Niterói, Brazil
22° 53' S 43° 5' W
Mar 17, 2004 21:59
Distance 15km

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Text written in: English

Rio de Janeiro Centro & Niteroi (17 March 2004)

Today it was finally time to see downtown Rio de Janeiro. Most people start with this, but I seem to see the sights in reversed order. I took the metro to Cinelandia and started exploring Centro, as the city centre is simply called. Praca Floriano is the heart of Rio de Janeiro nowadays and contains the very beautiful Municipal Theatre, built in 1909. Unfortunately it was closed otherwise I would defintely have had a look inside as its interior is supposed to be made of great marble.

Rio´s best suco bars are on a street leading northwest of this square, so, being a suco bar addict, I had to try at least one. I ordered a random juice from the more than 40 juices on the list and for the first time it was not a nice juice. I can´t remember the fruit name, so it is possible that I will accidentally order it again. Let´s hope not. The beautiful yellow brown National Library, a huge neo classical building with nice colums dating from 1910 was on the other side of the square and the beautiful white Camara Municipal just asked to be photographed too.

Continuing north through Lago de Carioca showed me many skyscrapers and some of the worlds ugliest ones too. Downtown Rio de Janeiro is a hodgepodge of very modern and very old. Quite a fascinating combination. Just around the corner from the old buildings I just mentioned there is worlds ugliest Cathedral. The shape of the building is a strange round pyramide with all very small thick glass windows and dark stained glass. You would not recognise it as a church at all if you did not know it was one. Next to it is the Petrobras building, which looks like a Rubic´s cube.

Confeitaia Colombo is a great place to have a drink. It is a late 19th century lunchroom with huge mirrors on all walls which make it look even bigger than it is already. The old dark furniture and the old wooden cabinets with glass doors and bar filled with hundreds of bottles have a lot of character.

The old shops on Rua da Carioca and side streets are great for browsing but Praca Tiradentes was not as interesting as the guidebooks wanted me to believe, although the very red fire station is in a beautiful building with a great tower. The Campo de Santana is a small but very nice and quiet park that had some interesting big white birds (I am not a bird nerd so I don´t know the name) in the pond and nice white statues. I also discovered a knew specie of animal. Well, it was new for me at least. It looked like a huge squirrel, but it had no tail. A kind of deer but the size of a cat. Strange. Learning new things everyday.

Downtown the streets become smaller and smaller in the Saara part of downtown which is all pedestrian. It was still decorated with thousands of small flags from carnaval, very colourfull. The Palacio Tiradentes is the seat of the State Deputies and I got an interested guided tour from someone who spoke reasonable English, quite a surprise. In the suco bar around the corner the first Dutch tourists I met in Brazil walked in when I just had finished a cold Guarana.

I took a ferry across Baia de Guanabara to Niteroi, a 15 minute boat trip. It provided excellent views of Rio de Janeiro and the domestic airport which is right next to the beautiful ferry building. In Niteroi I just had a very late lunch and at the end of the afternoon I took a ferry back to Rio, wandering through a few more streets before heading back home to Copacabana where the cheapest internetcafe of Rio de Janeiro is situated. A late dinner in my favourite restaurant in Flamengo was all that was left before heading home after a long, tiring, but rewarding day.

Photos / videos of "Rio de Janeiro Centro & Niteroi (17 March 2004)":

Confeitaria Colombo in Rio de Janeiro Confeitaria Colombo in Rio de Janeiro Monument in Campo de Santana, Rio deJaneiro Paco Imperial, Government of Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro Roof in Paco Imperial, Government of Rio de Janeiro Paco Imperial, Government of Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro Juice bars galore on Avenida 13 de Maio in Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro Ferry from Rio de Janeiro to Niteroi Bridge from Rio de Janeiro to Niteroi Ferry between Niteroi and Rio de Janeiro Church in Niteroi Niteroi Church in Niteroi