Ok so memories of Rio de Janeiro!

In my early travels of my life, the intensity was gear towards Latin America as was closer. Now in Europe the trips are fewer and between  , and old photos sometimes not found ,but looking to visit again possibly by year’s end last quarter. One of my favorite destinations was Brazil and even thus been to many cities and smaller towns, the big cities are always an attraction to me. IN this case, let me tell you a bit more on Rio de Janeiro.

Rio de Janeiro, located in the southeast of Brazil, is the capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro. Rio de Janeiro originally onthe Bay of Guanabara, discovered in 1502 by Gaspar de Lemos and Gonçalo Coelho, captains of the fleet of the Portuguese explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral, who discoverered Brazil. The inhabitants of the city are “Cariocas”, coming from the Tupi and meaning “House of white men”, contraction of the words Kara’iwa, “white men” and Oka, “house”. The inhabitants of the State of Rio de Janeiro are “Fluminenses”. It is known worldwide for its carnival, its beaches (Copacabana, Leblon and Ipanema) as well as its statue of Christ the Redeemer at the top of the Corcovado.

I have written before one piece where Rio is mentioned so here it is :Memories of Brazil

A bit of history I like. It was the capital of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves, following the escape of the Portuguese court during the invasion of the Napoleonic troops (1808-1821), then of the Empire of Brazil (1822-1889), of the República Velha (old Republic) (1889-1930), of the Estado Novo (New State) (1937-1945) and the beginning of the Second Republic until 1960.

Due to the invasion of Napoleon’s troops in Portugal, the Portuguese Royal family (Queen Mary I, Prince John and his son Peter) and most of the nobles of Lisbon fled to Brazil and settled in Rio de Janeiro. The capital of the Portuguese kingdom was thus transferred from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro, which became the only European capital located outside the European continent, although they returned mainly to Portugal in 1821, the Portuguese nobles were instrumental in opening  the port of Rio (and Brazil) to the international market.

The sad part of Brazil is seen here very strong if you move about from tourist spots. The first favela (“shantytown”) of Rio was built on the heights of the Morro da Providência (“Hill of Providence”). Its inhabitants were mostly black soldiers who fought for their freedom in Salvador de Bahia and tried to take advantage of the opportunities offered by Rio. Estimated ,more than 20% of the Carioca population lives in shantytowns today.

Some things to see and do.

The Sugar Loaf (Pao de Açùçar) is a rocky peak at the altitude of 395 meters and the form so singular that has always been the symbol of Rio. The meaning is  “high pointed and isolated promontory”. For the Portuguese it sounded like Pão of Açúcar, and the peak itself reminded them of the shape of these clay mussels used to make sugar rolls. The Portuguese name remained.  The famous statue of Christ the Redeemer (O Cristo Redentor), a cross-arm, stands on the peak of the Corcovado with a height of 710 meters and can be seen from all areas of Rio. The statue measures 38 meters high. The work, dates from 1931.

Rio de Janeiro

flying high from Niteroi overlooking the whole of Rio de Janeiro

Copacabana and its extension to the north, the Leme, with its 6 km of length that describe a perfect curve is certainly the preferred beach of foreigners. It was in the 1920’s that it gained its notoriety, with the construction, in 1923 of the prestigious Copacabana Palace, the only luxury hotel in all Latin America at the time. And this is the area I normally stayed while visiting the city.

Copacabana

view of Copacabana from the Othon Palace Hotel

Ipanema Beach is located in the most exclusive residential area of the city. Today, Ipanema is the center of fashion and sophistication. The most luxurious shops in Rio line the streets of Ipanema and Leblon. Ipanema Beach, less extensive than that of Copacabana, is the venue for the golden youth of Rio and the homosexual community. Less lively and less noisy than Copacabana, Ipanema is arguably the most romantic of the twenty-five beaches in Rio.

São Conrado is located in a cove surrounded by mountains covered with dense vegetation. This is where the Pedra da Gávea rises, a huge block of granite much more impressive in its shape and size, with its 842 meters, than the famous Sugar loaf. The beach enjoys a certain popularity with the youth of Rio, the young people of the favelas and the intellectuals.

With its 18 km long, the beach of Barra da Tijuca is at the same time the longest, but also the least frequented in Rio during the week. At the end of Barra, the small beach of Recreio dos Bandeirantes stretches in the shelter of a natural pier that forms a real miniature bay. From the Recreio, a road climbs into the mountain before descending to the beach of Prainha, frequented by the surfers, then that of Grumari, wonderfully secluded.

The mountain of Pedra da Gávea peaks at almost 900 meters of altitude. It overlooks the long beaches of fine sand. It is accessed after the Botanical garden.  The hill of Urca (Morro da Urca), this small mountain formation of 220 meters above sea level is located at the entrance of the Bay of Guanabara. It is possible to admire ancient forts and colonial settlements of the 16C and 17C, which became museums. The Hill also offers a great view of the Bay of Guanabara and offers a cable car that makes it possible to get to the sugar loaf.

Each of the 141 hectares of the Botanical garden hosts specimens of the Brazilian and world flora. The Imperial palms, the main attraction of the garden, were sown under the orders of Prince Regent João VI in 1809.

The area of Santa Teresa, with its cobbled and tortuous alleys, with its spectacular views of the bay, is certainly one of the most picturesque in Rio. The most attractive way to access it is to take the famous Electric Bonde (tramways) built in 1896.

The forest of Tijuca (Floresta da Tijuca) ;the largest urban forest in the world, with an area of about 3 200 hectares, includes hundreds of species of flora and fauna found only in the “Mata Atlantica” and many of which are endangered. Places such as the Cascatinha (small waterfall), the Mayrink Chapel , the Mirador Excelsior, the Baracão, the Paulo and Virginia Caves, the Fairy Lake and the Solitudes pond. The forest, which is located at an altitude varying from 100 to 1 020 meters, is the reservoir of freshness of Rio. The creation  begun in 1861, took 13 years. One hundred thousand trees of typical varieties were planted there. Over time, the forest has been restored in what is one of the world’s oldest and brightest ground conservation facts and a good part of Rio depends on its streams today.

The Sambadrome Marquês de Sapucaí (Sambódromo-Marquês de Sapucaí), bordered by concrete bleachers, was built in 1984 to host the prestigious Rio carnival, which was held previously in the streets of the city, most often on the avenue Presidente Vargas. Designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer, the Avenue Marquês of Sapucaí, usually open to traffic, is transformed for a few days in the Passarela do Samba (passarelle of Samba)  and sees the most prestigious samba schools in Rio de Janeiro.

The city has many museums ,of all sizes, I have been to the top major ones such as these

National Historic Museum .This palace painted in pink, emblematic color of imperial buildings, is one of the oldest buildings in Rio. Tower Fortress (its Subterraneans serve as a prison for black slaves in the 17C and 18C), Arsenal, weapons factory, Siege of the military academy, it was only converted into a museum in 1922. Its collections, spread over fourteen halls, retrace the history of Imperial Brazil (19C). It has a library of 70 000 volumes.

 National Museum. This ancient palace was once the home of Joao VI and the imperial family, until the proclamation of the Republic in 1889. It contains the largest scientific collection in Brazil: Zoology, mineralogy, archaeology, ethnology. It is possible to see the meteorite fallen in the state of Bahia in 1888, the Bendego, which weighs 5 300 kilograms as well as a curious mummy of an Egyptian woman: her legs are covered separately with strips (traditionally, the body is wrapped in one piece) . Around her, a crowd constantly mumbles prayers; The mummy arouses the followers of the Umbanda rite a lot of devotion. Other collections relate to Amazonian flora and fauna and Indian tribes (more than one hundred and forty of which many have disappeared

Museum of Fine Arts the largest collection of art in Rio, it presents paintings of the Italian, Flemish, Spanish, Portuguese, English and Peruvian schools of the 16C, 17C and 18C. The Brazilian gallery presents paintings from the colonial period, the 19C and the 20C: Portinari, Di Cavalcanti, Pancetti, Anita Malfatti, Alfredo Volpi, Manabu Mabe and Djanira.

And beautiful Churches such as

Church of Nossa Senhora da Glória do Outeiro white and graceful, the Church of Glória dominates from its height the bay of Guanabara. Built in 1739, this chapel was intimately linked to the life of the imperial family. In his arms, Joao VI carried his granddaughter, Princess Maria da Glória, to present her at the altar, and Don Pedro I made the same with the future Emperor Pedro II. The decoration is made of carved wood and azulejos.

Monastery of Saint-Benoît (Mosteiro de São Bento);  Gregorian chant can be heard every day at 11h. and 17h30. Built in 1641 by two monks who wanted to base their order, this monastery is a characteristic example of colonial Baroque. It is possible to see in the Church a work of carved wood, covered with gold leaves.

Church of the Third-Order of Saint-François-de-la-Penance (Igreja da Ordem Terceira de São Francisco da Penitência): Very baroque, fully sculpted by hand . Jacaranda Furniture and solid silver chandeliers that illuminate, at dusk, the panel painted in the roof of the nave, representing Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy receiving the stigmata.

There are some webpages to help you plan your trip here:

Tourist office of Rio State in Portuguese : http://www.rio.rj.gov.br/web/riotur/atracoes-turisticas

Tourist office of Brazil on Rio’s beaches: http://visitbrasil.com/en/experiencias/rio-de-janeiro-beaches.html

Tourist office of Rio city: http://visit.rio/en/o-que-fazer/culture-and-art/

There you go a bit more, from those days photos are hard to come by, but have a couple. Enjoy Rio, I would like to be back and see the period differences.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

8 Comments to “Ok so memories of Rio de Janeiro!”

  1. Thank you for the extensive info. I will have to go to Brazil some day as a trip down the Amazon is on my bucket list. They also make the best flip-flop sandals in the world: Havaianas and Ipanemas! My sister-in-law has lived there for 21 years and always brings me a pair back for the summer and we have an open invitation to visit. Hopefully soon…


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