ultramarinus – beyond the sea

Day 21 to 30

DAY 30 (2 OF 2) – STARRY NIGHT, SAMAIPATA, BOLIVIA

Accompanied by the sound of cicadas, the light of fireflies, and the faint shadows of agave plants, seeing the southern sky at a clear spring night in Samaipata was a real treat for us.
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Read other posts on Samaipata & Santa Cruz, Bolivia:
Day 27.2 – Night Arrival, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 28.1 – El Fuerte, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 28.2 – Town, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 29.1 – Finca la Vispera, Sampaipata, Bolivia
Day 29.2 – Garden Cafe at Finca la Vispera, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 30.1 – Cloud Forest at Amboro National Park, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 30.2 – Starry Night, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 31.1 – Goodbye, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 31.2 – Centro, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia

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South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 30 (1 OF 2) – CLOUD FOREST AT AMBORO NATIONAL PARK, SAMAIPATA, BOLIVIA

Other than El Fuerte, Amboro National Park is the other big draw for visitors coming to Samaipata.  Located roughly 40 minutes of drive from Samaipata, Amboro is relatively easy to access comparing to other national parks in Bolivia.  Amboro is famous for its diverse landscapes and terrains, offering a large variety of vegetation from Amazonian rainforest, Chaco plains of cactus and palms, to cloud forest of ferns and trees.  We chose the cloud forest as our destination to check out its prehistoric vegetation.  Situated from 1800m to 3500m above sea level, the cloud forests of Amboro serves as a major water source supporting cities and towns at the lowlands, including Santa Cruz.  The cloud forest acts like a sponge, capturing the moisture in the air and gradually releasing the water to streams and rivers.  For us, the biggest highlight of Amboro’s cloud forest is the giant ferns.  They are the rare survivors from the prehistoric eras.  According to our guide, one species of the ferns even predates the dinosaurs, while the other major species originates from the Jurassic Period.  Since ferns reproduce by spores instead of flowers and seeds, there are little resources in the fern forest to support a large population of animals.  We did see a few interesting birds during the trek.  With steep and muddy ascends and descends, the trek turned out to be tougher than what we imagined, but we were glad that we made it to see the giant ferns, some reaching more than 10m tall.  Given that some grow only 1 to 2cm per year, some of the ferns we saw are hundreds and even over a thousand years of age.
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Read other posts on Samaipata & Santa Cruz, Bolivia:
Day 27.2 – Night Arrival, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 28.1 – El Fuerte, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 28.2 – Town, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 29.1 – Finca la Vispera, Sampaipata, Bolivia
Day 29.2 – Garden Cafe at Finca la Vispera, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 30.1 – Cloud Forest at Amboro National Park, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 30.2 – Starry Night, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 31.1 – Goodbye, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 31.2 – Centro, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia

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South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 29 (2 OF 2) – GARDEN CAFE AT FINCA LA VISPERA, SAMAIPATA, BOLIVIA

Every morning of our stay, we would head for Vispera’s Garden Café for breakfast.  Labeled as serving “slow food”, the staff would pick the herbs and vegetables from the farm terraces adjacent to the café after they took our order.  We particularly liked the floral tea, aloe juice, and fruit crepes.  

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Read other posts on Samaipata & Santa Cruz, Bolivia:
Day 27.2 – Night Arrival, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 28.1 – El Fuerte, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 28.2 – Town, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 29.1 – Finca la Vispera, Sampaipata, Bolivia
Day 29.2 – Garden Cafe at Finca la Vispera, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 30.1 – Cloud Forest at Amboro National Park, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 30.2 – Starry Night, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 31.1 – Goodbye, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 31.2 – Centro, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia

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South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 29 (1 OF 2) – FINCA LA VISPERA, SAMAIPATA, BOLIVIA

For the weather, lush green vegetation and colourful flower blossoms, many outsiders see Samaipata as a paradise. Some foreigners even decided to stay and settle here. As a result, quite a number of guesthouses, cafes and villas are foreign-owned, including Finca La Vispera, the organic farm where we stay. At Vispera, there are farm terraces, native gardens, guesthouses, communal kitchens, and a garden café. Everyone – the owners, local staff, two horses, three dogs, and a cat – share this little piece of paradise in harmony.
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Read other posts on Samaipata & Santa Cruz, Bolivia:
Day 27.2 – Night Arrival, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 28.1 – El Fuerte, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 28.2 – Town, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 29.1 – Finca la Vispera, Sampaipata, Bolivia
Day 29.2 – Garden Cafe at Finca la Vispera, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 30.1 – Cloud Forest at Amboro National Park, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 30.2 – Starry Night, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 31.1 – Goodbye, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 31.2 – Centro, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia

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South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 28 (2 OF 2) – TOWN, SAMAIPATA, BOLIVIA

Singing birds, blooming flowers, mountain breeze, and the layback atmosphere are the main reasons why the town of Samaipata, 2.5-hour drive from the dusty city of Santa Cruz, has become a popular destination for foreign and local visitors. We picked Samaipata as a pleasant introduction to this mountainous country before heading to the highlands. Situated at roughly 1600m above sea level, Samaipata lies at a transitional zone among various landscapes, including the Amazonian lowlands, Chaco plains and Andean highlands. Without the heat and humidity of the lowlands, Samaipata is a lovely place to chill out under the tropical sun. The town is particularly charming in late afternoon when the sun casts a golden glow onto the painted walls and red mud roads. Under the peaceful ambience, even the sleepy dogs under shaded doorways seem contented and relaxed.
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Read other posts on Samaipata & Santa Cruz, Bolivia:
Day 27.2 – Night Arrival, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 28.1 – El Fuerte, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 28.2 – Town, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 29.1 – Finca la Vispera, Sampaipata, Bolivia
Day 29.2 – Garden Cafe at Finca la Vispera, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 30.1 – Cloud Forest at Amboro National Park, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 30.2 – Starry Night, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 31.1 – Goodbye, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 31.2 – Centro, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia

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South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 28 (1 OF 2) – EL FUERTE, SAMAIPATA, BOLIVIA

El Fuerte, a pre-Inca archaeological site at a hilltop overlooking the town of Samaipata, is the main draw for foreigners to this sleepy hill town.  Listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, El Fuerte contains one of the world’s biggest stone carving.  On a gigantic rock surface at the hilltop, pictorial and geometric carvings were made by pre-Inca cultures.  The carving began at around AD300 and continued over generations for various purposes, from ritual services to astronomic and weather observations.  The Incas added two wall structures with mummy burial niches and a sun gate when they conquered the area and named Samaipata as a provincial capital.  The Spaniards then came to occupy the site as a military fort and built a few Andalusian houses on the site.  Apart from the sheer gigantic size of the stone carvings, the superimposing of symbols and architecture from various cultures offers a unique character to the site.  In recent decades, there were numerous rumours about some sort of mystical energy of the site.  Some even imagine the site being used by extraterrestrial to land their spaceship.
Following a raised boardwalk and a loop trail, we spent about 2 hours at El Fuerte to contemplate its unique history and take in the glorious views from the site.
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Read other posts on Samaipata & Santa Cruz, Bolivia:
Day 27.2 – Night Arrival, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 28.1 – El Fuerte, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 28.2 – Town, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 29.1 – Finca la Vispera, Sampaipata, Bolivia
Day 29.2 – Garden Cafe at Finca la Vispera, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 30.1 – Cloud Forest at Amboro National Park, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 30.2 – Starry Night, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 31.1 – Goodbye, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 31.2 – Centro, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia

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South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 27 (2 OF 2) – NIGHT ARRIVAL, SAMAIPATA, BOLIVIA

We’ll spend the next 3 days in Samaipata, Bolivia, a rural hill town 120km southwest of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, the biggest city in the country.  We flew with BOA (Boliviana de Aviacion), a rather new airline 6-year in business, from Sao Paulo to Santa Cruz.  The flight took 3 hours.  The drive from Santa Cruz International Airport to Samaipata took us another 3 hours by taxi.  The drive took us on a bumpy winding road into the mountainous countryside.  We arrived at Samaipata at around 8pm at night.  Crickets were loud, air was a little chilly, and the sky was not as clear as we wanted but at least we could see some stars.  We checked in at Finca La Vispera, a rural retreat of organic farms, indigenous plants and flowers, several domestic animals and many birds.  We were delighted to find our pleasant little room on the upper floor of a timber house overlooking the valley of Samaipata.

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Previous Destination: Sao Paulo, Brazil, reading from post Day 25.1

Read other posts on Samaipata & Santa Cruz, Bolivia:
Day 27.2 – Night Arrival, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 28.1 – El Fuerte, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 28.2 – Town, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 29.1 – Finca la Vispera, Sampaipata, Bolivia
Day 29.2 – Garden Cafe at Finca la Vispera, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 30.1 – Cloud Forest at Amboro National Park, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 30.2 – Starry Night, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 31.1 – Goodbye, Samaipata, Bolivia
Day 31.2 – Centro, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia

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South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 27 (1 OF 2) – FAREWELL SAO PAULO, GOODBYE BRAZIL

The last 1.5 days in Sao Paulo was an inspiring experience for both of us.  It was interesting to see the variety of cultural projects in this complex metropolis, and understand how architecture plays its role in urban regeneration, with its successes and limitations.  It was equally inspiring to check out X Architecture Biennale Sao Paulo, where a number of design proposals were shown aiming to tackle some really complicated issues in contemporary cities, from Brazilian favelas to Chinese ghost towns.
The visit of Sao Paulo concluded our journey in Brazil.  Impressive waterfalls, diverse wildlife, breathtaking landscapes, modernist architecture, colonial towns, vibrant metropolis and fine beaches represent our Brazilian experience.  We will certainly miss Brazil.  Next stop on our journey – Bolivia!
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Birdeye view of Sao Paulo (from a poster at X Architecture Biennale Sao Paulo)

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Read other posts on Sao Paulo, Brazil
Day 25.1 – SESC Pompeia, Sao Paulo
Day 25.2 – Liberdade, Sao Paulo
Day 26.1 – MASP, Sao Paulo
Day 26.2 – the X Architecture Biennale, Sao Paulo
Day 26.3 – Zombie Attack, Sao Paulo
Day 26.4 – Luz Station and Area, Sao Paulo
Day 27.1 – Farewell Sao Paulo, Goodbye Brazil

Next Destination – Samaipata, Bolivia
Continuing on our journey from post Day 27.2

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South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 26 (4 OF 4) – LUZ STATION AND AREA, SAO PAULO, BRAZIL

The Luz area was once an important commercial area of Sao Paulo during early 20th century when coffee was still the single most dominating business in the city. Since then, most of the commercial activities, including the coffee barons, had moved elsewhere in the city. Today the Luz area awaits for its turn of revitalization after decades of decline. Historical buildings and churches in Luz all seem a little neglected and most were vandalized with layers of graffiti. In recent years, the municipal government began to regenerate certain spots in Luz, including renovating the Luz Station, the Pinacoteca do Estado, and the Jardim da Luz.
Before heading to Luz, we stopped by the newly built Praca de Arte, a cultural complex in the heart of the old downtown Sao Paulo. The project represents another effort to revitalize the downtown of Sao Paulo. 15-minute walk from Praca de Arte got us to the Luz Station. The Luz Station was the most important railway station in Sao Paulo when the coffee industry dominated the area of Luz. Now, it houses a museum and serves a few commuter trains to the suburbs. Designed and fabricated in England, the Luz Station and its clock tower was an icon of Sao Paulo in early 20th century. Across the street from the station stands the Pinacoteca do Estado, Sao Paulo State’s oldest art museum that underwent a renovation by architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha in the 1990s. The adjacent Jardim da Luz also went through a significant transformation in recent years from a seedy area where drug dealers and prostitutes hang out to a relaxing sculpture garden adjacent to the art museum.

Praca de Arte and area (below 4 images)DSC_8770Image
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Luz Station (below 2 images)
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Pinacoteca do Estado (below 2 images)DSC_8784DSC_8777

Jardim da Luz (below 4 images)
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Read other posts on Sao Paulo, Brazil
Day 25.1 – SESC Pompeia, Sao Paulo
Day 25.2 – Liberdade, Sao Paulo
Day 26.1 – MASP, Sao Paulo
Day 26.2 – the X Architecture Biennale, Sao Paulo
Day 26.3 – Zombie Attack, Sao Paulo
Day 26.4 – Luz Station and Area, Sao Paulo
Day 27.1 – Farewell Sao Paulo, Goodbye Brazil

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South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 26 (3 OF 4) – ZOMBIE ATTACK, SAO PAULO, BRAZIL

With just some time to spare before dark, we decided to check out some other buildings at Luz, an area to the north of Downtown Sao Paulo. When we got out the metro station, we were surprised to find a huge crowd of young people wearing zombie makeup wandering in the old downtown area. Without knowing what was going on, we found ourselves in the middle of a zombie event, and got a chance to witness the youthful energy of Sao Paulo.
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Read other posts on Sao Paulo, Brazil
Day 25.1 – SESC Pompeia, Sao Paulo
Day 25.2 – Liberdade, Sao Paulo
Day 26.1 – MASP, Sao Paulo
Day 26.2 – the X Architecture Biennale, Sao Paulo
Day 26.3 – Zombie Attack, Sao Paulo
Day 26.4 – Luz Station and Area, Sao Paulo
Day 27.1 – Farewell Sao Paulo, Goodbye Brazil

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South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 26 (2 OF 4) – The X ARCHITECTURE BIENNALE, SAO PAULO, BRAZIL

Knowing that we would be visiting Sao Paulo at the time of the architecture biennale was a delightful surprise when we planned our trip.  After visiting two smaller biennale exhibitions at the SESC and MASP, today we spent the afternoon at the Cultural Centro Sao Paulo (CCSP), one of the bigger biennale venues.  When we entered the cultural centre, we were delighted to find that CCSP itself has its own merits architecturally.  Designed by Eurico Lopes and Luiz Telles, the CCSP is famous for its prominent structural system and the impressive ramps in the main hall.  Located on three levels of exhibition spaces, we took our time checking out some of the interesting projects on display for the X Architecture Biennale Sao Paulo.  Other than the visitors of the biennale, there were also people engaged in different activities throughout the complex: street dancing at the foyer, ballet rehearsal in an open studio, chess tournament at the covered plaza, studying and reading in the library, resting on the roof-top patio, etc. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADSC_8701DSC_8695DSC_8711DSC_8690OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADSC_8705DSC_8706OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Read other posts on Sao Paulo, Brazil
Day 25.1 – SESC Pompeia, Sao Paulo
Day 25.2 – Liberdade, Sao Paulo
Day 26.1 – MASP, Sao Paulo
Day 26.2 – the X Architecture Biennale, Sao Paulo
Day 26.3 – Zombie Attack, Sao Paulo
Day 26.4 – Luz Station and Area, Sao Paulo
Day 27.1 – Farewell Sao Paulo, Goodbye Brazil

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South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 26 (1 OF 4) – MASP, SAO PAULO, BRAZIL

Museu Arte Sao Paulo (MASP) at the famous Av. Paulista was the second architectural project by Lina Bo Bardi we visited in the city. Inaugurated in 1968, MASP building was a revolutionary project at the time of its completion. From the street, MASP appears like a huge concrete and glass box suspended by four pillars and two prestressed concrete beams, leaving the ground level below the box completely open. Except the ticket office and a vertical circulation core, the ground level serves as a unique public plaza, linking the street to a lookout platform at the back. Among the skyscrapers of Av. Paulista, the openness of the museum plaza offers a unique space for public gathering and hippies selling jewelries.
The glass elevator brought us to the exhibition gallery at the top level. In Bo Bardi’s original design, each level of the museum would serve as a single exhibition gallery, with artwork displayed without the use of partitions. Over the years, this concept proved to be too challenging for curators and exhibit designers. Today, temporary partitions are used for displaying artworks and controlling visitor’s circulation. During our visit, we saw four shows on display: the museum’s permanent collection, a retrospective show of artist Lucian Freud, a photography biennale, and an exhibition as part of the X Architectural Biennale Sao Paulo.

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Read other posts on Sao Paulo, Brazil
Day 25.1 – SESC Pompeia, Sao Paulo
Day 25.2 – Liberdade, Sao Paulo
Day 26.1 – MASP, Sao Paulo
Day 26.2 – the X Architecture Biennale, Sao Paulo
Day 26.3 – Zombie Attack, Sao Paulo
Day 26.4 – Luz Station and Area, Sao Paulo
Day 27.1 – Farewell Sao Paulo, Goodbye Brazil

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South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 25 (2 OF 2) – LIBERDADE, SAO PAULO, BRAZIL

With over 1 million Japanese descendants, Sao Paulo has the largest Japanese population in the world outside of Japan.  We went to the Japanese Town at Liberdade for dinner.  We picked a traditional eatery for handmade noodle soup and dumplings.
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Read other posts on Sao Paulo, Brazil
Day 25.1 – SESC Pompeia, Sao Paulo
Day 25.2 – Liberdade, Sao Paulo
Day 26.1 – MASP, Sao Paulo
Day 26.2 – the X Architecture Biennale, Sao Paulo
Day 26.3 – Zombie Attack, Sao Paulo
Day 26.4 – Luz Station and Area, Sao Paulo
Day 27.1 – Farewell Sao Paulo, Goodbye Brazil

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South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 25 (1 OF 2) – SESC POMPEIA, SAO PAULO, BRAZIL

It was already mid afternoon when we arrived in Sao Paulo. Seeing architecture would be our main focus for our short stay in the city. Our first destination was SESC Pompeia (Servico Social do Comercio of Pompeia in Sao Paulo).
The SESC Pompeia is a cultural centre located in a residential neighbourhood near the metro station of Barra Funda. Designed by the renowned architect Lina Bo Bardi in early 1980s, the project is a successful example of a multi-functional architectural complex. In contrast to the monumental buildings in Brasilia or the playful architecture in Rio de Janeiro, many projects in Sao Paulo are social oriented. The project involves transformation of a number of historical buildings into cultural spaces, and an addition of sports tower with a modernist concrete tower and multiple expressive sky bridges. Functionally, the complex offers a diverse program to the local community, from theatrical performances, cultural exhibitions, library, reading rooms, event spaces, cafeteria, to an indoor swimming pool and a number of indoor football courts. All cultural spaces are housed in the adaptive reused historical buildings, while the sport facilities are stacked in the new concrete tower.
When we were there, SESC Pompeia was filled with people at all ages engaging in various activities: dining at the outdoor patio, reading in the library, checking out the cultural exhibitions, going to the gym and swimming pool, etc. We even saw a group of artists doing some filming, and a group of technicians preparing a banner on one of the concrete sky bridges at the tower for the next cultural festival. The three current exhibitions at SESC were good introduction to the cultural scene of the city for both of us.
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Previos Destination: Paraty, Brazil, reading from post Day 23.1

Read other posts on Sao Paulo, Brazil
Day 25.1 – SESC Pompeia, Sao Paulo
Day 25.2 – Liberdade, Sao Paulo
Day 26.1 – MASP, Sao Paulo
Day 26.2 – the X Architecture Biennale, Sao Paulo
Day 26.3 – Zombie Attack, Sao Paulo
Day 26.4 – Luz Station and Area, Sao Paulo
Day 27.1 – Farewell Sao Paulo, Goodbye Brazil

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South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 24 (3 OF 3) – REFLECTION, PARATY, BRAZIL

Just like Venice, Paraty is unique during full moon when the high tide comes in the floodgate, flooding some areas of the historic centre.  Our visit didn’t coincide with the full moon, but we did get a taste of the beautiful reflections in Paraty from the daylong rain that flooded the streets.
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Read other posts on Paraty, Brazil
Day 23.1 – Sea, Paraty
Day 23.2 – Town, Paraty
Day 23.3 – Night, Paraty
Day 24.1 – Rain, Paraty
Day 24.2 – Thai, Paraty
Day 24.3 – Reflection, Paraty

Next Destination – Sao Paulo, Brazil
Continuing on our journey from post Day 25.1

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South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 24 (2 OF 3) – THAI, PARATY, BRAZIL

We were delighted to find a wonderful Thai restaurant in Paraty. With the fresh seafood, coconut and pineapple, the food at Thai Brasil was absolutely delicious. The playful décor of painted flowers and fruits on walls and tables was equally pleasing.
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Read other posts on Paraty, Brazil
Day 23.1 – Sea, Paraty
Day 23.2 – Town, Paraty
Day 23.3 – Night, Paraty
Day 24.1 – Rain, Paraty
Day 24.2 – Thai, Paraty
Day 24.3 – Reflection, Paraty

* * *

South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 24 (1 OF 3) – RAIN, PARATY, BRAZIL

The weather got worse over the night. It was rainy and chilly pretty much the entire day. We gave up the idea of taking any boat trip or going to the nearby beaches. Because of the Atlantic, Paraty could get rainy at times, especially during the summer. As a result of the rain, we had a relaxing day at our guesthouse to update our blog. I (Angela) also found time to do my first watercolour painting. We did, however, venture out to the historic centre for a seafood lunch.
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Read other posts on Paraty, Brazil
Day 23.1 – Sea, Paraty
Day 23.2 – Town, Paraty
Day 23.3 – Night, Paraty
Day 24.1 – Rain, Paraty
Day 24.2 – Thai, Paraty
Day 24.3 – Reflection, Paraty

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South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 23 (3 OF 3) – NIGHT, PARATY, BRAZIL

In the evening, the historic centre was not as lively as we thought it would be. Nevertheless, under atmospheric lighting, Paraty presented its colonial charm as if we were walking in history.
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Read other posts on Paraty, Brazil
Day 23.1 – Sea, Paraty
Day 23.2 – Town, Paraty
Day 23.3 – Night, Paraty
Day 24.1 – Rain, Paraty
Day 24.2 – Thai, Paraty
Day 24.3 – Reflection, Paraty

* * *

South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 23 (2 OF 3) – TOWN, PARATY, BRAZIL

We walked leisurely in the pedestrian-only historic centre. Paved with large uneven stones, most streets in the old town were designed as a channel with its lowest point in the middle for drainage. We walked by a house at which its owner was painting the main doorframe in green, one of the several colours commonly found on doors, windows and shutters in Paraty, while the walls were mainly whitewashed.
We walked by Casa da Cultura (House of Culture) and saw some interesting figures wearing colourful masks standing on the balconies overlooking the street. Housed in a historical mansion, the Casa da Cultura serves as a small cultural hub in Paraty. We saw some displays of knitted art and photography. The big surprise came when we went to the upper level and found an exhibition of traditional paper masks and a school group just about to finish their mask-making class. The kids were having fun running around the room and putting on the masks they made. The mask display and the playful kids brought us a moment of brilliant colours in this rather greyish afternoon.
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Read other posts on Paraty, Brazil
Day 23.1 – Sea, Paraty
Day 23.2 – Town, Paraty
Day 23.3 – Night, Paraty
Day 24.1 – Rain, Paraty
Day 24.2 – Thai, Paraty
Day 24.3 – Reflection, Paraty

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South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 23 (1 OF 3) – SEA, PARATY, BRAZIL

On our way to Sao Paulo from Rio de Janeiro, we stopped by the seaside town of Paraty. Famous for its colonial buildings, pirates, beaches, and rainforests, Paraty was a significant colonial town in the 18th century as an export port for gold from the mines of Minas Gerais to Rio de Janeiro. A Gold Trail was established from the towns of Minas Gerais to Paraty to transport gold, supplies and slaves. In late 18th century, as the gold mines began to dry up, many cities in Minas Gerais such as Ouro Preto underwent a gradual decline, so as Paraty. Today Paraty contains one of the best-preserved colonial town centre in Brazil.
We came to Paraty for its beaches, colonial buildings, and its layback atmosphere. It was cool and cloudy when we arrived in Paraty. At the dock, several people were fishing while the boat owners were cleaning their colourful tourist boats. We took a stroll along Rio Pereque Acu to Praia do Pontal, a beach stretching out into Bahia de Paraty north of the historic town centre. The beach was quiet with only a few beachgoers chilling out at the seating area where barracas (stalls) were serving snacks, drinks and seafood.
Back in the old town, we walked passed a local restaurant near Igreja Santa Rita which had their catches-of-the-day displayed in front of the store. We decided to give it a try and had our first seafood meal in Paraty.
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Previous Destination: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, reading from post Day 20.1

Read other posts on Paraty, Brazil
Day 23.1 – Sea, Paraty
Day 23.2 – Town, Paraty
Day 23.3 – Night, Paraty
Day 24.1 – Rain, Paraty
Day 24.2 – Thai, Paraty
Day 24.3 – Reflection, Paraty

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South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 22 (2 OF 2) – CRISTO REDENTOR, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

The vast bus network in Rio made travelling within the city quite convenient, despite of the occasional long waits and poor road traffic during rush hours.  After visting MAR in Centro, we took a bus from Avenue de Branco to Corcovado Mountain, where Cristo Redentor stands at its peak.  Being the most iconic image of Rio, Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) is on the itinerary for most Rio’s first time visitors.  Despite the grey sky and poor visibility, we decided to give it a go, not only for the statue itself, but also for the magnificent panoramic views of Rio de Janeiro.   Various ways of ascend were available, and we chose the traditional way of taking the funicular.  The uphill journey was pleasant as the funicular passed through the Atlantic rainforest of the Parque Nacional da Tijuca.  Being a great example of reforestation, the Parque Nacional da Tijuca is a special attraction on its own.  The rainforests in Rio were badly damaged due to coffee and sugarcane plantations.  Decades of reforestation effort turned the area of Corcovado Mountain and beyond back to a rainforest from mountain to ocean.
It was crowded at Cristo Redentor as we expected.  Tourists gathered in front of the iconic 38m-high statue, making all kind of funny poses to take photos.  Despite the grey sky, the panoramic views of Rio and its surroundings were breathtaking at 710m above the city.  The view extended from Leblon and Ipanema all the way to Centro and further north into the suburbs.  Almost all of Rio’s famous beaches and mountains were visible, including the Pao de Acucar.  Mountains and ocean, favelas and wealthy neighbourhoods, rainforests and skyscrapers, the marvelous city of Rio was truly a city of interesting contrasts.  We stayed on Corcovado until 6:30pm and took the funicular back down to the city.  The weather and lighting were far from ideal, but we were delighted for going up to Corcovado before our departure from Rio.

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Read other posts on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Day 20.1 – Ipanema
Day 20.2 – Urca
Day 20.3 – Pao de Acucar
Day 21.1 – Ipanema Beach
Day 21.2 – Real Gabinete Portugues de Leitura (Portuguese Reading Room)
Day 21.3 – Centro Cultural do Banco do Brasil
Day 21.4 – Lapa and Santa Teresa
Day 21.5 – Botafogo and Leblon
Day 22.1 – Museu de Arte do Rio
Day 22.2 – Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer)

Next Destination: Paraty, Brazil
Continuing on our journey from post Day 23.1

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South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 22 (1 OF 2) – MUSEU DE ARTE DO RIO, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

This morning, we returned to Rio’s Centro (downtown) to visit Museu de Arte do Rio (MAR). Completed earlier this year, MAR is a new art museum in the city. We took the metro to Uruguaiana Station and walked along Av. Rio Branco to its northern end at Praca Maua. Praca Maua was a major port of Rio in early 20th century. Today, it is a large construction site where a new tunnel will pass through, and a new public square and museum will be located. Adjacent to Praca Maua, we walked by a narrow pedestrian street filled with vendors until we reached MAR at its terminus.
The MAR consisted of two structures, a newly erected 6-storey building and the renovated Palacete Dom João VI. A large wavy canopy connects the two at the top. Thanks to the warm climate of Rio, most of the ground level is open to the exterior, including the ticket office. We started our visit by taking the elevator to the 6th floor of the new building where the roof patio is located. At the roof patio, we could see the construction site of Santiago Calatrava’s Museu do Amanha (Museum of Tomorrow) out by the waterfront. From a display model, we also learnt about the upcoming urban renewal projects in the Port Maua area, including the proposed replacement of the elevated waterfront expressway with a major tunnel that connects the Centro with the bus terminal. The current Praca Maua will become a public square at the terminus of Av Rio Branco, flanked by MAR to its west and Museu do Amanha to its north.
From the 6th level we walked down one level via a spiral staircase. A long bridge on the 5th level led us to the former Palacete Dom João VI, where most of the exhibitions were situated. As we descended from level to level, the exhibits ranged from a permanent display of the history of Rio through artefacts, photography and paintings, multi-media artworks that reflect current issues of the city, to theatrical art that engaged visitors’ attention through actions and speeches.
Visiting the MAR was an interesting bonus to our experience of Rio, as we were keen to see the city’s newest architectural additions prior to the World Cup 2014 and Olympus Games 2016. While Calatrava’s Museu do Amanha and Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Museu da Imagem e do Som (Museum of Image and Sound) were still under construction, we were delighted to see MAR at our last day in Rio.
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Read other posts on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Day 20.1 – Ipanema
Day 20.2 – Urca
Day 20.3 – Pao de Acucar
Day 21.1 – Ipanema Beach
Day 21.2 – Real Gabinete Portugues de Leitura (Portuguese Reading Room)
Day 21.3 – Centro Cultural do Banco do Brasil
Day 21.4 – Lapa and Santa Teresa
Day 21.5 – Botafogo and Leblon
Day 22.1 – Museu de Arte do Rio
Day 22.2 – Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer)

* * *

South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 21 (5 OF 5) – BOTAFOGO AND LEBLON, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

After Santa Teresa, we took the metro to Botafogo.  We walked out to Praia do Botagofo (Botafogo Beach), which offered a good view of Pao de Acucar (Sugarloaf Mountain), especially during sunset when the golden sunlight shone on the iconic mountain.
We then took a bus to Leblon.  In contrast to the bohemian and sometimes seedy Lapa and Santa Teresa, Leblon (and the adjacent Ipanema), as the most affluent neighbourhood in Rio, seemed to us like belong to an entirely different city, despite the existence of favelas on nearby hills.  At dusk, we stopped by the peaceful Praia de Leblon (Leblon Beach), which shares the same Atlantic waterfront with Praia de Ipanema (Ipanema Beach).

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADSC_8078Praia do Botafogo (above 3 images)

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DSC_8121Praia de Leblon (above 2 images)

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Read other posts on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Day 20.1 – Ipanema
Day 20.2 – Urca
Day 20.3 – Pao de Acucar
Day 21.1 – Ipanema Beach
Day 21.2 – Real Gabinete Portugues de Leitura (Portuguese Reading Room)
Day 21.3 – Centro Cultural do Banco do Brasil
Day 21.4 – Lapa and Santa Teresa
Day 21.5 – Botafogo and Leblon
Day 22.1 – Museu de Arte do Rio
Day 22.2 – Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer)

* * *

South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 21 (4 OF 5) – LAPA AND SANTA TERESA, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

Famous for its music and nightlife, a visit to Lapa is a must for Rio visitors.  We started at Praca Cardeal Camara, a large public square dominated by the 64m-high Arcos da Lapa (Lapa Aqueduct).  This former aqueduct was used to carry the famous Bonde trams up to the neighbourhood of Santa Teresa, until the recent closure of the tramline due to an accident.  The tram tracks remain and buses now replace the trams to bring people up to the hills of Santa Teresa.  We took a local bus up to Largo do Guimaraes in Santa Teresa.  We then followed the tram tracks and found our way back down to Lapa.  Along the way, we saw many colourful street art, and passed by many magnificent but rather rundown mansions.  We could also hear occasionally music from unknown places.  Overlooking the Centro (downtown) and the adjacent favelas, we had a good overview of the contrasts of the marvelous Rio.

After the walk, we could understand why Santa Teresa has become a hip spot in the city that attracts artists, artisans, design shops and and bohemian cafes.  In fact, Santa Teresa and Lapa were once wealthy neighborhoods, but were neglected over decades until recent years.  In order to appreciate Santa Teresa and Lapa, one must overcome the preconceived insecurity due to the surrounding favelas, and take precautions on not intruding seedy side streets.  A visit of Lapa and Santa Teresa presented us a contrasting urban picture of Rio, uniquely distinct from the postcard images of beaches and hills.  We could see great potentials of Rio awaiting for efforts of revitalization.

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Read other posts on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Day 20.1 – Ipanema
Day 20.2 – Urca
Day 20.3 – Pao de Acucar
Day 21.1 – Ipanema Beach
Day 21.2 – Real Gabinete Portugues de Leitura (Portuguese Reading Room)
Day 21.3 – Centro Cultural do Banco do Brasil
Day 21.4 – Lapa and Santa Teresa
Day 21.5 – Botafogo and Leblon
Day 22.1 – Museu de Arte do Rio
Day 22.2 – Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer)

* * *

South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought