December 9, 2009

Engaged Abroad -A Cidade Marvilhosa From the Inside (Part 2)

My first stop in Brazil was to the beautiful city of Rio de Janeiro, a place known for its caipirinhas, skimpy bathing suits, pulsing samba, and breathtaking landscape. I am sure you want me to tell you how cool it was to sip some great tropical juice while getting a massage on the beach, but that didn't really happen. Rio was having probably one of its dreariest Octobers on record, and the beach was totally off the menu for the first few days. October in Rio has the same type of weather as April in the Northeast U.S., so the first few days I was there I experienced quite a bit of rain and overcast skies. Rio is a city that needs to be appreciated for its natural beauty especially on a sunny day, but there's quite a bit to see if you need some shelter and don't mind leaving the Copacabana/Ipanema beach area that's so popular with tourists.

Before I begin my story, let me make a confession: My name is Mrs. Swan, and I am a guidebook junkie. Not only do I collect them, but they serve as my little travel companions that don't talk back and give you great information (when they're up to date that is). I do definitely vere off the beaten path when I can, but my guidebooks are my little security blankets.

Anyways, what's there to see in Rio on a rainy day and Copacabana Beach looks like this?

Churches! Lots of 'em....

Downtown Rio has got loads of beautiful churches and other sites all with fascinating history and its importance to Brazilian history.

Here is the Igreja de Nossa Senhora de Candelaria with its mix of Baroque and Renaissance architecture

The Noval Catedral Metropolitana built in 1976 and serves as Rio's primary cathedral. Many of Rio's major public worship services are held here.

The inside is stunning even with very little daylight

Here's the roof. I spent quite a few minutes just staring into the ceiling.

Here's Rio's former metro church, the Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo de Antiga Se, which was used until 1980.

There are museums in Rio as well, but for my time there I primarily took in a lot of sites. For those in Rio with some desire for even more inside time, check out the Museu Historico Nacional for a taste of Brazilian history, and I suggest the Museu de Imagem e Som for shutterbugs and other photography buffs.

Next up: watch me dance some samba in public, possibly play o jogo bonito (the beautiful game) otherwise known as soccer, and I'll actually post some actual pictures with me in them!

P.S. Rio has a subway! Yes, I know that is not particularly fascinating, but since I am lover of rapid, underground public transportation I couldn't resist (can you tell that I'm a New Yorker?). Rio's metro system is clean, runs frequently and is a good, cheap option for traveling between Copacabana into downtown.

Yes, I am a big nerd and took a picture :)

Do you have a Plan B in case there is a icky weather during your honeymoon or any other trip you'll be taking soon?

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