Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Brasilia! Part 3

Oh wow,  where do we go from here?  Definitely the National Cathedral, Eixo Monumental and the Praca do Tres are some of the most visited tourist sites in Brasilia,  but there is much more to see so let's continue around the Eixo Monumental.  When the planners laid out
the streets for the city and began construction,  they placed the majority                                                              of the buildings which house Brazil's governmental offices along the edges of the great lawn.  Most of these buildings are your basic office rectangular multiplied in a row.  However, two of them caught my eye as we drove by because of their architectural differences.  Yes they both have glass fronts with wave like facades made of concrete Oscar Niemeyer is known for.  But the first building that caught my eye did so not because of these features but because of the staggering curved cement slabs protruding from the front glass windows. From these slabs of concrete water flows over its curved edges and plummets to the reflecting pool below creating a ripple in the reflection.  If you look at it from the right angle, the clouds in the sky reflecting in the glass building front look as if they are tossing rain to the earth below.
The second building to catch my eye was another regular office building with Oscar Niemeyers trademark front, but this one had a small row boat perched on the edge of the reflecting pool.  The boat seemed so out of place but yet was so inviting in the partly sunny afternoon skies,  one could imagine taking it out to do some fishing or just close your eyes for a short nap.  The rustic boat was contrasted by a lovely white origami looking piece of modern art which added the perfect exclamation mark to the reflecting pool.  We of course stopped in front of each of these buildings in order to get photos to remember our visit.
Before we leave the Eixo Monumental for our next destination, it is important to point out another unique decision made by the city planners.  As you drive around the large green space - the rest of the edges are segregated into specific areas or districts.  For instance,  there is an area where all the hotels can be found, another where all the financial district is and finally a retail district finding its home on the edge of the Eixo Monumental.  The whole city is laid out like this with pockets of residential and commercial and not very much mixing of the two.
Before continuing with our most recent tour,  I want to mention one more stop we made in 2010 on my first visit to Brasilia.  Located in a small neighborhood in the city lies the catholic cathedral Dom Bosco Brasilia. I bet you were surprised when I said Catholic in Brazil.   From the outside the building does not look like much but as I pulled on the massive dove handles to open the oversize doors,  a blue calmness came over me.  I walked into the sanctuary  with the sunlight streaking through blue crystal stain glass windows.  Music could be heard coming from the bell tower and the chandelier hanging from the ceiling in the center of the church was striking.  Since the switch for the light was in the off position, I would need to imagine what it would look like
if it were on.  I remember spending a little time there in thought and upon leaving finding flowers sitting on the ground out front.  There was a group of people beginning to decorate for a wedding ceremony scheduled for later in the evening.  I had wondered how it would look with fresh white flowers ready to greet the guests.  I guess I will have to wait until an invitation to attend a wedding ceremony here arrives in the mail someday.
It think that pretty much covers the places we visited in 2010 that I wanted to make sure I shared with you.  Now back to our present day journey as we head towards Lake Paranoa and the JK bridge which spans across the lake to the southern shore.  Finished in 2002 the bridge was built in honor of Juscelino Kubitschek (President who had Brasilia built) and truly fits into the cities majestic scale with its structural design complexity.  The landmark is known as one of Brasilia's most beautiful night destinations.  We stop at a small park at the north end of the bridge and spend a little time on the walkway across, not traveling the whole distance but just far
enough to get some good photos despite the afternoon sun.  The bridge is wonderful as it twists from one side to the other and back.  It is a massive structure and I can only imagine what a wonderful sight it is all lit up at night.  After our short visit to the park we drive around some of the neighborhoods on the south shore of the lake.  Known as one of the wealthier areas of the city, we have hopes of seeing some grand homes.  However, like other Brazilian cities,  the houses have walls almost all the way around them and we are not able to see many.  There are a few who have installed glass instead of concrete allowing us to get a glimpse of what we need to do in order to keep up with the Jones.
The time driving around is enjoyable and after about forty five minutes we leave the neighborhoods and stop at another park along the lake which has recently been renovated in anticipation of the World Cup in 2014.  With a grand new entrance welcoming us it is easy to imagine the park being a destination for visitors in 2014.  The afternoon is wonderful as we quietly stroll down the revitalized paths past the lovely restaurant, bar, and beautiful plants just beginning to bloom.  As the sun begins to set and the day ends, so does our journey in Brasilia.  I am sure we will be back again someday to see more of the details in the surrounding areas.  For now,  I am left with a good impression of a city built to be the center of Brazil literally and politically.

Please let me know if you would like a personal tour of Brazilia -I would be happy to share this beautiful city with you! All inclusive packages available--
See my about me page for contact information or leave a comment.

Read Brasilia Part 2 - click here
Read Brasilia Part 1 - click here
Flowers at Park 
Central Bank of Brazil - 

Dom Bosco Cathedral 

JK Bridge 

Lovely house entrance in Southern Neighborhood 

Path along lake 

JK Bridge 

Dom Bosco Doors

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