Waking up to drizzle in a city renowned for its beach lifestyle is disappointing. But not to despair there is plenty to do here, and it doesn’t always have to involve “as praias increveis”. Inside the LP Brazil guidebook is the “centro walking tour”. And as such I head onto one of the two metro lines to the centro.
We start at Cinelandia which is the major public square in the central district of Rio. At the moment its bustling with activity – newsvans and the like. But we’ll get to that a bit later. My first stop is the Biblioteca Nacional. A mighty impressive structure that is Brazil’s national library. The inside is much more impressive with its grand stair case.
I then head to where all the commotion is – the Theatro Municipal. Which is an amazing building. But whats down the road from here, is a pile of rubble and dust that is still smoking up and emergency crews are blocking off the road and trying to salvage and rescue people and apartments.
This is the scene of the recent building collapse in Rio (happened the night I got there). The scene reminds me of those awful scenes that came across the screens of Australia when the Thredbo disaster struck. There are crews and networks everywhere trying to get a better view.
I’m not over it, and I am quite intrigued, but I feel its best that I leave the scene so that the rescuers can do their jobs. I wander down the following street and get to Largo da Carioca. A pedestrian area, full of people selling umbrellas (cause of the rain) and a huge crowd watching the scene of the building collapse from the other end.
The weather starts to set in as I get to Praca Tiradentes. So I bail on a bit of the tour and head back to the ominous and somewhat ugly facade of the Catedral Metropolitana. This is Rio’s Cathedral. And its an ugly eye-sore from the outside. A pyramidial type structure that looks to have been built in the 70’s.
Though I only get a glimpse of the outside (due to the weather). Inside is a different story with 4 massive Stained Windows that are actually pretty stunning.
After the rain subsides, I head off to Lapa. And its a bit of a letdown in the daytime. There is of course the Arcos da Lapa. But its let down by the construction work going on. But I am assured this is the place to come for partying on the weekend.
I weave through the streets of Lapa and end up back at Cinelandia. And then head up to my final stop for the day; Museo Nacional de Belas Artes. Its only about R$6 to enter with free bag storage. And in I head. Its not a bad museum, and quite worth the 3AUD to get in. Some good artworks and a reprieve from the sun.
I duck out, head on the metro and then back to the hostel. Not before getting a quick Açai. Now this is an amazing treat. Its essentially a berry from Amazonas, and is mixed into a yoghurt/ice cream/sundae concontion. And it is absolutely AMAZING. And I mean that, it’s a great little energy boost and its incredibly healthy for you. I partake in a few too many of these over my trip.
The night is a huge let down. There are all intentions to head out to Lapa, and we pre-game it like we are. But by about 8am, it starts to absolute pour down with rain. Monsoon style. So instead of heading in, we just drink a lot at the hostel before stumbling into bed.