12:30 comes and it is time to board the boat to head to Fiscal Island. Glittering like an emerald in the bay, it seems to have been dropped into the bay. On the island stands a castle completed in 1889 that takes up every square meter of the island.
It is in this castle that the “Last Ball of the Empire” occurred here later that year. The grand ball was celebrating the empire’s accomplishments, where Dom Pedro II (Emperor) even attending this lavish occasion. Days later the Empire would be overthrown in a bloodless coup and the beginning of the Republic would begin. OK enough about the history of this island, it is time to head there. As we wait for the boat to push off, a group of middle school students board the bus making a ton of noise end of the empire prior to the republic state. e and posing for photo every chance they can get. Their excitement is our demise as we were looking forward to a quite boat ride and it is now nothing near this. They seem not aware there are other passengers on the boat and we can only hope they have a separate tour guide once we arrive at the island. We arrive on the island and are happy when there are several tour guides and we are assigned ours without the teens. The tour will be in Portuguese so I am
handed a booklet with information in English to share with another visitor from Cologne, Germany (who speaks English). We become good acquaintances by the end of our journey on the island. The palace is filled with extravagant columns, festoons, and arches, most definitely reminiscent of the empire of Brazil. The murals by Frederico Steckel adorn the walls and the clock in the tower (from Germany) is surely amazing and delightful. We are guided around the castle and learn of the history as well as some things about the Brazilian science station in Antarctica. It is a beautiful start to our day. The tour is over and we investigate the castle on our own. I continue my conversation with my new Germany friend, she shares about her travels as she has family in Brazil and Australia.
I surely don't want to start thinking about that. It is an extremely relaxing afternoon on the water and a totally different view of the city we have spent the last days exploring by foot. We begin to plan out next trip to Rio as we pass by sugar loaf, fortifications at the entrance of the bay, some well known beaches on the opposite side of the bay, the Niterio Contemporary Art Museum, The Bridge crossing the bay built in honor of President Silva. There is plenty of photos to take. As we pass by the huge oil rig I think of the devastation in the gulf and hope this never happens to this beautiful place. Soon our boat excursion is over and we are goon back on shore. We grab the Metro back to Copacabana.
(Read Rio de Janiero - Day 10)