We maneuver the bus situation and enjoy the bumpy ride to the down town area passing by sugar loaf. The bus speeds along and tosses us too and fro. We end up in the middle of a mob of people, all moving in different directions. Feels like any large city that I have been to when I am in the center of it all. The first thing to view is all the Catholic Churches. We stop at about three of them right after we exit the bus and each has its own identity. It is easy to see that Rio has deep Catholic roots and we continue our self guided tour of the churches. Beautiful they are, with their intricate decor of Saints and Catholic symbols. Many of them with gold plating, stain glass, and intricate details so you can tell there was a lot of pride and inspiration involved in creating these masterpieces.
in action. Not much different then when I have visited these legislative sessions in the United States. There is a lot of talking going on and its hard to understand what they are saying, but today that is a little more understandable since they are speaking in Portuguese. There are tons of photo’s taken as the artwork and the architecture of the building are amazing. The floors are beautiful mosaic tile that were imported from Europe and put together like a large puzzle. Like previous days there is a treat for the eyes around practically every corner.
We finish the tour and start walking again. This time we end up at another church at the end of the Avenda Presidente Vargas (the main street in downtown). The church is the Igreja da Candelaria- building started in 1609 as a fulfillment of an oath taken by sailors at rough sea. With work being done to complete the church as late at 1931, it has a mix of baroque style with Neoclassical accents. The church has been an important part of the cities history such as the seventh day mass of high school students and the 1993 Candelaria massacre which brought worldwide attention to the police brutality of street children in Rio and Brazil. It stands majestic and grand as it anchors the end of the street.
are off to the beautiful St Teresa neighborhood. The trolley ride begins crossing over the famous Carioca Aqueduct (which used to bring water to the center of the city) offering a bela vista (beautiful view) of the city not seen from the ground. I am not sure I would want to be riding, hanging on the edge of the trolley holding on at this point and am glad to have a seat even if it is not on the best side of the trolley. I am a little disappointed as the trolley is in operation only on the lower half of the railway today. The upper half is currently shut down for maintenance and so maybe we can come back another day. (this never does fit back into our plans so I guess it means another trip back to Rio). The neighborhood is filled with narrow winding streets and picturesque corners.
cold and callus but I truly appreciate that I can sit and relax. Mostly made of mortar and stain glass with lofty ceilings, it is far from intimate although I can appreciate its uniqueness.
After a well deserved rest, we grab a taxi to our next destination. (we have no idea how to get there by bus – I think) Luiz had been here when he was much younger and is excited to revisit the Mosteiro de Sao Bento (a monastery that overlooks the waterfront and bay) The cab driver drops us off at the bottom of a long windy hill and we begin to trudge up the hill. Thank goodness we had the rest at the cathedral and the taxi ride. At the top of the hill lies the monastery and it simple and stunning. With the intricate details in the sanctuary and the finely groomed gardens outside just as you would expect. The view that Luiz remembers is no more as the trees have grown some and now block the view he remembers from a time before. We head down the hill again and find the bus, head back to Copacabana to relax a little before heading out.
Scenarium and there is a long line out front but fortunately we find out it opens at 8 P.M and it is currently 5 minutes until 8:00. The street has the feel of New Orleans and is full of people. The restaurant on the other side of the street is full as well and we continue to wait. It is not long and we are inside and finding a seat. The sounds of a samba band echo through the three story building. Filled with an eclectic mix of antiques and classic items, there are a ton of things for our eyes to investigate. Our great waiter (he was great!) begins to share that he has served many celebrities including Liza Minnelli, Bono, and Will Smith just to name a few. We are in excellent hands with this guy!) We enjoy the evening filled with music, laughter, conversation, photos, and good food. After our meal we venture around the space to see all the eclectic items and take a peek at the samba band on the first floor and the bicycle filled ceiling on the third.