Rio de Janeiro: Sugarloaf

November 27, 2016

Sugarloaf (Pão de Açúcar in Portuguese) is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Rio.  It has become a tradition for me to go up to the top and watch the sun set on my last evening in Rio.  I look down on this beautiful city and am filled with a desire never to leave. But leave I must.  That’s why each and every time, I say, “I’ll be back. This is not good-bye, it’s see you later.” Não digo adeus, digo “até logo.” This thought comforts me a little and so far, my promise has been fulfilled!

The last time we were here, 13 years ago, Dale’s fear of heights got the better of him and he only rode the cable car to the first stage, Urca. While Jayme and I took the next cable car up to the top and looked around waiting for the sunset, Dale stayed below on Urca. This time, however, he was determined to make it to the top.

There are two stages to go up to Sugarloaf.  You first ride up in a cable car to Urca, the lower part of the mountain, named for the small neighborhood you can see directly below.

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The fruit on the tree is “jaca.”


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Guanabara Bay; the city on the far side is Niteroi.



This time, my husband just stood in the middle of the cable car surrounded by people and didn’t watch the ascent to the top. I was proud of his bravery!


Witnessing the sunset from atop Sugarloaf is an amazing sight: first seeing the city from above during the day, then watching the sun go down beyond Gávea Rock, and then the lights gradually wink on in the city.  Of course, virtually every other tourist visiting Rio (and plenty of locals too) have the same idea, so I had to be a bit aggressive to be able to get to the railing where I could take photos unmarred by silhouettes of human heads. People did not relinquish their spot at the railing easily!

I went around exploring, sometimes with Dale, sometimes alone. Because Carlênia can’t get around easily, I didn’t suggest that we go down to the bar a short flight of stairs down and have a drink there; it would have been a relaxing way to wait for the sunset.  But anyway, I got great photos and videos of a cidade maravilhosa. They pretty much speak for themselves!


Dale, me and Carlenia at the top. Flamengo is barely visible behind us.

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Behind the green hill is Leme/Copacabana Beach

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Praia Vermelha, the origin point to get the cable car, has a small beach.

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Cable car ascending, below is Praia Vermelha.

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Flamengo and part of downtown Rio


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The distant rock with a flat top is Gavea. In front of that, between the two hills in upper left, is Ipanema. 


On the far right, you can barely see the Corcovado, which has the famous statue of Christ on top. Like the Statue of Liberty, it was a gift from France.

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Botafogo neighborhood – the harbor is dotted with yachts of the Rio Yacht Club


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On right, Urca cable car station


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Sun setting behind Gavea


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Corcovado with Christ Redeemer statue and lots of cellphone and TV towers


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Looking north/northwest after sunset









FOTD: Butterfly Weed

These lovely, tiny orange flowers are produced by a member of the milkweed family, known as “butterfly weed.” I have a beautiful crop of it this year (it was planted last year) and hope that it will attract monarch butterflies!  There is a milkweed beetle that lives on the plant, and I found one under the leaves! If monarch butterflies come, they lay their eggs on the underside of the milkweed leaves.


Cee’s Flower of the Day, 6/29/17

Postscript:  A few days later, I saw a monarch hovering around these flowers!




Rio de Janeiro: Museu de Arte Moderna (MAM)

The Modern Art Museum (MAM) of Rio de Janeiro was inaugurated in 1948 in the Boavista Bank building. Being just after the war, there was an emphasis on European artists, such as Pablo Picasso and Paul Klee. In the 1950s, the building was built on its present site conceptualized by architect Affonso Eduardo Reidy. Roberto Burle Marx designed the gardens and landscaping.  The building was inaugurated on Jan. 27, 1958 with an exhibit by British painters and sculptors.

In 1965, the museum became the vanguard for modern Brazilian artists with the exhibit Opinião 65. In 1970, well into the period of the military dictatorship, the museum space was used for a massive “happening” for democracy, uniting the public and artists.

In 1999, the same year that the building underwent restoration efforts, MAM received the exposition Picasso: The War Years 1937-1945, which enjoyed great success with the public during its run at the museum. (Source)  Today the museum features Brazilian artists, although works by international artists are on display as well.  During our visit on November 27, 2016, here are photos of some of the artwork we saw.

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Keith Haring (American) 1958-1990; “Untitled”: oil on canvas


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Carlos Vergara (Brazilian 1941 – ); from Cacique de Ramos series; print on methacrylate


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Efrain Almeida (Brazilian, 1964 – ); “Hands on Head” (2007); wood and oil


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Maria Martins (Brazilian, 1900-1973); “The Impossible” (1945); bronze


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Marco Cardoso (Brazilian, 1960 – ); “Souvenirs from Brazil” (2004); plastic packaging on wood


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Jacques Lipchitz (French 1891-1973); “The Kidnapping of Europe” (1938); bronza


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Ana Maria Maiolino (Brazilian, 1942 – ); “Glug, glug, glug” (1966); acrylic on stuffed fabric and wood



Opavivara (Brazilian, 2005 – ); “I Love Street Vendors” (2009/2010): plastic portfolio of photos and postcards)



Claudio Tozzi (Brazilian, 1944 – ); “The Scream” (1968) from “Revolt” series; acrylic on masonite



This installation is called “Phantom” (Fantasma)  and consists of what look like pieces of black fiberglass or plastic hanging from the ceiling. I don’t know who the artist is.
















Rio de Janeiro: Flamengo and Cinelândia

November 27, 2016

Our intention today was to visit MAM (Museum of Modern Art) in the morning and then take my sister-in-law to Sugarloaf.  We got sort of a late start, however, so when we got to MAM it was already close to lunchtime, and my husband’s stomach does not like to wait!

We stopped at the courtyard outside the museum to look at a photography exhibit. While there, I noticed a young boy who was quite entranced with an interactive installation in the shape of a square box frame full of colorful strings. I took this series of photos of the boy trying it out:





We asked at the museum if there was a café or restaurant nearby and were told that the museum has its own café in the back of the museum.  Trying to find it, however, we ended up stopping for a minute to watch a group of young people with percussion instruments playing a batucada:

I would have stayed there listening to them longer, but Dale was anxious to have lunch. We were on the wrong side of the museum (it turned out) to find the café so we wandered, looking for some sort of eating establishment.

We crossed some streets and ended up at nearby Cinelândia! This area is named for the number of movie theatres one can find there, but it also has some beautiful historic buildings and monuments.



Memorial to “Never Again:” honoring the resistance and struggle for amnesty in Rio de Janeiro. This memorial is dedicated to military personnel that were hunted and persecuted (during the dictatorship of 1964-1985) for defending democracy and constitutional rights. For truth, memory, reparation and justice. So that we never forget. So that it never happens again. (Erected on the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the dictatorship, Rio de Janeiro, April 1, 2014)





Municipal Theatre






We ate at an outdoor restaurant, where I indulged in way too many fries!   Having lunch rested us, so we walked back toward MAM and entered the museum.
(See separate post.) 

KODAK Digital Still CameraAfter viewing some interesting and sometimes bizarre exhibits, we went back outside and followed a walkway past a pond to an entrance to the museum shop, where the (expensive) items for sale were artworks themselves.  Next to the store was the café!

It being a nice day, there were a lot of people in the park behind the museum. We saw kids on stilts and tightropes, graduates of the college of veterinary science posing for pictures, lovers walking hand in hand, murals, and of course, the beautiful view of Sugarloaf from Flamengo.


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Find out what’s at MAM next!






CFFC: Chairs

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is furniture. I have a collection of pictures of chairs and benches. I also have cute pictures of little children at play on their own furniture. Here are some of my favorites:



Marking our spot for Elk Grove Village 4th of July fireworks (2015)!


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Throne Room at the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia (2015)



Chair made of horns at Pres. Benjamin Harrison’s house, Indianapolis (2016)



Artistic chairs in a park in Evanston, Illinois (2016)





My 2-year-old grand-niece Rosie has her own chair – and it’s pink! (2017)

And finally, I have posted this before, but it’s one of my favorite pictures:


Mother facing the empty shelves

My mother in her empty apartment in 2009, when she moved into assisted living






A walk in Rio’s Flamengo neighborhood

November 24, 2016

Today is Thanksgiving in the U.S., and since Carlênia, my sister-in-law, has dual citizenship, I had promised her we’d take her to a nice restaurant of her choice for “Thanksgiving” dinner. She chose a famous Italian restaurant, La Fiorentina, conveniently located in Leme* just a couple of blocks from the apartment where we were staying.



Carlenia at La Fiorentina


Later that afternoon, we took some of our clothes to Carlênia’s apartment in Flamengo to wash, since she has a new washing machine and the apartment where we are staying doesn’t have one.  To escape that confined, crowded space, Dale and I decided to take a walk to Flamengo Beach. Before we left, Carlênia told us the best (safest) way to get across the busy streets to the aterro (area that has been filled in with land) and the beach, but Dale insisted we cross the busy streets right away – I was afraid we’d get run over because the cars come around curves without even slowing down. Well, we made it across – barely! – and went through an underground passage below the busiest street, which was essentially an urban highway. Once safely across, I worried about getting back safely!

We went through a little park honoring Mexico and its relationship with Brazil before we got to the underground passage.

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A park on the beach side contained a fairly large building with undulating arch roofs – it seemed to me that it had to be the modern art museum, although people were hanging around it and no one was going in; also there was no sign. I later found out from Carlênia that it was O Porcão, a churrascaria that had gone bankrupt and closed.


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Defunct restaurant O Porcão


We took our shoes off and walked on Flamengo Beach.


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Sugarloaf Mountain, as seen from the Flamengo aterro



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When we left the beach and put our shoes back on, we were near “Posto 2” and a bridge over the highway. The bridge ended right next to a crosswalk, to my relief! We crossed and followed that street all the way back to Carlênia’s street, Oswaldo Cruz.

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One of the few remaining houses in the beach neighborhoods of Rio – a historic house with beautiful gardens around it.

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I never did see the bar Bel Monte that she had told us to use as a landmark, although a few days later, we passed it by car and she pointed it out.

The names of the streets in Brazilian cities are mostly of people significant to the history or culture of that city. Walking around Rio, I noticed something I’d never noticed before during all the times I have been in this city: the street signs have a short, one-sentence, bio of what that person was known for. If the street is named after something other than a well-known person, that is explained too, except maybe for obvious ones like XV de novembro (Nov. 15 – Proclamation of the Republic, which every Brazilian schoolchild has learned in elementary school).


*Leme (which means “rudder”) is a neighborhood located on the far eastern end of Copacabana Beach. From our apartment there, you can see the whole curve of Copacabana Beach to the west.


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View of Copacabana from “our” apartment in Leme