today is completely unique to the city. Its practitioners believe in one all-powerful god, who is served by lesser deities called orishas. Every person has their own individual orisha, who protects and controls their destiny ~ similar to the way that the saints are praised in Catholicism. By attributing the names and characteristics of their Candomblé deities to Catholic saints with similar qualities, the African people were able to reclaim and maintain the cultural identity that slavery stripped from them. Today, Candomblé and Catholicism coexist in a city pulsating with colorful religious fervor and a constant sense of celebration. SalvadorDaBahia3 SalvadorDaBahia4 SalvadorDaBahia5 SalvadorDaBahia6 SalvadorDaBahia7 SalvadorDaBahia8|ABOVE| the courtyard pool at the Pestana Conventa do Carmo |BELOW| wearing Marc by Marc Jacobs sunnies, a Bahian linen top, Balinese sarong and sandals from Zara SalvadorDaBahia9 SalvadorDaBahia10 SalvadorDaBahia11 SalvadorDaBahia12 SalvadorDaBahia13|ABOVE| Norma Kamali sunnies, vintage dress, 10 Crosby sandals SalvadorDaBahia14 SalvadorDaBahia15 SalvadorDaBahia16 SalvadorDaBahia17 SalvadorDaBahia18|ABOVE + BELOW| Candomblé tradition calls for its practitioners to wear white on Fridays, in honor of Oxala, the god of creation. Lace is a local specialization, and the women liberally incorporate it into their heavily petticoated ensembles. The colors of their beads represent an assembly of guiding orishas. SalvadorDaBahia19 SalvadorDaBahia20 SalvadorDaBahia21 SalvadorDaBahia22|ABOVE + BELOW| Wherever I roam in this world, my favorite thing to do is explore the local markets, learning how the locals really live. SalvadorDaBahia23 SalvadorDaBahia24 SalvadorDaBahia25 SalvadorDaBahia26 SalvadorDaBahia27|ABOVE + BELOW| prayers come in the form of colorful ribbons or wax body parts: both abound in a city filled with the faithful
SalvadorDaBahia28 SalvadorDaBahia29 SalvadorDaBahia30 SalvadorDaBahia31|PHOTOGRAPHY| by Zachary Lynd and Kelly Framel

|CLICK HERE| to explore all our Brazilian adventures ~ more fun is still to come!



  • pinkschmink

    This is so beautiful Kelly. The place you stayed is absolutely gorgeous! Yet another place to add to my travel bucket list …

  • Jessica Rose

    Really beautiful pictures.

  • Amazing photos and great outfits:) <3

    New on

  • What a dream place, it looks like heaven on earth!

    Mafalda ❤

  • Elisa Taviti

    Ahhh! I love these amazing photos!

    My Fantabulous World

  • Beautiful photos, so jealous of your trip! 🙂

  • olivia

    Your life doesn’t even look real!! So beautiful, thank you for sharing <3

  • these photos absolutely blow me away!
    what a stunning, stunning hotel.

  • Nico

    Incredible shots and places!

    Plaid shirt, denim skirt and loafers on lowbudget-lowcost Fashion Blog

  • Gildete Lima

    Hello, Kelly. I’m from Salvador and it filled me with joy to see how you brought the city in this post

  • Liz

    this home is amazing!!

    xo, Liz

  • Beta Cummins

    The tradition throughout Brazil commands one, through faith, to tie a prayer ribbon around their wrist – after making a wish (very important), which is supposed to come true after the ribbon breaks off on its own. I am wearing a green one right now! Just came back from Brazil.

  • I urge you to come visit India sometime, Kelly! It’ll be a visual and spiritual awakening in a whole other level 🙂
    Ahhh the Himalayas…

    • theglamourai

      I’m dying to travel in India!!

      • Plenty of culture. Plenty of costumes. I really wonder how YOU’d manifest the inspiration that you’d get from here!

  • stunning pictures, especially the one of the church ceiling

  • Laure

    Hello Kelly,
    great post!
    Where does your handbag come from?
    Thanks, Laure

More Stories

TheGlamourai is a webzine produced by Kelly Framel, a multi-media creative director based in downtown New York (but constantly bouncing around the world). Part fashion blog, part glossy mag, part fantasy travel portal, it's your ultimate online destination for stylish daydreams. Tune in for inspirational editorials, beauty tutorials, outfit ideas, DIYs, jet-set travel tips and more!
ALL MATERIAL © 2018 The Glamourai