Posted: 12/8/2012


     In a big hot crowded city it's nice to find some peace and quiet and fresh air. Right in the heart of Rio de Janeiro is the Campo do Santana. It's only a square block but across from the huge Central railway station across 12 busy lane of Avenida President Vargas, it's a different world.

    Inside is peace, with native trees and bushes, streams, rock faces, flower beds and a profusion of little criters. Apart from dozens of neutered cats of all colours and sizes we have the large rat like Cutia, the pavaos( peacocks with splendid tails), ducks, swans and lots of fish. In the centre is a large statue of the Four Seasons, celebrating the independence from Portugal. Little kids bouncing balls, mamas and grandmas pushing prams and a tranquil setting.

    I then found a bus to Praxa XV and the quayside of Guanabara Bay. There I caught a large ferry for the fast, 15 minute trip to Niteroi. There is also a gigantic bridge which takes longer by bus or taxi and at only R4.50..about $2.00 US, the water route is relaxing and provides a nice breeze. Splendid sights of Rio on the way.  Lots of shopping malls and museums in Niteroi and one outstanding site is the Modern Art Museum designed in 1996 by that famous architecht Neimeyer who died this week at the grand old age of 104.

   He was a disciple of Le Corbousier in Europe, helped design the United Nations in New York, but will always be remembered for designing all the major federal buildings in Brasilia the new capital. The capital was moved from Rio 70 years ago and was supposed to be home for 500,000 people, 600 miles NW and 3,000 feet up in the highlands, but now houses 2.5 million with another 1 million in the outer area.

   On the reurn I went to the bohemian party area of LAPA, near my hotel, with its indoor and outdoor cafes, clubs, bars and dance halls. Above it is the old tramway with its many white arches, Arcos da Lapa. 270 metres, 42 arches, 17.6 metres above the ground. It was built as an aquaduct  in 1723 and later as a tramway. The area is nicknamed 'Montmartre Carioca' and the tourist office is trying to brand it similar to I LOVE NY - I AM DA LAPA. A huge outdoor restaurant called Sakana was serving  Torre de Cerveja, a 2 litre tower of Itaipava beer for R$22.90 (about $US11.00.) the pavement were overflowing and lots of very cheap tiny stalls with inexpensive eats and exotic drinks.