ultramarinus – beyond the sea

Rio de Janeiro

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

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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)

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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 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)

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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 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


DAY 21 (3 OF 5) – CENTRO CULTURAL DO BANCO DO BRASIL, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

We wandered through busy narrow streets off Avenue Rio Branco, stopped by Rubro Café for a sip of Brazilian espresso, and arrived at Igreja de Nossa Senhora de Candelaria at noon when a mass was about to start.  We then headed east to Centro Cultural do Banco do Brazil (CCBB), an cultural centre housed in a restored bank building dated 1906.  The CCBB is currently hosting a retrospective exhibition of Yayoi Kusama called Obsessao Infinita.  We decided to spend some time to learn more about the work and life of this Japanese artist (nicknamed the Polka-Dot Princess), who was, during the 1960s and 1970s, one of the forerunners of New York’s visual art scene, and anti-war and feminist movements.  We saw many of her paintings, video art, photomontages, and some installation works that allowed visitors to enter an art space to interact with the lighting and take photos.  Through the use of mirrors, fluorescent lighting, and the ever-present polka-dots, the art spaces, although physically small in size, felt infinite in dimensions as we entered into the world of Yayoi Kusama.
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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)

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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 21 (2 OF 5) – REAL GABINETE PORTUGUES DE LEITURA, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

We started our tour of the Centro of Rio de Janeiro with the Real Gabinete Portugues de Leitura (Portuguese Reading Room).  In contrast to the hectic chaos of traffic and pedestrians in the Centro, the Portuguese Reading Room seemed like a peaceful haven to us.  An association that promoted culture of the community found the Portuguese Reading Room in 1837, during the time when Rio was the national capital of Portugal.  The architecture was built in Manueline style, which emphasized the royal power of Portugal with decorations inspired by Italian Renaissance, European Gothic, and Moorish art.
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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)

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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 21 (1 OF 5) – IPANEMA BEACH, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

We started the day with a morning stroll along the Ipanema beach. This sunny Monday was much quieter than the bustling Sunday.  Only a few joggers and surfers could be seen against the iconic mountainous backdrop, a truly postcard moment of Rio de Janeiro.
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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