Gotta hurry and finish writing the posts on our trip to Rio! I've got another trip to write about, plus tons of smaller stuff, before the year ends! chop chop! LOL
This time I'll talk a bit about Centro and Copacabana!
Many guidebooks warned us about wandering around Centro, especially during the weekend (when office workers were not around) and/or at night. The area did indeed look sort of empty when we visited, and it sure had a number of awesome things to see!
For example, the Catedral Metropolitana do Rio de Janeiro, with its contemporary cone shape, simple sober lines, and colourful floor to ceiling stained glass windows.
Or the rest of its architecture, a crazy combination of the majestic (around which you could enjoy a nice, refreshing local draft), the more colourful and local (where we enjoyed a delicious espresso), and the modern.
I'd say there are three jewels in Centro. One is the cathedral. The second one? the Museu de Arte do Rio (MAR), one of their newest ones and about which I found out by chance thanks to a friendly carioca! MAR is one of those modern museums with nothing but temporary exhibitions, and just enough so you can see all or most of it without feeling overwhelmed.
The views from the roof of the museum, where the visit starts, are fantastic, and you can see another new museum they're building on Guanabara Bay! And then there were exhibitions like one on the role of women in Brazil's history, through the photography of those very same women. Or a tiny one, hidden behind a curtain, about the excesses of the Portuguese against the local population. Or fascinating ones about life in Rio before (by a Jewish Austrian emigré) and after.
All in all, a great visit. And with a gift shop full of nifty and pretty things that, a couple of which made the trip back to Mexico with us!
And the third jewel? The Mosterio de São Bento. This one's old. Very. Founded in 1590. Amazing, eh? But the best part was that the exterior was rather plain and sober. Imposing. But not arrogant. But the interior! Whoa! 17th and 18th century excessive Baroque and Rococo! Gold! Reds! a massive wooden interior door! Theatrical, dramatic, rich, gorgeous.
So, yes. Centro? A must!
I definitely had to visit iconic Copacabana, right? Although I was left with the impression that the way to enjoy it properly must have been with lots of money and a few decades ago, it was still interesting. It was nice to see a beach with a more diverse crowd instead of the throngs of impossibly fit people in Ipanema (more on that in a future post), as well as people doing paddle surfing! Man, what a shame we were short on time (yes, Rio kept us that busy) and didn't manage to try that! Looked fun! But we did hit one of the gay clubs, which wasn't particularly busy, but which had some of the sexiest go-go dancers this side of the world!
There. Only one are of Rio to write about: Ipanema. Yay!