Capitals, cities, towns, villages, neighbourhoods. We all come from somewhere and it’s time to meet each others’ hometowns and who knows, we might put some new places that we have never heard of on our bucket list! In this post, we hear from Vinnie about his hometown Fortaleza, in beautiful Brazil!
1. Who are you, how long have you been living in the Netherlands and why did you move here?
I’m Vinicius Caldas (or Vinnie) and I am a tattoo artist. I’ve been in the Netherlands for 2 years. At the beginning, I came for a one-time job that I was invited to do, but then my wife and I liked it so much that we decided to stay.
2. What’s your hometown and where is it? How long have you lived there?
My hometown is Fortaleza in the North East state of Ceara in Brazil. It’s the closest part of Brazil to Europe, on the north east point. I lived there until I was 28 and then I moved to London.
3. Is it a big city or a small town? What is the population?
Fortaleza is a big city of about 3 million people, the capital of the state.
4. What are some things in Fortaleza that are part of history?
Fortaleza was colonised by the Dutch, actually. They built the fort Schoneburg and then Spain and Portugal kicked them out and they changed the name of the fort to Nossa Senora da Assunca.
5. What is your favourite season in Fortaleza and why?
There are not really seasons, it’s hot or hotter. My favourite is summer because there are many tourists and many cultural events, international music festivals and the mountains have waterfalls.
6. What is the happiest memory you have from your hometown?
Going in the afternoon to see the sunset at Point Metalica which is an old pier for cargo ships. It’s really beautiful with many families walking the harbour, while others are skateboarding, biking, running.
7. Do you miss Fortaleza? What do you miss the most?
Yes, I do miss it. Mostly the warm weather and the beach.
8. What do you like most about your hometown? What would you like to change about it?
Even though it’s a big city, it still has a nice vibe of a small city, with less chaos. People are warm, friendly and open. What I would like to change is the level of crime, which has sadly been increasing. It used to be a calm town and in the last 15 years it has become a lot more dangerous.
9. Do you think you will return to live there one day? Why or why not?
I think about returning one day, more for family and friends. It is not something that will happen soon though, because I kind of feel going back is not as progressive as I would like.
10. How often do you visit your hometown and how do you spend your days there?
I visit a couple of times a year. Recently, I went there more in order to take care of my parents. When I am in Fortaleza, I try to spend time with friends and family and surf as much as I can in the warm water.
11. What are the main attractions in Fortaleza and what would be your personal recommendations?
There’s a cultural centre and a nice market with traditional and local art right on the beach promenade. Plus, there is 500 km of seaside and beach with lots of activities.
12. What are the main traditions, festivals, traditional food and drink of your hometown?
Sao Joao is a festival with traditional music and dance called forro. They reproduce the ‘old times’ from the countryside. There is a musical with some weddings mixed with comedy. Pomona and tapioca are typical foods, as well as loads of different fruits. Cashasa is a typical alcoholic drink made from sugarcane, really common in the north east.
13. Do you find any similarities with Haarlem and Fortaleza? What is the biggest difference between them?
I don’t really see many similarities. What’s different is that in some states in Brazil, there’s not much conservation of architecture and it’s nice to walk in Haarlem and see the old buildings that preserve the history. In Fortaleza, they don’t seem to preserve it but change it to modern condos instead.
Thank you Vinnie for introducing us to your far away hometown, Fortaleza!
We are looking forward to hearing about other expats’ hometowns! Just go to our questionnaire copy and paste the questions, fill in your answers and submit them via Facebook Messenger or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you also wish to share some photos of you and/or your hometown, please do so!
The idea is for expatsHaarlem readers to get involved and share insights about their hometowns